Monday, March 09, 2009
Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble!
I mentioned this game recently, and somebody was asking my opinion, so here it is. I wouldn't call this a full review, but it might give you an idea what the game is about. Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble! is a curious mix between computer board game, adventure game, role-playing game, and a mixture of mini-games. The game plays on a wonderfully drawn "board", with "cards" for characters and other game components. The setting is around 1920 in a little town, and you play the leader of an all-girl highschool student gang.
At the heart of it, DHSGIT! is an adventure game; that is, it has a mystery story you follow from start to end, and if you were to play it again, the story would be exactly the same. But there is no parser or point-and-click interface to "USE frog WITH blender". Instead to advance the story by talking to various people, represented as silver playing pieces on a board. And besides talking to them in multiple-choice dialogue, you often have to persuade them to do something or tell you something, by winning one of half a dozen mini-games against them. Finally there is a role-playing element, because by winning those mini-games you receive stat increases that make you better at playing them. All in all a rather innovative mix, resembling nothing I have played before.
The mix leads to you having to deal with conflicting gaming habits from the various genres from which DHSGIT! is composed. While you might want to beeline for the main story, the character development elements mean that you better do various side encounters too, to train your mini-game stats. You must also balance your instinct of saving often and reloading every time you lose a mini-game with the fact that sometimes it is better to lose, for example if losing a taunting game leads to you learning a new taunt or retort (like in Monkey Island). But in general the ability to save and restart is maybe a bit too powerful, because some games are won with luck, or by guessing a phrase that always remains the same, and multiple attempts will guarantee you a win, at the cost of slow progress due to multiple reloads.
Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble! is not a children's game. The story is dark, and contains some sexual innuendo. The setting is quite interesting and unusual. While of course the replay value is low, the game is nevertheless good value for money, as it takes a good number of hours to complete. You can try the demo for free, and get the full game for $10. I even got it as a special promotion from Steam for $8.99. So if you are looking for something a bit different, I can only recommend you have a look at this.