I know my previous post about my month-long playthrough of this quirky PS2 game was called "'Bye-Bye, Backlog' diary entry #1: Chulip (PS2)" and, as such, as this one should be titled "'Bye-Bye, Backlog' diary entry #2 and 3: Chulip (PS2)," but I decided late last week that header was a bit too unwieldy and as a result changed it to the one you see above. Anyway, I'm sorry if that confused any of you.
I'm also sorry I didn't publish this post last week as I promised I would at the start of this project. I would have, I swear, but the fact is my lone PS2 memory card decided to give up the ghost shortly after I began playing Chulip earlier this month. Thankfully, I was able to replace it on Tuesday, and I restarted my playthrough the very same day.
Since then, I've spent about 10 hours with this overwhelmingly odd game. The question is: am I still enjoying it? I'd say so, yes, although I'd also say I'm not enjoying it as much as I thought I would after I wrapped up my first hour-long experience with it.
Before I get to why that is, I'd like to mention a few of things that keep me coming back to Chulip despite the fact that I'm feeling a little let down by it at the moment.
* First, I love Chulip's weird-to-the-point-of-being-unsettling character designs. Although I usually prefer games that feature a more uniform art style, I think this one's mix-and-match aesthetic is a perfect fit for its overall "feel" (which, for me, is the video game equivalent of a David Lynch film).
* Speaking of unsettling, does any other word better describe the looping, lo-fi voice snippets that accompany every conversation the game's pint-sized protagonist has with his many (strange-looking) neighbors? I certainly can't think of one. (Don't take that to be a complaint, by the way. I actually find the voice snippets to be pretty funny--albeit a bit creepy, too.)
* If you were to ask me what I considered to be the most intriguing aspect of Chulip, I'd probably respond by pointing to the cracks that cover the ground in the game's "Long Life Town" (as well as its other locales, of course) and that can be inspected by the main character with the press of the "X" button. Sure, the vignettes that play out following those button pushes tend to be nonsensical, but they're also surprisingly compelling and even affecting.
* My second favorite part of Chulip right now: its vaunted kissing scenes, which without fail cause a huge grin to splash across my face. I don't know if that's due to the locked lips themselves, the spinning in space, the fireworks or the huge, rainbow-colored "CLEAR" that accompanies the aforementioned action, but it doesn't really matter, does it?
As for the aspect of Chulip that currently isn't sitting so well with me: that would be the one that's basically requiring me to consult a guide to make my way through the bulk of the game. I'm not sure if I should blame that on the folks at developer Punchline (in the event that they purposely made their product abstruse) or if I should blame it on Natsume's rough translation, but I have a feeling one, if not both, of them is at fault.
Regardless, it makes playing through this rather grimly quirky PS2 game a lot less rewarding and engaging than I believe it would be otherwise.