This is somewhat of a review, I guess… This game takes a lot of effort to play.
Basic premise. You’re a new teacher, and the principal assigns you… to a group of the dumbest (but cute) students. You have a year to tutor them and make sure that they graduate at the end of 1 year. Unusual story, unusual casts… You can read Lijakaca’s blog about the PS2 version of the game and character info. Her Japanese is a lot better than mine, since she managed to grasp what was actually going on… but well, continuing… Vitamin X Evolution is the NDS remake of the game, and it has quite a lot of extras… such as the option to pursue the other teachers instead of just the students. Read Lijakaca’s blog and you’ll get the general feel for the game. Me, I’ll just tell you why you might or might not want to play this game…
Unless you’re a native Japanese speaker, this game is nearly impossible to play without a guide. The moment you start, you can pick one out of the 6 troublesome students (B6). Each student has 12 chapters (teacher has 5), and at any given time you can go back to the character selection screen to pick another student’s storyline. At the end of each chapter (except chapter 12), there’s a 10 questions multiple choice test. I’d say this: it’s impossible to choose the right answers without a guide, since the questions at every test is random. The game is quite nice in it that it lets you bow out of the test if you press the Start button in the middle of the game. However, if you managed to answer all 10 questions, you’ll be rewarded with a Bonus Event.
A typical chapter goes… the student, being dumb, will often make mistakes in his speeches or grammar. The main character has a limited number of Action Points she can spend each chapter. If you think the guy just made a mistake, use your Action Point to either correct (tsukkomi) him, or go along (suru) with it. If you get it right, the guy’s points will increase depending on which action you picked. If you got it wrong, you just wasted an Action Point. Thankfully, this game has a Quick Save and Quick Load function… a life-saver. In each chapter there’s also 1-3 questions which can raise the Love point by a lot, if you pick the right answer.
Each guy has 2 points to raise, Love and Study. Whenever you successfully correct him, his Study point will increase whereas if you go along with his mistakes his Love point will increase. At the end of the chapter you’ll also have the options between seeing a Love event or a Study event, which will raise its respective points (not by much though). Answering 10 questions correctly during the test will increase your Study Point by 30. The nice thing is, if you get everything correct, the game will remember it for you. The next time you go through the same character’s route again (for a different ending), before the test starts it will ask if you want to do the test again. If you pick ‘No’, the game will skip the test… and you will get the 30 Study Points automatically.
Whenever there’s a CG event, you can choose to view the picture by itself without any of the dialogue boxes/menus, and you can use your stylus to touch spots on the picture to hear some dialogue. Also, there’s a slight change in the student’s looks. As his Love stats increases, he will start to wear accessories (sunglasses, earrings, glasses, etc). The first time this happens is when his Love point is around 400, and the next one is at 700, I think. The same rule applies to teachers.
Lijakaca’s blog said there are 3 endings for each of the student, and I haven’t played it that much to confirm whether anything has been added for the DS version. But if I’m not mistaken, the 3 endings are:
- Normal Ending: Raise Study points. Don’t bother with Love points.
- Dream Ending: Love should be above 750, Study below 500 by the start of chapter 12.
- Perfect Ending: Both Love and Study should be above 500 by the start of chapter 12.
- Once you’ve seen Dream Ending and Perfect Ending, Secret Story will be opened.
Each student has a corresponding teacher… sort of. Once you’ve finished a student’s route, it will open up the corresponding teacher’s route. To know who the corresponding teacher is, pay attention at the test. The teacher who will ask the first and the last question in the test is that student’s corresponding teacher.
The game has skip functionality that lets you skip any read dialogue. And it’s good to use, because if you have previously successfully corrected the student’s mistakes, the skip function will stop at those points so you can correct the student to earn points in your next playthrough, without having to read through the dialogues again. Playing the game for the first time will cost you around 6 hours (tests included), whereas with the skip function this became approximately 40 minutes…
Also, after you ended the game successfully, it will offer you to save (option #1). When you start your next playthrough you can load this save file. It recorded your progress with any character, which added a nice touch. Let’s say in your previous play character A has started wearing his second accessory in Chapter 10. If you load from the Save file and play character B’s route, if you see character A in Chapter 10 he’d be wearing his second accessory. A nice touch at keeping things synchronised, I think. Also, the save file is your only way to view events… There’s a gallery where you can see the still CGs, but there’s no Event replay. Want to see the Ending again? Load that save file…
Verdict: An entertaining game with unusual casts. Be prepared to invest a lot of effort though.