Our protagonist, a fairly ordinary, normal, down to earth young man, has his whole world view shattered when a strange force comes to him and causes him to switch bodies with his classmates. But not just any bodies, he leaps into the bodies of his two ‘school idols’ the girls he has had a crush on for a long time and been unsure who to ask out.
What initially seems great soon takes a darker turn as he realizes his two ‘perfect idols’ have some secrets of their own.
What is more he has no idea what is happening to his own body or what is causing this supernatural event.
Dharker Studios’ (who currently owns the previous titles by AJTilley.com) Highschool Possession was released on Steam and MangaGamer in December for $9.99 and $11.95 respectively, with the latter being the uncensored 18+ version, but the patch for Steam version is available from the developer’s website. As usual, we will be focusing on the “all-ages” Steam version, which does include Steam achievements, but no trading cards. It’s available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux via SteamPlay.
With all the confusion around AJTilley and Dharker Studios to begin with, Highschool Possession fell between some weird cracks with the current rights owner seeing it as a complete and utter failure and Steam reviews mostly praising it but being downvoted hardly. So where does it all really stand at?
Me, myself and I
The Story revolves around male-to-female mind/bodyswap which, while not done in entirely sexual manner (see the 18+ version, which does include some minor sex scenes) is still the centerpiece in the story that tries to include themes such as depression and bullying. While deep subjects, the way they’re incorporated into easily forgettable, generic characters just make it all pass by without much care in the world. There are very few choices in the first place, but even then the story simply doesn’t branch off anywhere, leading into very straightforward experience.
Fully visiting all fours endings of the novel takes around 1.5-2 hours, making this is very short and as such pretty expensive title. Short doesn’t always equal to bad, but in this case there is not a whole lot to go with, and occasionally the game simply feels more of a chore than interesting and thought provoking piece of art. Overall this novel just feels like a rushed work with the single aim of reaping some Christmas-money off of young kids on Steam buying games with anime tits. We don’t really need another Winged Cloud, guys.
Backgrounds do look very nice, and while the character artwork is not exactly hideous, it has its own weird spots; take for example the ridiculously sized breasts on the female characters and the very noticeably reddish noses. Maybe the latter one is somewhat nitpicking, but I personally found it quite distracting for some reason. Audiowork follows in the same middle-of-the-road footsteps not adding much to it all, yet not taking anything out either.
There is also lot to say about the lack of the quality of the gameplay experience outside the actual story. The choice of blue font with white outline makes reading, if not impossible, at least extremely hard and irritating. Switching out to better font is possible to a degree, but one shouldn’t have to resolve into tinkering around with font files merely to be able to read what is being presented to them. The overall lack of polishing really shows here in a bad way.
Highschool Possession is a short and forgettable novel that not only has a pretty hefty pricetag on it, doesn’t really offer much that would redeem its bad qualities. It has glaring technical issues, which do not prevent actual reading, but do hinder it in a big way. With a bundle purchase you’ll at least get two easy Steam achievements, but enjoyment is something that you simply can’t get out of this title.