Suburban Timewaster

I play video games and review them.

Archive for the tag “winterwolves”

Roommates (Winterwolves.com)

When Anne and Max signed up for dorm living at their college, they had no idea how chaotic it would be.  Can they accomplish their goals while dealing with their crazy roommates?

Remember when I said that this game was a spiritual successor to Summer Session?  Believe me when I say that this one is a huge improvement.  One of the differences is that instead of a shy guy trying to get a girlfriend, you can play as shy girl trying to break out of her shell or a rebel guy trying to make sure his band gets a big break.  Anne and Max both have four romance options with Rakesh and Isabella being romance able for both while Dominic and Sally are only romance able for Anne and Max respectably.  Anne and Max can also romance each other and the story differs depending on whose point of view you play from.  One thing I really like about this game is that the characters are unique in their own ways.  They’re also considered attractive in their own ways instead of following one standard of beauty.  In the games Always Remember Me and the first two Heileen games, Marie and Amy were both considered average looking at best.  Anne is not a case of Hollywood Homely but rather I’m Not Pretty.  The difference between the two is that the former has the other characters agreeing with the character that says she’s not pretty.  The latter has only the character thinking this while everyone around him or her disagrees.  Another thing I like about this game is how characters like Isabella and Sally are portrayed.  Any other writer, such as the writers of That 70s Show, would portray a woman like Isabella as a bitchy slut with no morals or standards.  Instead, she’s portrayed as a woman who acknowledges her sexuality but will not do anyone who asks or do whatever her current significant other wants.  She’s just a sexually active young woman and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Sally is a vegan animal rights activist who would either be portrayed as a nutcase for her beliefs or as in the right all along and everyone should follow her example.  Instead, like Isabella, she’s just different and there’s nothing wrong with that.  The other characters are also different, such as Dominic with his rule upbringing and Rakesh with his art.  The only things that bother the other people about them is that Dominic is too strict while Rakesh has no respect for people’s boundaries when it comes to his art.  Anne and Max also develop throughout the game without changing their core identities.  I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll just leave it at that.  However, I will say that Anne’s a nice change from the female characters that usually star in dating sims, at least the ones made by Winter Wolves.  Many of them, like Nicole, are outgoing and love fashion.  Anne is shy and prefers the comfort of a quiet library to a loud party.  I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with Nicole but it’s nice to have something different and more relatable to me for once.  In addition, there’s this one scene where you find out that Dominic likes video games and Anne admits that she herself has played them.  It’s a welcome change to shows like the Big Bang Theory where even the scientist girls have no interest in video games, D&D, or comic books and makes a big deal about them doing those things for the first time.

The game play is that of your typical dating sim.  You have to plan the schedule of the character you’re playing while trying to romance one of the other characters.  You do have the option of skipping events in order to save energy.  If you want to successfully romance a character, you have to raise your stats high enough for them to take an interest in you.  You can do that through part time jobs or pay to partake in certain activities.  You can also attend class and study in order to keep your grades high.  Max and Anne’s storylines are sold separately in case you would rather just play as one of the characters instead of exploring the game through both of their perspectives.

This game is addictive and hilarious.  I give it 10 out of 10; it definitely didn’t disappoint.

Nicole (Winterwolves.com)

Nicole’s excited about the college life only to discover that it wasn’t all she imagined it to be.  Three girls have been abducted from her campus and messages from the culprit tell her that she’ll be the fourth.  Can Nicole find romance while keeping herself from becoming the next victim?

For those of you who haven’t played the game, I have to warn you that there are spoilers in this review.  This game is not your typical dating sim.  From the very first scene, it’s clear that there is far more going on then hooking up with boys.  You have to solve a mystery while pursuing a guy. 

