And so it begins?
Here?s the link to the game Student Transfer, long story short, it?s amazing and free. If that?s all you were here for, I respect you and thank you for your time.
Student Transfer: https://www.tfgamessite.com/?module=viewgame&id=790
If you want to stay a little longer, that?s fine too, *hugs* :3
Style.. the one thing that you can achieve by taking all your clothes off.
And although he has the quintessential appearance of a delinquent, the way the developers weave him into a nice guy who is perhaps a tad to lax on the rules synthesises this amazing character.
All the characters have their various insecurities, for example Katrina who you discover in her route is in love with you, but is afraid to break apart the group and your friendship.
One of the routes that resonates with this idea of insecurities is the Mina route in which you find yourself possessing another person and using their memories to imitate them. However, what ends up happening in the process is that you are consumed by hermemories..and also falling in love with and dating a fake version of yourself.
This route isn?t only devastating because of the gradual descent as you gradually succumb to Mina?s memories, but also her character. Before this route, I had entirely dismissed the characters of Mina and Philia as simply being there to give the main character and his friends a harder time, however knowing that Mina was shy to such an extent that she was relying on Philia for the most basic of communication really made me look at them with a new perspective.
Man I don?t even know how I was so emotionally invested in the characters which I initially dismissed as superficial and unimportant, hell I didn?t even give them a second glance until I took their path and I really understood them.
Even though I was watching on in horror as John was consumed by Mina, forgetting all about getting back to his original, I couldn?t help but continue on with the route, because not only was the writing amazing, but the characters felt real and alive and although they weren?t experiences that I had felt myself, I could definitely see them happening.
Talking about characters, this visual novel executes an unparalleled introduction of each of the individual characters in a way that is natural and flowing, the characters don?t force themselves to interact with the protagonist, but rather stay in their assigned roles whilst John encounters them organically in his daily routine.
In about the space of fifteen minutes you are introduced to your older sister, mother, three friends, one bro-friend, the local shrine girl, a delinquent smoker, one elite athlete, your neighbour, the school council president, your history teacher, your homeroom teacher, two of the girls from the popular group and your yandere stalker, all whilst informing you about their relationships with respect to you.
And it does it with perfect pacing, managing to not feel rushed and actually getting you accustomed to each of the characters and their unique characteristics.
In fact, I?d say that the first day not only sets the tone of the novel but provides a seamless avenue for the player to understand the characters, before interacting with them. And it is done in such a silky smooth way that you can?t help but gasp in awe at the aptitude of the writers and devs.
And it?s really the nuances which make this game great. The idea that the experience of this visual novel isn?t only each of the routes, but the combination of all them together. Because only from that can you develop a full picture of this game, because when you relive the same scene, but realise what a difference that making that single choice does to derail the story from its previous trajectory, that feeling is beyond spectacular.
The turning point of the story in my opinion is on the second day which is aptly named ?A Fateful Day? and I think this event is what distinguishes it from all other visual novels. So on this day you either choose to go with your friend Kiyoshi and end up being abducted by aliens who give you an alien device.
OR you end up getting a magic book which turns out to be real as a result of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign with Katrina, one of your other friends.
Both of them are similar and possess some of the same powers, however have their own subtle differences in how they work, which cause massive ripples throughout the story, so any outcomes are vastly disparate. Powers that they both share and are integral to the story and probably the most iconic are body-swapping, changing genders and mind control.
Personally, I just love the idea of body-swapping and or changing genders as a concept, I mean what better way to gain empathy for a character than actually being them? And Student Transfer puts this to good use as with aforementioned Mina route and Connie route where you get to see the school environment in a completely different light.
Additionally, being able to switch between different genders is just this surreal experience and it blew me away and evoked so much pleasure to see how it changed how they interacted with others and also how they looked.
A short mention to the ability to mind control people as it opens up so many more paths and allows for more complex scenarios to evolve out of Student Transfer.
It?s good. That?s about it.
