A very loosely tied sequel to High School Romance, which featured cross-dressing themes, this installment to the franchise takes place in the prestigeous Royal Academy of the Magi. This school is the most boring magical school ever. Forget secret dungeons hosting ancient evils, mirrors that reveal your deepest wishes, there are no epic wizard tournaments. In this game, there are not even inklings of anti-nazi subtexts.
High School Romance Magi Trials is as exciting as your monday morning trek to the bathroom.
The story is about Shaun, who turns into Sophie. Shaun cast a spell that went to shit, he lost his dick and grew a pair of tits. Palms are sweaty, there’s boobs on his body already, mom’s spaghetti… you let it slip.
I clicked, clicked, and skipped the dialog. Nothing of interest was spoken, I went through alternate routes to see what changed with my choices. One time, I committed murder and was sent to jail, another time the lesbian succubus enslaved me. Neither ending had notable build-up leading up to the decisions that caused these “tragic” events. The story is about Sophie having light conversations with other slackers between her studies. She experiences her life’s first anime girl fanservice moments.
Where’s the story? Where is the sex?
The criminal storytelling offense that High School Romance Magi Trials commits, is that it doesn’t even follow the basic three-act structure. The three-act structure includes the beginning, act two part one, turning point, act two part two, and the third act. Because stories are written as emotional journeys, you are supposed to build up tension, and release said tension at key plot points, so the audience experiences catharsis at points of resolution. The characters meet adversity, and grow as people to match the challenges. If you skimp on drama, character development, world-building, and forego any and all subtexts, your story ends up flat. This game is like that; nothing happens, nothing matters.
In a nutshell, the story is the perfect premise for multiple porn scenes, which are omitted for no discernable reason from the Nutaku version. How did the company not bother to make a single sex scene? Why is there not one slide worth of nipples or cooch? Even some stupid high school drama, with bullies and stress over passing tests would’ve made the experience more compelling.
Had the game delivered good porn in the scenes that were clearly leading up to such action, this could’ve been good.
The game is about two hours long. That’s another trademark trait of Dharker Studio’s games; the content is cheap unsatisfying bullshit, that always barely scrapes the line, that you don’t feel like refunding the measly 10 bucks you paid. This is a pathological pattern the studio has, and I’ll discuss below my observations about this company and their business model, and why these pieces of shit stay in business despite the absolute lack of quality in their releases.
Let’s look at the characters: The protagonist Shaun / Sophie, is a sexually insecure sophomor at a generic magical high school. His teachers see much potential in him / her. Fact that he survived the gender swap spell alive, is evidence of his magical prowess. His background story was flimsy, I never learned about his parents or previous life, and it seemed like these details were left for the player to decide. There are branching story choices, where you paint Sophie’s past. This is a visual novel, the choice system is the bread and butter of the medium. But yeah, if I must spell it out for you, Sophie is a very flat, boring character.
Then we got Magi Shira, who is your teacher, she’s morally grey and almost interesting beyond her cup size. At the beginning, you fight her in your first magi trial. She tests your combat magic, and stomps you. When she finds out you became a girl after casting a forbidden spell, she gives you a fake name, and covers your ass. She lies to everyone around her, and comes to molest your rack at nights for some mystical reason… oh, but thats the twist! But you get the picture, she’s probably the villain of the story. Because she doesn’t tell the school about your shenanigans, by wizard law, you are both accomplices in a crime. Breaking the law doesn’t bother Shira, nor does she give too many fucks about killing people magically.
Yes, Shira is almost an interesting character. Now, let’s talk about the less interesting romancable character…
Charlie, despite the name, is your female senpai, and kind of a bitch. She is your sparring partner and love interest. There is a scene where you have a magical battle. There is also a scene where she is injured – oh, but not lethally injured, because that would be too much drama for the kids. Charlie is depicted as a sassy, strong, independent white female. They only skipped the red hair and glasses, and the stereotype would’ve been complete.
I also played the route where Charlie and Sophie kissed and supposedly got pregnant. I’m joking, they just kissed and the game ended.
Looks exciting, right? The art sells the hustle.
Art is what you see. Coloring is well done, leaning towards pleasent shades of pastelle. The areas and costumes reminded me of Dalaran from the Wrath of the Lich King expansion of World of Warcraft. Backgrounds are professional level, detailed, and nice to look at. The magical effects are pretty cool, the spells have that crackling feel of braindead cookie-cutter arcane hand nukes, always epic to see.
High School Romance Magi Trials’ character art is a mix of eastern anime style, and western cartoon style. It’s a very simplified style, not the highest quality, but especially body proportions of characters were fetching. Boobs and hips gave my cock a twitch. Faces looked much better than in High School Romance. I liked the visual aesthetics overall, despite a couple lower quality CG slides. If you were rather masturbating than wasting time reading this ultra negative game review, check out JLIST’s eroge downloads.
The game has no voice acting. The game has no audio, save for light bleeps you get clicking the menu buttons. Music is boring, and I mean really boring. It’s been some weeks since I played the game, and I can’t recall a single note or melody. Dharker Studio has not produced memorable music tracks. I recall no review on our site that hyped up the music. Either the directing is bad, or the players they hired, or it’s part of their quantity-over-quality business model to produce forgettable cheap trite to keep down the production costs.
The writing had few spelling errors, and dialog was natural enough. Just, none of it was engaging or memorable or worth a shit. I felt my time being purposely wasted all the way through.
Why is Dharker Studio successful? Because, they have a business model that abuses the brokenness of our budding western hentai game industry. Even with Nutaku around, we still have no veritable store, to sell these games with tits and pussy and dicks exploding.
The most important aspect of their business model is the nullification of production costs. Dharker Studio is a company that produces multiple titles a year, crowdfunding the making of the games with Patreon and Kickstarter. Because enough people with money apparently have the lowest fathomable standards for their fap media, they pull this off. And then, they reduce costs even further, by cutting the length of each release, skimping on quality, sometimes not giving two fucks about polishing the games. They cross-launch the titles on multiple sales sites, like Mangagamer, Steam, and Nutaku.
The key to the scheme is dumping down the adult material of the titles, to a level where the development house can publish the games on Steam, by simply cutting the adult scenes altogether. Because they possess such a volume of releases, their small base of fans buy a couple titles a year, while others will buy these games blindly without ever looking at reviews, just because they liked the premise description or the art style. Their games always cost $5-10, thus the kids that use their parents’ credit cards for game purchases, do not bother seeking refunds. Therefore it doesn’t matter that individual games like High School Romance Magi Trials sucks, or that even Dharker Studio’s entire library sucks. It’s not about one product, but keeping the cycle going.
Watch the trailer.
When I started on visual novels, I played games like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attourney, Littlewitch Romanesque, Starless: Nymphomania’s Paradise, Ultimate Boob Wars, some actual good games. But since then, it’s been disappointment after disappointment. Because of shoddy releases like this, everyone I speak to is losing interest in visual novels. It is infuriating, knowing, that the so-called “successful” western studios have adapted to the broken meta, a meta so heavily influenced by Steam’s porn-racism. I look at these companies with a glance, and see through them in an instant. It’s all bullshit they do, and they only pull it off, because people have no concept of what good porn games are like. The issue is you; you suck.
Oh, you’re till gonna buy this shit? I dare you, I double dare you.