Review: Tokyo School Life


A Crazy Trip To Japan

While I played my fair share of visual novels over a couple of years, it’s still not a genre I’ve completely involved myself with aside from the mainstream titles. While I’ve seen Tokyo School Life in my recommended a few times on Steam or when going through the Steam queue to get trading cards during sales, from a quick skimmed, it never caught my interest enough to even know what it was about, until the game was announced for Switch.

I’m not sure why I decided to read on the game this time compared to the other times I’ve been exposed to the game but the fact that it had Japanese text alongside the English one as a way of learning the language intrigued me, so I decided to try the game out. I like visual novels but the ones that make me deal with a lot of slice of life material usually bores me a bit. The Key visual novel games are one of the exceptions since I enjoyed their anime counterparts, so I already knew what I was getting for the most part.

Tokyo School Life (PC, Nintendo Switch [reviewed])
Developer: M2
Publisher PQube
Released: February 14th, 2019
MSRP: $14.99

The story revolves an exchange student who will be staying in Japan for two months. Fascinated about the culture, he made sure to study the language to a huge extent as well. He’s also a big fan of anime and manga, particularly of Samurai Maiden. He had the perfect trip in his mind, especially after what his sensei told him about Japanese girls and how they feel about foreigners. However, his trip go didn’t go as he planned and sets off to a rocky start. As he realizes he’s already late for his first day of school, he rushes in but unfortunately has weird encounters with two girls—one where he accidentally gropes the girl’s chest and the second girl, he accidentally spilled tea on. 

These misunderstandings lead to his classmates having a bad first impression of him, except one classmate who is more understanding of his situation. However, as his luck couldn’t get any worse, the dorm he was assigned to stay at is also where these three girls are located. It made matters worse for the main character. However, as they get to know each other more, the main character’s relationship improves with the three girls. Aside from the premise, there isn’t much of a story but like all visual novels, depending on your choices, you will end up with one of the girls, but you could end up forever alone as well. 

One of my favorite aspects of the game is that it’s a good way to learn the language and learn about the culture such as food, customs, and information about the History of Tokyo and other places in Japan. Additionally, you can also learn the language as there is the choice of Japanese, Hiragana, and Romaji which will appear at the top of the screen. However, you can also swap the position where the Japanese text will appear in the main text box and the English text will appear at the top of the screen. It’s a fun way to get your feet wet with the language, despite a few typos. 

The artwork is average, too. The game uses M2’s 2D Emote Engine and Kaleido ADV Workshop which enables the game to have 2D sprites that have movements and expressions. While it’s subtle, it allows the character artwork to be more dynamic while blending well with the high-quality background art. It’s different from your usual visual novel where it’s mostly still images or a character artwork sprite on top of a background. 

It wasn’t like the usual visual novels that I played, but it was enjoyable. While the story was almost nonexistent, it was still an enjoyable ride. The character interactions were fun, too. For its cheap price, I would pick this up on Switch or Steam. 

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Tokyo School Life reviewed by Christian Chiok



Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
How we score:  The Japanator reviews guide


Christian Chiok
Christian ChiokContributor   gamer profile

Christian has been a gamer since his early childhood. He's a big fan of the King of Fighters and the Metal Slug series. Additionally, Christian enjoys cooking, listening to music, watching anime ... more + disclosures



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