Hookah Haze

Hookah Haze

released on Jul 11, 2024

Hookah Haze

released on Jul 11, 2024

It's the year 2xxx. The inexperienced Toru Sumiki lands a job managing Hookah Haze, a new hookah lounge on the outskirts of Akihabara, where he meets three eccentric girls. The story unfolds as the girls gradually open up to him, connecting through their fondness for hookah...

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It's admittedly difficult to keep from comparing this to VA-11 Hall-A every step along the way, which is quite unfortunate. Hookah Haze is fantastic but I find it to somewhat come up short as I feel I'm comparing it too harshly. It's uniqueness cannot be understated here however, as the visuals, music, and characters do quite some heavy lifting.

Specifically, I adore how these characters interact, conversation feels so tactful and discerning. Though this unfortunately seems to do more harm then good overall as I realized that these characters were way too intricate to be the stars of a story written this generically.

At the time of this review I have only gotten a single ending and I'm aware there is much more content to get through but my criticism with the story starts so early it's hard to ignore. The player could never be as invested as they should when the exposition lacks any pertinent information towards Toru's impending death for the player to latch onto and care about.

Despite this and other story issues I had(short days/conversations, unrealistic timeskips), I truly adore this game and will certainly return to it, as this VN genre and atmosphere is something to devotedly cherish and I hope this team from AQUIRE Corp. can come back to the scene in the future with another project as tactful and effortful as this one.

it's va-11 hall-a but with hookah, subculture girls, and a lot of great akihabara flavoring

Great VN, I cried a few times (But that may be because I'm a crybaby) but it suffers from being kinda... short, in a way. It doesn't feel like you truly get to 100% know the characters? I feel like this VN should have had more content, but if you're looking for something to read while waitign for N1RV-Ann-A, this one is amazing and I adore the characters and the protag is cute.

It's a very interesting take on games similar to this. It's very pretty with it's pixel artstyle and the music gives off great vibes. The gameplay part is interesting by making certain flavors and changing the charcoal based on the customer, otherwise it's just learning more about yourself and the customers.
They are some cool and interesting characters here that are fun to learn about, the main problem would be that their time on the spotlight isn't as long as I thought it would be for them.
It's a pretty short but very fun little VN to enjoy. It has some pretty good vibes!