Come on in and “take a sit”.
Student Transfer is an expansive collaboratively made visual novel involving TG, TSF. body swapping, mind control, transformation, possession, and more that has been steadily growing since its initial release back in 2015. Over its years of development, the title has grown from an innocuous curiosity into an impressively expansive title even by the standards of full-length visual novels, but that is far from where Student Transfer ends.
In addition to the base game, Student Transfer has developed an active community of fans and writers who have been expanding upon the world, concepts, and characters of Student Transfer by creating their own Scenarios. I’ve previously covered some of these Scenarios in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5, but it’s finally time for Part 6! I was planning on waiting until Student Transfer Version 5 dropped before doing another one of these, but it’s been six full months since Part 5, and a bunch of Scenarios have been coming out as of late, so I figured I may as well keep this train rolling.
Student Transfer Scenario Reviews – Part 6
Platforms: PC(Reviewed), Mac, Linux, Android
Before jumping into the reviews proper, I should probably clarify a number of things:
- While I am calling this post a review, that is mostly for the sake of convenience and uniformity. This is not meant to be a formal assessment of these Scenarios, and I in no way mean to discredit or discourage the amount of time and effort these people put into their work.
- All of these Scenarios come from the tfgames.site forums, which require an account to access. For those who do not want to go through the hassle, I have provided direct download links from the Scenario writer. These links may not be up to date and do not reflect any updates made to these Scenario after this post’s publication.
- All Scenarios featured in this post were played using Version 4.6 of Student Transfer. Please keep this in mind, as Scenario compatibility is kind of all over the place.
- All of these Scenarios are very much non-canon and have no relevance to the main game. Yes, Student Transfer is an open collaborative effort, but these projects are developed beyond the control of the existing dev team.
- I am a crazy person, so I went and made flowcharts for every Scenario I covered in this post, except the ones with literally no choices.
- I would like to thank nexoq for their computer-generated Student Transfer flowchart program, Graphify, which aided me significantly in the creation of my flowcharts.
I am going to jump right into the Scenarios themselves and assume you are familiar with Student Transfer, its cast, and its lore. If not, here’s my latest review of Student Transfer, here’s my dedicated Student Transfer page, and you can download various builds of the game via the download page of the official Student Transfer website.
Never Again by C.R.E.A.M. – Download – Flowchart
After unceremoniously leaving the Student Transfer community back in February, C.R.E.A.M. returned this past July with yet another update to his ambitious and startlingly long Scenario, Never, offering slight reworkings on existing routes and several new ones.
As I pointed out in my original review of this Scenario during Part 3, C.R.E.A.M. does not have a particularly firm grasp of the English language, and while he has addressed many of the more egregious errors with this latest release, the script is littered with no shortage of grammatical missteps. Including, but not limited to, incorrectly used or needlessly obscure language, improper conjugation, and sentences that simply don’t flow properly. Yet despite this, the script is rarely ever hard to decipher or make sense of— I understood what C.R.E.A.M. was trying to say 99% of the time— and between the clunky lines and litany of f-bombs, there are plenty of lines that hit hard and either due to sheer accident or a bout of ingenuity.
This alone makes the Scenario a hard sell to some people, but once players/readers learn to adjust to the writer’s… unique approach to the English language, they will be greeted with one of the most distinct and ambitious Scenarios this community has to offer. One that passes the protagonist torch to the enigmatic ruffian Tori Vega as she either learns of her magical heritage after happening upon a spellbook, or becomes interwoven into a plot involving a familiar remote-shaped device from the beyond. And while that premise alone is similar to many other writers’ take on Student Transfer, the execution of the ensuing routes is so scattered and varied that I’m compelled to cover each one of them in detail.
Also, for the sake of simplicity, I will be referring to these routes by their ending, and moving from top to bottom based on my flowchart.
