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Game Review #170: Tokyo School Life (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Jordan M.

Developer: M2

Publisher: Dogenzaka Lab, PQube

Category: Visual Novel/ Role Playing

Release Date: 02.14.2019

Price (at time of review): $14.99

Buy Tokyo School Life from the Nintendo eshop here.

A Match Made in Hormonal Driven Japan

Tokyo School Life is about a young high schooler who has come to Ohkawa City in Tokyo to study for two months at Keyakidai High School. He is there to further his studies, practice his self-taught Japanese, and if we're being honest, meet some cute girls. He finds out he will be staying with three of his classmates, who much to his shock (and I'm sure slight excitement), are all girls! This situation will ultimately turn out to be quite different than he may expect. Karin, Aoi, and Sakura are all three very different girls than they initially seem.

Your character—whatever you decide to name him—comes off as the total weeb from Hell at first. Completely ignorant of anything about Japan itself—yet somehow he speaks the language fluently, huh—he has the complete stereotypical mentality about everything in Japan, including the women. Pretty quickly into the game he learns the hard truth that most of these things are not necessarily true. Karin is a strong, in-your-face type of girl, who stands up for the other girls and is always suspicious of others. Aoi, the smallest girl, is very much the mom of the group, cooking and cleaning and keeping the other girls on their responsibilities. Sakura, the quiet one, is so sweet but very sleepy and has a possible hidden side to her.

Weeb On, Weeb Until Your Weebs Come True

Gameplay is pretty straight forward. You are mostly just pressing A to change dialogue as the story progresses. Occasionally, you will be prompted to make a decision to certain questions or situations. The decisions you make will produce different outcomes and create a level of influence with each different girl. There are some general questions, and then each girl will have their own particular sets of choice selection as well. You will eventually find yourself choosing between one of these three girls to be your potential love interest. When you make a choice, a different sound will indicate what type of decision you have made. When the person really likes your response, a more intense ding will happen. Depending on how you've answered and the amount of points you've accumulated, one or some of the girls may be greyed out for you by the time it comes to decide your main interest. I suggest making multiple save files if you want to easily go back and choose each girl's particular path.

One thing these girls and this game will teach you is about Japan. A LOT. I was surprised by the sheer amount of information they tell you during your playthrough. Throughout the game you travel to several different parts of Tokyo, learning about the history of each location, some things about the area, landmarks famous for each destination, the popular food and fashion, and many other interesting tidbits.

High School Love Never Looked Better

I enjoyed the different cut scenes, and the girls look great when they pop up on screen. I especially enjoy the little cut scenes where it shows their cell phone and the three of them texting back and forth, talking about mostly you. The soundtrack is not bad, and I like that it gives you the option to listen to different tracks as you encounter them inside the game under a separate options menu. There is also a gallery menu for special scenes throughout the course of the game.

Does the Story Play Out?

At the end of the day, this game was very different than what I expected it to be. Most visual novels are heavy on the fan service, and at times this game can seem a little that way as well, but the game overall was more complex than I had given it credit. I enjoyed the story overall, and all three of the girls have very different stories—and each one is worth the playthrough. The game, as I mentioned earlier, provides a lot of information about Japan and its history, as well as its culture, food, important areas, etc. I guess you can't really judge a book... er... visual novel by its cover.

Score: 8/10

Buy Tokyo School Life from the Nintendo eshop here.

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*Review Code Provided by PQube

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