The Art (Just kidding the GUI)
Now the GUI (Game User Interface) is really nice looking, even on the level of the most professional of standards for visual novels, it?s clean, easy on the eyes and has all the basic functions such as skipping, saving loading, pausing and reloading previous text that you didn?t quite catch, overall well ironed.
I would love to criticise you here, but I can?t find much ammunition to do so?I?m going to skip on the next part, cause I need more things to criticise/blindly fall in love with.
There are so many choices.
Probably the feature I love the most about this is the amount of choice you have in this visual novel. Let me just show you a full flowchart of all the decisions in Student Transfer lovingly created by Natalie Neumann on her blog NigmaBox which can be found here: https://nigmabox.wordpress.com/about/ Seriously great work, because this chart is fantastic.
The possibilities are endless?Credit: https://nigmabox.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/student-transfer-version-3-0-review/but wait?the top flowchart is just half of the decisions for the game? Credit: https://nigmabox.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/student-transfer-version-3-0-review/
And when I say choice, I actually mean choice, because with other visual novels I?ve played, I never really felt like my input had an impact on the final outcome, but in Student Transfer your every choice influences the game to such a degree that sometimes I felt like it was too responsive to my thoughts..which to be clear isn?t a bad thing. I was just starstruck that I could make that decision or have such fine control when other visual novels offered none of it, pretending to offer the illusion of choice, before returning back to the main skeleton.
This is probably the only game where 15 pages of saves actually felt necessary and I did use most of the slots, because I was confronted with so much choice that I legitimately had to use it regularly and I thank the developers for their foresight on this.
?that?s a lot of saves
With this game, you can diverge off the main skeleton so much that it essentially feels like you?re playing a different game. The diversity of content on this gives this game life and I adore that about Student Transfer.
Speaking of which in the current update V3.1 there is about ~20 hours (not scientifically proven range of 15?20 hours) of content, which is utterly ridiculous. Astandard visual novel by independent developers is about an hour or maybe two if you?re lucky, but the stupendous amount of content in this one game which has no funding, no certified experts on it (with the exception of cobalt), this in itself deserves a huge round of applause at this jaw-dropping achievement.
And I might as well bring in one of the most important parts of this visual novel which is the idea that it is a collaborative effort between anyone who wants to write. Not only does this add a much needed spice to all the routes as they sound different, from the various writer?s voices.
However, it also means that pretty much all aspects are covered, all decisions that you could feasibly take are likely covered. Which kind of leads back to my previous point which is that there are so many choices. That is because there are so many writers. This being a collaborative project, means there is more content.
The writers and game developers are fully aware, you can tell that they?re consumers of visual novels and anime and manga too. They know the pitfalls and are intimately familiar with the medium inside and out, because it is what they love and saturate themselves with daily.
And you might feel like the quality of the writing would be inconsistent, however from my experience, I feel like the quality of the writing stays top notch throughout the entire playthrough.
Choices in Student Transfer?also John?s bedroom.
It also means that if you are determined enough you can join the team. In fact, here?s a link to the site if you want to join:(you need to register for tfgamesssite.com first) https://www.tfgamessite.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?t=8848&sid=115065ca284edbd8b330a01ea80110ca
It?s so easily accessible even a novice writer like me who writes for fun can join and I love that. I don?t know how to express that emotion that I feel, being able to join upon a project that I love from the bottom of my heart and they were kind enough to let me join into the wonder which is their visual novel, which I?m still kind of in awe about.
Hell they even have a fan discord, which means that even without being a developer you can put in your own opinion and the devs are very receptive to feedback and discussion with their fans.
Adding upon that, if all that isn?t enough, there is still scenarios, which are fan made pieces of content, which bridge off the content in the main game which provide hours more of enjoyment, although I will say the quality varies, but that?s to be expected, the fact that anyone regardless of experience can contribute even the smallest part to a game they love.
That is truly good design.
The last thing I want to discuss about how the game is designed is how the game developers make the character?s decisions your own.
Characters will justify their decisions based on your choices for example, there is this decision here where you are thinking of either agreeing or disagreeing with Kiyoshi on going with him to see some alien crop circles and here?s what John says if you choose to go.