Venomous Bite is the expanded version of the Rita route I covered in my original review, which sees Tori using her magic against her rival Rita, plans on ruining her life. But after spending a day in Rita’s body and with her voice in the back of her head, Tori comes to realize that the two are not quite as incompatible as they once thought. Thus spurring on a romance that blossoms within a day, and sees Tori nestle into Rita’s friend circle. …But then Rita brings her pet spider, Legs Piper, over to Tori’s house, where Tori accidentally ka-magics the tarantula into a human being with full mastery of the English language. Which is exactly the type of bizarre storyline that I love to see whenever perusing Student Transfer Scenarios, and something that I always like to see creators tackle, due to the large-scale ramifications of granting human-level intelligence to an animal.
It is also a subject that C.R.E.A.M. handles incredibly well, going into detail with Legs’s, or rather Leigh’s, ignorance of the world as both Tori and Rita begin mothering her and eventually bringing her to Tina Koya, because what the hell else are they going to do with her. However, the story of an inhuman entering the man’s world and pointing out the illogical minutiae that most people just accept for the sake of convenience or simplicity is only one level of this story. On the other level, it is about two young women grappling with how to raise a child, which really is the ultimate test for any romantic relationship. It’s a curious blend, there are various tidbits with its conclusion that I would have preferred to end a bit differently, but it all works well, ties together with a neat conclusion, and is so conceptually out there that it gets an A for its effort alone.
Golden Purgatory and Story’s Not Over Until You Decide It both extend off of the Rita route and follow Rita and Tori furthering their relationship in a less experimental and philosophically confusing manner as Tori and Vanessa join with Rita’s group while shunning Sayaka away for being the pompous ass that she is. But as they grow closer and Tori’s magic stops being a secret, the quintet decides to use magic frivolously, and wind up paying the price as the newly formed quintet try to summon a ‘genie’. Which goes about as well as one would expect, resulting in two unique outcomes.
One that takes an interesting spin on Tori’s relationship with Sayaka, as the malice between the two grows to immense heights, identities are crushed, and the story ends on a sorrowful note. Along with another where Tori is made indirectly responsible for the loss and suffering of a friend close to her, which does an excellent job of demonstrating the conviction and determination of Tori, but fails to deliver an elaborate or particularly satisfying climax. Tori spends a lot of time preparing to do a thing, does the thing, and emerges victorious, with little tension surrounding what should be the peak of the story.
However, before the story can get to either of these outcomes, there is a mostly unrelated side-story where Tori switches bodies with Sandra Davis for a day in order to guarantee herself a good grade on her Japanese test. That alone is a novel concept that is executed upon well with good character interactions from both parties and shows that, when divorced from her body and associated persona, Tori can be a personable individual and can express empathy for others, even those she dislikes. But it lacks much connection to what comes before and after, which is to say the lovey-dovey bits between Tori and Rita, and the newly unified friend groups’ foolhardy decision to try summoning a magical being. It honestly feels like it should have been segmented or expanded into its own route.
Much like the Rita route, Together as One, the Yui route, begins with Tori absorbing the overbearing student council president in an effort to torment her. In doing so, the two share meaningful experiences wherein they both open up to one another and relish in the sensations that come with sharing a physical form. It is an interesting dichotomy that sees both characters loosen their comfort zone and try to reach for a middle ground, with Yui being more aggressive and impulsive, and Tori being a bit more reserved and formal, which is further cemented when they opt to swap bodies for a day and find themselves falling into each other’s quirks rather easily. It all leads to the two adopting a very intimate relationship that culminates in a logical extension of the themes explored earlier in the route that… I honestly don’t want to spoil, because of how much I loved it both conceptually and in execution.
The doll route sees Tori get her body snatched by a magical doll who begins prancing about Tina Koya High and causing memory altering and body swapping mayhem in a manner not too dissimilar to Japanese urban legends like Kuchisake-onna or Aka Manto, but with a far more elaborate conversational flowchart. The first half of this route has Tori subjected to the torment unleashed by this doll, helpless to do anything until being given the opportunity to pursue freedom. What ensues is relentless body swapping havoc that is made interesting through creative swap choices, quality character dynamics, and the sense of helplessness felt by Tori, unable to do literally anything to help her peers as their identities are reassigned.
