Surprisingly not based off an anime/manga.
Let’s put him back…
RELEASE DATE: 04/02/88
Hoshi wo Sagashite… is the first adventure game I’ve ever played without a source of conflict. There is no mystery to unravel like in Deja Vu, nor is there a sense of urgency to explore as with Shadowgate. The game feels like an episode of a Nickelodeon cartoon like “Rocko’s Modern Life” where you’re more interested in the weird character shenanigans than the plot. I’m not sorry I played through Hoshi wo to completion, but by the end, I wondered what had been accomplished.
The girls are all smiles – even when you’re acting like a jerk.
You play as Roy, a goofy space pilot/bewildered boyfriend to Lila. After one of his long trips to galaxies unknown, Roy stops off at an egg dealer (?!) to buy a pink egg for Lila as a present. When Lila sees it, she remarks that it looks like a Mio egg. Through careful detective work at your local library, you find that the Mio is a cute alien species long thought to be extinct.
After a brief journey to the zoo on Planet Alphus to find more Mio information (including a stopover at a local bar for a drinking contest), Lila’s egg hatches, and sure enough, it’s a Mio, baby. From this plot point, you travel to different planets and uncover more information about Mios from the planet’s funky residents, before eventually finding the Mios’ habitat.
Not sure having a drink in the seedy Panda District is the way to go, Roy…
The only interaction you have with people, items or your surrounding environments is through your action menu. If you’ve played an adventure game before, none of the options will intimidate you. ‘Move,’ ‘Look, ‘Talk,’ ‘Take,’ ‘Item,’ and ‘Hit’ are your main actions here (though ‘Hit’ is more for your amusement than anything else). You’re given one screen at a time to interact with, usually with a couple different people to ‘talk’ to and some random items to ‘look’ at. Talking is the key to finding more information, and you’ll often have to talk to a person more than once about the same topics to progress the story further.
Basically, Hoshi wo is standard adventure game fare, just easier than most. You won’t be tricked into venturing onto the wrong planet nor will you get eaten alive by angry human-hating Mios. Considering the lax difficulty and the conflict-free story, it wouldn’t surprise me if the game was marketed towards young’uns.
Speak for yourself, Roy.
Hoshi wo Sagashite has amusing dialogue, fascinating minor characters (the gruff guardian of the West Woods, the money-hungry old lady at the park, and the drunk zoo janitor were my favorites), and one super cute creature design in the Mios, but little else. I wondered if I was supposed to care about anything that was happening, since there were no real plot points that needed to be resolved.
SPOILER: The Mios are an endangered species, but the so-called “antagonist” behind their endangerment is so oblivious and happy-go-lucky that it’s hard to hate the guy. Hoshi wo is also super short. I beat it in about thirty minutes, not including the time I stopped to reheat my coffee. The short length makes sense, though. I wasn’t fighting some monstrous evil or even trying to save the Mio species. I was just a naive young space pilot trying to impress his girlfriend with a pink egg. The moral of Hoshi wo Sagashite: stay far, far away from shady egg-dealers, and life as you know it will continue on unabated.
The happiest antagonist in the world.