If you pick the other option and don?t want to go he says something completely different.
Why is this so smart? Because it makes choices that you chose.
It makes you feel like you influenced not only what the character did, but what they thought. It makes you feel like the character and I thought that that was just really neat.
If I had one criticism it would be one of the routes in the current build.
A warning, there are spoilers in the following for Student Transfer. I won?t bother making you feel guilty, because if I?ve read this far into an article, I usually read the spoilers anyway sooo?
So in Student Transfer, Jack Mallory is your history teacher and all throughout the other routes there?s this weird thing: he hates your guts for some reason, which I actually like.
Because as a writer I personally feel like I avoid characters like that, because I only like honorable and noble characters. However, characters like this help bring tension to the story without being an overly dramatic antagonist and precipitate flair into your writing.
Your sister is also featured in this route and before this, all we know about your sister is that she has recently become less friendly with you, becoming cold and distant because of some reason or another.
The only problem is where this route goes. Summarising it, you end up finding a ghost who?s seeking revenge on Jack Mallory for killing her with his own alien device after she found out that he raped your sister.
And the thing is if you fail in this route, he brainwashes you and everyone else in the school and rapes you and makes you like it.
I?m just averse to that personally.
The problem is not only is it inconsistent with the character of Jack Mallory, who yes, does hate you, but never to such a degree.
And why would him raping your sister make him hate you? I?m just a little confused here. Also there?s this thing where Kiyoshi, your friend turns you into a girl and then hypnotises everyone you know to think you are a girl, which I also have a few problems with, because first of all, he does it in one day and in the other routes, such power is not really ever displayed and second of all, surely he should have run into Jack Mallory whilst hypnotising everyone in the school to think you?re a girl and gotten captured or something.
Furthermore, this route just makes you feel guilty for taking any other route.
Why? Because if you take any other route you also choose to let the person who raped your sister and killed another person go scot free, which is really bad. It kind of ruins the other routes, which I dislike.
Okay, maybe one other thing I have with this novel is that a lot of the parts aren?t finished yet, but you know what? Who cares? With the ridiculous amount of content already available and released I simply cannot fault them for this. It?s still in progress and has so much potential.
To conclude, I have to say thank you to all the devs who made Student Transfer, especially to those who left and I never got the chance to meet. Because this is a collaborative web project, a lot of the people working on this left for other projects and various reasons and I sincerely thank you for what you have contributed to this visual novel.
Also, Jcjace45 is so great, he?s my mentor from now on(If he chooses to accept this role) so is Iwana and Lentil-sama-dono-sensei-san. He?s pretty cool too. During my short stay with them after joining onto the project I have found that they give you honest feedback on your writing that I actually think helped out a ton, pointed out of things that I missed and inconsistencies with the canon and in general, improved me as a writer.
As of now this visual novel is not available on Steam or other platforms.
The problem is all the assets are taken from other visual novels, because they don?t have artists for CGs and sprite art, that?s why I?m guessing that they can?t post this on steam or other traditional platforms instead of tfgames.net
And I have got to say that these guys are uber organised, they have a huge amount of people and eyes to look over your work any time you need, they?re on point with their character and writing skills and they have a systematic process for making things.
They also throw ideas around and are super active, as in they are working on Student Transfer daily which is dedication if I?ve ever seen it.
As an insider I can tell you that their writing process is extremely rigorous to ensure their astronomically high standard of writing and I really respect that.
In summary, they?re a slick, mean visual novel writing machine.
These guys deserve to go mainstream, I really think they do. The only thing they need is attention. They have the skills, are professionals at why they do. Are amazingly generous and crack writers, artists and programmers.
This visual novel makes me proud to be alive, that this can be accomplished.
I mean this visual novel is so great that I missed two dinners just to play this game and something like three lunches, but I have to say that I don?t regret anything.
This is the kind of thing that I live for, it?s the experience which supports me when I don?t want to live anymore, when no one else is there for me.
This crystallises all of what I love.
And that?s about it. Thank you for being here for this special episode, you are my lifeblood.
Anime Nyan, out.