It was easily among one of my favorite routes in the original release, but in this most recent redux, C.R.E.A.M. made the decision to cut the Abby Luten variant and the You Ain’t Pure ending, which was home to about half of the route’s original content. Instead, the Don’t Let Me Go ending, the route where Tori fails to resist the magic of the doll was expanded with an appreciated epilogue that better established the new normal for those affected by the Doll, and the ending itself was renamed to “Just Like Another Season”. Meanwhile, a new branch was added that sees Tori returning to her original body, only to be met with an unwanted mental influence in the form of Jack Mallory, who begins vying for control over her form to satiate his sick desires.
This new route, whose ending is perplexingly named “Don’t Let Me Go” has a lot going for it. It de-powers Tori from within the comfort of her own body. Does an excellent job of demonstrating how much of a sad little degenerate this version of Jack Mallory is. And has a lot of creative avenues to explore, as this is the only route in any Scenario that I can think of where Jack gets access to magic. But just as it is getting started, right as the ideas begin to runneth over from my cup of anticipation… the route just ends. No placeholder or anything, it just sets up an interesting premise, plows through the fun bits, introduces an idea that I liked even more than the initial set up… and then players are greeted with a game over.
Take Me On A Journey is an honest-to-goodness Isekai story that sees Tori whisked away to a medieval fantasy world by a princess who recruits her as a bodyguard to help her on a pilgrimage to save a dying world. Being the moral sort despite a jagged exterior, Tori agrees to help princess Gaia and, along with her other bodyguard, Shayna, the trio set forth on a journey across the untamed wilds of this world in search for the cause of the devastation blighting the planet. As the group travel, they gradually begin shedding their standoffish shells, with Tori learning more and more about Shayna, taking on her responsibility as a bodyguard more as she learns who exactly she is protecting, and developing her magical powers to better defeat the corrupted beasts that prowl through the dense foliage of this other world. It is a route that succeeds with its character writing and establishment and honestly has enough going for it that it could be repackaged away from Student Transfer as something completely different.
However, in trying to take this storyline further, C.R.E.A.M.added his signature touch of lesbianic romance to the story, pairing Tori and Shayna by the end of the story, and while the pieces and elements for their relationship to work are there. And while I greatly enjoyed their time spent as lovers, complementing each other well despite both being as tough and stubborn as a chunk of iron, the actual romance blossoming the two lacks a certain context. The two jump from battle-hardened companions to lovers with nary a mention of romantic inclination from Tori, or a monologue discussing her feelings for her before admitting that she loves Shayna. Still, it is definitely a novel route, and I always admire and appreciate creators who do something completely different with Student Transfer, treating it more like a visual novel platform with established assets and tools rather than a way to further expand what is already an expanded universe.
Night & Day follows along the “Remoted” branch of Never, which sees the introduction of Sonya, a young woman as tough as Tori, and about half as stubborn, who just so happens to begin her tenure at Tina Koya with an alien remote in her pocket. Which she naturally loses within the first hours, thereby allowing an unknown party to snag it and cause two body swaps, switching around Tori and Sonya. This makes for a fine mess in and of itself, but things are taken to another level after Kiyoshi and Sayaka are targeted for a second swap. Leaving Kiyoshi elated as he takes on his new identity with glee, while Sayaka simply crumbles and collapses as everything she had and prided herself on is stripped away from her and she is relegated to the bottom of the social ladder.
It shows how needy, petty, and overall weak Sayaka is as she is forced to face one of her greatest nightmares, and forces Tori to be both nurturing and supportive to the snobbish brat, opening herself up to her while Sayaka does the same, with the two finding common ground through this bizarre experience. All of this, predictably, causes the relationship between the two to develop over a few days and concludes the story on a loving note. It’s well done, has a lot of wonderful situational humor, finds a reasonable way for these diametrically opposed characters to come together, and manages to keep their characterization on point from start to finish… except for the part where it doesn’t.
