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Review: Tokyo School Life

Tokyo School Life is a heart-warming visual novel that allows you to experience a charming summer love story. As an exchange student freshly arrived in Tokyo, you’ll make the acquaintances of Karin, Aoi, and Sakura; three girls with whom you will be spending your vacations. Learn about their quirks, Japanese culture and find your soulmate before the end of the summer!

  • Find your high school sweetheart. Meet and befriend Karin, Aoi, and Sakura: three charming girls who attend the same school and dorm as you, spend lunch breaks together and get to know them.
  • YAYOI Karin:
    Karin is a spirited girl who works hard to fulfill her dream of becoming an idol. At first, she may appear hostile but she is known to be very warm and kind to those who are close to her.
  • HAZUKI Aoi:
    Aoi is a cheerful and bright young girl who enjoys the company of others. Despite her rather small stature along with her cute appearance, Aoi is a fiercely strong girl who practices karate throughout her free time.
  • MINATSUGI Sakura:
    Sakura is both kind and friendly. Since she was a child, Sakura has been suffering from an illness, she loves to spend her time in the school library where she can lose herself in the pages of her books, far away from her real-world affliction.
  • Fully animated and voiced characters
    Characters are brought to life thanks to a splendid art style and a talented Japanese voice cast. The girls are rendered in a smooth animation style and change their expression as you interact with them. Never before has a visual novel been this immersive!
  • Level up your Japanese!
    Boost your Japanese skills whether you are a beginner or an advanced learner. In addition to English, Tokyo School Life lets you display the text in kana, romaji and even in kanji! It is the perfect opportunity to learn vocabulary and study Japanese sentence constructions in a fun and engaging way!
  • Your choices will affect the outcome
    As you progress through the story, you will get to know more about Karin, Aoi, and Sakura. Select the best answers to befriend one of them and perhaps with the right words, your love for your dream girl will be reciprocated.
  • Title: Tokyo School Life
  • Developer: © M2 Co., LTD © Dogenzaka Lab
  • Publisher: PQube Limited
  • Release Date: Feb 14, 2019
  • Price: $14.99
  • Genre: Visual Novel/Dating Sim
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Players: 1
  • *Thank you to PQube Limited for providing the Review Key.*

Tokyo School Life is another visual novel/dating sim published by our friends over at PQube Limited and puts you in the shoes of a high school foreign exchange student in Japan. You’re soon introduced to the three love interests: Karin, Aoi, and Sakura. Being rated “T”, there isn’t anything too explicit or lewd, and is generally sfw, sans the obligatory swimsuit scene. Tokyo School Life tries to go all out on the “moe” factor, and in turn, hits every stereotypical trope in these kinds of games. As always, minor spoilers ahead.

Story:

After meeting the three main characters of the story and spending your first day in class with them, you head to Tomoe Shrine, your temporary home. Upon arriving, you’re surprised to be met by Karin, and soon after Aoi and Sakura. You find out that you’ll be living with them for the next few months, and over the course of 15 chapters or so, grow closer to your girl of choice. Each character has their own cute unique quirks and preferences, and after a certain point, you’ll be locked into a certain route, one for each girl. You spend your days exploring Japan going on dates with each girl, leading up to their own ending. Enough about the story, onto character design, arguably the most important thing about a visual novel.

Character Design:

Yaoyoi Karin runs, quite literally, into you in stereotypical anime fashion, and comes off as your classic “Tsundere” type. She’s the route I happened to take and attempts to hide her secret Idol life from you. She’s taller and bustier than the other girls, and generally is predisposed to disliking you. She’s more of a grungier punk Idol rather than what she really aspires to be, a sweet cute moe Idol. Karin has an obsession with anything cute or kawaii and in turn, is obsessed with our second girl, Aoi.

Hazuki Aoi also happens to run literally into you, and rather than calling you a pervert like Karin, she apologizes profusely and insists it’s her fault. She’s the shortest of the three and has that boyish sporty look about her. She’s into karate dou, and begins giving you lessons over your stay. Aoi has a sweet, motherly kind of personality, but gets serious and tough when it calls for it.

Minatsugi Sakura is a frail, soft-spoken girl. Despite Karin trying to poison her opinion of you, she gives you a fair chance and formally introduces herself to you. You learn she has a medical condition that causes her to faint and generally be weak, and through that, you find out she’s a diehard otaku like you are. You bond and geek over a mutual liking of Samurai Maiden.

Sound/Visuals:

In my opinion, this is where the visual novel really fell short. I will say, that the idle/emotional expressions/movements the characters have are animated nicely, but relies heavily on camera cuts to emphasize action and movement. Background music is recycled quite often throughout the VN, and only has a small handful of tracks so it gets a bit old quickly. Seeing each individual character animated and showing emotion, rather than your traditional still drawn sprites, was very nice, I only wish I got a little more of that kind of stuff with the events.

Conclusion:

If you’re looking to experience a glimpse into life as a high school exchange student who falls in love with a Japanese high schooler, look no further than Tokyo School Life. Don’t get your hopes up and expect anything lewd or too inappropriate, but there are times where the game does get a little bit spicy. While we’re patiently waiting for more and more visual novels to become available on the Nintendo Switch, this may satisfy your short term cravings.

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