While the plot of Highschool Romance feels like it was pulled right from the playbook of an ecchi fantasy hentai, the game stays on the light side of what could be a very lewd subject. The story is a bit jumpy at times but is fun and also satisfying.
It’s the start of your final year of high school. Because of a crazy mix-up by your parents, you are due to attend an all-girls school.
Fortunately, the principal has a solution to this strange crisis. You soon discover that what would have been a dream-come-true to many is actually a lot more complicated.
In this unusual situation, can you survive, make friends, or even find love?
The idea of a boy enrolling in an all girls school and pretending to be a girl is kind of a silly subject. Though this could have been the set-up for a lewd romp, the game takes a softer look at the situation. Shoji isn’t a girl crazy protagonist and his motivations are purely to survive the year and graduate without being discovered. It isn’t even his idea.
Were this an NSFW game the story would be full of innuendo, but that’s not the case here. The game does have some light fan service images and poses, but those aren’t the central focus of the game.
Shoji makes two wildly different friends during the school year. First there is Hoshi, the quiet and focused class representative. She is a kindred spirit to Shoji and they quickly become good friends. Hoshi is contrasted by Selena, whom Shoji meets first when he arrives at the school. She is much sportier than Hoshi and the two of them run on the track team.
Shoji spends a lot of his time in the story nervous and worried. Not only is he worried about being found out as a boy in girl’s clothing, he worries about the friendships he is forming. The worry about losing the friendships he is forming should the truth come out is at the front of Shoji’s mind throughout.
Highschool Romance is pretty short overall but some of that I think is due to some issues with the pacing. As with previous games I’ve played from Dharkar Studios, at times the story seems to leap forward without a smooth transition. It in no way makes the story hard to follow, but it is jarring at times.
Multiple choice options are also a feature in Highschool Romance. The answers to the various choices and the answers you give ultimately lead you to which of your two friends you will focus on, leading to different endings. It will also require you to play through more than once to unlock all of the cgs in the game, if you’re a collector.
The music and sound in the game was nice though it did get a tiny bit repetitive. More variety in the soundtrack would have been benefited the game. Small sound effects like a knock at the door would have been a nice inclusion to add you the sense of atmosphere.
The art of the game looks good as well. The look of the characters is different and takes a bit to get used to, but the style of the characters grew on me. The backgrounds were all very well drawn as well.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about Highschool Romance in the beginning. The plot of a boy enrolling in an all-girls school felt like it could easily go of the rails into a lewd romp. But instead it ended up being just what the title called it – a romance. Though it was a bit short and felt rushed at times, it was a pleasant read.