If you go there alone, you don’t get to solve anything.  I like to think that this is less about a knight in shining armor saving a damsel in distress than it is about saying that there is safety in numbers.  Celso Riva is working on the yuri version of this game so we’ll just have to wait and see.  The guy’s you can pursue are Ted, the hotheaded southerner, Jeff, the eccentric scientist, Darren, the shy computer geek, and Kurt, the social football player.  My personal favorite would have to be Ted because he has a touching storyline about his family and his temper’s not to the point where he gets abusive.  Kurt, on the other hand, had a scene that was used as a joke but it made me feel uncomfortable.  In that scene, he was trying to kiss Nicole even though she was saying no and she had to throw an alarm clock at him to get him to stop.  Maybe they were just playing and I took it the wrong way.  Jeff was also another love interest I had trouble with because he was way too easily forgiven.  True, he never killed anyone but he did experiment on humans like they were guinea pigs and pretty much ruined their lives.  I know that, as the player, I was the one to make the choice, but I think a far more interesting ending for him would be Nicole doubting whether she could trust him.  I like screwed up relationships but I would prefer if the author admitted that they were screwed up.

The game play is similar to Always Remember Me with a few differences.  In that game, you only tried to raise a particular stat if you wanted the special ending for a certain guy.  In Nicole, you have to raise a certain stat for a guy if you want their normal ending.  The only way to get the special ending is if you max out the clues stat and view all of the mystery scenes. 

You visit difference locations and do certain activities in order to raise each stat.  You also have to choose between two responses when having scenes with certain boys.  If you pick the correct one, it will raise their affection level.  Another thing that separates Nicole from Always Remember Me is that you have to buy five gifts for a certain boy if you want any chance of pursuing a relationship with them.  In Always Remember Me, you only had to buy a few stat-raising items and one thing for only one of the guys and even that wasn’t necessary.

This game is romantic with a hint of mystery.  I give it 9 out of 10; some of the suspense scenes had my heart racing.

Summer Session (Winterwolves.com)

When a shy student signs up for summer classes, he didn’t know what to expect.  Maybe he’ll finally have a girlfriend, or maybe he’ll remain as lonely as he’s always been.

This is not exactly an interesting premise.  In fact, the only reason I bought this game is that Celso Riva is working on another one called Roommates that he claims is sort of a successor to this one.  As I said, the plot is some shy guy trying to find a girlfriend in six weeks while still trying to ace his exams.  He can pursue the outgoing Rachel, his teacher Jenny, the studious Midori, the athletic Tanya and the eccentric Emma.

The game play is about choosing your schedule for the week and making the correct dialogue choices when pursuing a character. 

You can study to do well on exams, work for money, go partying, play sports, play video games, rest or exercise.  No matter what, you have to attend class every day.

This game is addictive but not that interesting.  I give it 3 out of 10; compared to Celso Riva’s later games, it falls short.

The Flower Shop: Summer in Fairbrook (Winterwolves.com)

Steve just got his grades back from college and they didn’t turn out as well as he hoped.  His girlfriend, Jill, is tired of his slacker ways and dumps him.  To top it all off, Steve’s dad sends him to go live with his uncle on a farm so he can learn responsibility.

Steve’s definitely a slacker type and it shows.  At first, all he does is complain about his predicament.  Then he develops into a hard-working guy.  There are four women Steve can hook up with, Clara (the small-town girl with big dreams), Susana (the vegan with a temper), Marian (the shy librarian), and Jill (your ambitious ex).  These women actually have something that you don’t normally find in a dating sim, a life outside of you.  They have their own problems along with their own hopes and dreams that you have to help them through.  My personal favorite is Clara’s relationship with Steve because they both bond with each other over their hatred for Fairbrook.

Every morning, you wake up and work on the farm.  When you’re finished, you do the activity you scheduled for that day.  You can rest, go jogging with Clara, go to the library, go to the flower shop, stay home and call Jill, or continue working on the farm.

As I said earlier, the girls have lives outside of you.  If you want to win any of their hearts, you have to have a life outside of the girl you pursue.  Each girl has a particular stat they admire, Clara likes coolness which you can get from talking to Jill, Jill likes determination which you can get from jogging with Clara, Susana likes culture which you can get by going to the library, and Marian likes romance which you can get by going to the flower shop.  You can get a normal ending and a special ending with each girl depending on whether you raised over a thousand dollars while playing.  If you don’t meet the requirements for any of the girls, you get the alone ending.

The game is fun and has a good story.  I give it 8 out of 10, some similarities to Harvest Moon.

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