School of Talent SUZU-ROUTE Review
School of Talen Suzu Route stars like almost every other VN I have ever played, you are a new student at Mikage Academy, japans only institute for student with “special talents” aka magic. Your character starts off by being pulled in to a room an winning a lottery for free tution, then you find out you actually don’t have any talents in this school of “talented” individuals! What will you do?
Well meet a bunch of girls of course, I mean this is a visual novel! The very first girl you meet is singing to the moon on a cold winters night. I appreciated the fully voiced song, and thought it was a nice touch since most people don’t do that. Later I would find out this girl was named Suzu Yuki. She would be the girl we were trying to woo, and is the reason for the title of the game.
After the first cut scene I was treated to a one and a half year time skip, and got in to the game. It seems the special powers at this school are the sort you might see in most generic “power” anime, with one person being able to summon bamboo, another shoot water, and another command wind. I particularly liked the girl who’s power was “to emit pheromones to make men her thrall”. A thrall in case you are not aware, is a slave.
so slavery and hot girls, I was totally in to this VN and it had just started. The main story is a classic trope in anime, two dorms (in this case white and black) face off in competition to see which one is better. You have seen this in just about every single anime ever. You being talentless is the main crux of this game, you have to make your way in the world and make the girl love you.
The plot of School of talent is basic at best. Its romance, pure and simple, that girl we met on the hill at the start shes the Suzu, of the games title, and since this is the Suzu route, its her were going to romance. The game hints heavily that there will be other routes later, and since this is a game built on Unity, it should be easy the MyDearest to take a crack at adding more routes.
The story suffers from many common anime tropes, but does a good enough job to keep interest. The idea of a talentless person having to make their way in a school full of a talented people is not at all original, but in this case it at least doesn’t seem to be central. Instead we get a very much anime protagonist who cannot tell the girl he has a crush on anything about his crush. That’s not a bad thing, since EVERY anime ever is basically about this. The joy comes from the situation it self, and seeing how its handled. The idea of “talents” and “high school dorm vs” are about as old as anime itself, but they are presented well enough here. You care about the character and his infatuation with the titular Suzu. I found my self rooting for him by the end, which is the most real measure of enjoying a game like this.
Unity of course is double edged, and it comes with nice and terrible features. The nice side is support for a ton of resolutions, easy changes to code base, and a lot of common classes. The bad side is a lack of professional support and issues with some commands. I encountered this early on when despite not having the play button pressed (most Visual Novels have an autoplay button) the game began to scroll rapidly past text without my inputs. I can read pretty fast, but since this game has such nice voices I usually like to wait for them to finish before I move on, and this was cutting them off.
Its not fault of unity however that this game is not a game at all but a true blue, VN. There are is only one choice for the entire game, and there are no major plot changes effected by the choice. Havent recently played a batch of VN’s with minigames, and other mechanics, this one felt a bit hollow. Veteran VN players may also be upset at the game only have 6 save slots (one of which is an auto-save) but again since there aren’t any choices to need to save before.
On to the good parts, School of Talent has amazing fully voiced panels. Some VN’s do partial voice, some do none at all, this one has lovley fully voices characters, one of whom even sings. The art is good, in that flat almost comic style that I like. I wish they had gone with some motion in their art, similar to what has been done with larger more popular franchises, but I can understand not wanting to have to animate things.
The game also has a few minor translation issues, but I can always overlook those in favor of the fact that they voiced characters. I would be remiss to not mention that at least one of the backdrops in the game is very clearly a stock asset, and to not point out the numbers spelling errors, and occasional grammatical slip that show up. But, if you can get past the minor flaws I think School of Talent has enough of a story to keep most VN lovers entertained for at least a few hours.