Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
|Higurashi When They Cry|
(Higurashi no Naku Koro ni)
|Genre||Drama, Mystery, Psychological horror|
|Platform||PC, iOS, Android, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo DS|
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (右代宮 戦人 Higurashi no Naku Koro ni?, lit. When the Cicadas Cry), known simply as When They Cry in the North American release of the anime adaptation, is a Japanese murder mystery dōjin soft sound novel series written by Ryukishi07 and produced by 07th Expansion. The series is focused on a group of young friends and the strange events that occur in the rural village of Hinamizawa, where they reside.
Higurashi is a murder mystery game described as a "sound novel" by 07th Expansion. A sound novel is similar to a visual novel in that the gameplay requires relatively little player interaction as most of the game is composed of text dialogues. The original release contained no voice acting for the characters. While a visual novel's basis would be the visual aspect, as the name suggests, a sound novel's basis takes more care in producing an atmosphere via the music, sound effects, and the story itself.
The game utilizes intermissions where the player can obtain several TIPS. These TIPS allow the player to read various supplementary information that may or may not be useful in solving the mystery. For example, one of the TIPS can be as simple as "this is a small village; children who go to this school are combined into one classroom regardless of what grade or year they are in." On the other hand, they can provide valuable hints, such as being able to read the excerpts of the newspaper articles regarding the tragedies that occurred in Hinamizawa's past. At the beginning of each of the story arcs, a cryptic poem by someone known as Frederica Bernkastel is read; these reveal some of what is going to happen in the following arc.
When an episode is completed for the first time, an additional short epilogue called "All-Cast Review Session" becomes available to play, offering hindsight to the completed story from the perspective of the different characters that appeared within it.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni takes place during June 1983 in a fictional rural village called Hinamizawa (雛見沢?) which is based on the village of Shirakawa, Gifu, and has a population of approximately 2,000. The main character, Keiichi Maebara, moves to Hinamizawa and befriends his new classmates Rena Ryugu, Mion Sonozaki, Rika Furude, and Satoko Houjou. Keiichi joins their after-school club activities, which consist mostly of card and board games (and punishment games for the loser – usually him). Hinamizawa appears to be a normal, peaceful, rural village to Keiichi. However, the tranquility abruptly ends after the annual Watanagashi Festival, a celebration to commemorate and give thanks to the local god, Oyashiro. Keiichi learns that every year for the past four years, one person has been murdered and another has gone missing on the evening of the Watanagashi Festival. Keiichi himself soon becomes drawn into the strange events surrounding the Watanagashi Festival and Oyashiro. In each story arc, he or one of his friends becomes paranoid, and a crime is committed. Usually, the crime involves the murder of one of their own friends. While it seems impossible to tell their delusions apart from the mystery of Hinamizawa, slowly the truth is revealed.