After establishing the relationship between the two, undoing all swaps, and returning things to normal, this route goes on an unprecedented tirade involving numerous body swaps as part of Sayaka’s attempt to smooth over her relationship with Katrina. …Even though Sayaka could just use her words, talk to Katrina, and try to solve the problem like a normal human being. It’s a dumb sidestep in what is otherwise a particularly good story, and while I get what C.R.E.A.M. was trying to do with this extension, and that he wanted to write some body swap shenanigans, it just does not work. The romance is established, the conflict is over, and if your secondary conflict could be removed from a story without needing to change what comes before and after it, as is the case here, it probably shouldn’t be there in the first place. But I get it, cutting out things that you spent hours on sucks ass.
While Night & Day established how despite her foul behavior Sayaka has the capacity to be a decent and affectionate person if, given the right situation, Most Valuable Bitch shines… pretty much the worst possible light onto her. Through a mixture of sheer happenstance and chaos theory, Sayaka gets her manicured mitts on the remote, and with no hesitation chooses to use it on Tori, Vanessa, and Sonya. However, through her own pettiness and avarice, she winds up doing a multi-person mind alteration and bodily transformation, turning the trio into recolored versions of her with personalities closer to Sayaka’s than whatever they originally were. Seeing these characters have their identities compromised like this and Sayaka deal with her own personal doppelgangers makes for a unique character study, enhanced by the fact that no transformed party seems to be fully aware or bothered by the severity of their change, which creates an uncanny juxtaposition to how these characters behave in other routes.
However, after undoing the physical part of this transformation and removing Sonya from the storyline, the story then focuses on Tori and Vanessa acting as like-minded lackeys for Sayaka as she tries to kick Yui off her pedestal via memory transfer and body swaps. In theory, this route further Sayaka’s pettiness and demonstrates how submissive and accepting Tori and Vanessa appear to be next to her, while furthering a relationship between Tori and Ms. Winters and Vanessa and Abby. In execution, it makes for a rather dull filler section between the wild concept that kicked off the route and the ending, which sees a level of pettiness and depravity that would be considered extreme and out of character, if not for the fact that the queen bee of Tina Koya truly is that much of a bitch.
Serene Duality begins by introducing a class swap concept that poises to scramble a sampling of ST characters about in different bodies after principal Abby Lutten uncovers the remote, which apparently has enough juice for a dozen or more body swaps. However, rather than elaborate or explain this concept in detail, the story clumsily veers from this fully valid premise and into something mostly unrelated. With the remote in hand, Abby initiates a body swap with Tori, mind-controlling her to do her job properly, and living out a new life in Tori’s body while Tori is stuck with Abby’s chronic migraines, back problems, and frustrating job.
It’s a premise likely inspired by the Abby route introduced in Version 2.0 of the base game, which is more of a stub than a true route, and followed through on C.R.E.A.M. to its logical conclusion. Amounting to a story that spans over the series of several weeks, if not months, as Tori is tormented by her body thief, demoralized by the pain she is immersed in, and comes to look for and appreciate the finer elements of Abby’s body and life. One of which is her non-canon daughter, Tara, who Tori begins forming a happy relationship with. Because of this relationship, the route never becomes too dire, dour, or depressing, allowing a sense of levity to persist throughout as Tori grows used to the ebb and flow of her new life and her body thief eventually makes one fatal misstep, allowing Tori to snag the remote back and make things better than ever before.
Of the routes introduced in this latest version of Never, this is easily my favorite. Due to the complex relationship that develops between Tori and Tara, the determination Tori expresses throughout the entirety of this storyline, and the sheer malice of Abigail Lutten as she disrespects her daughter and Tori. …But I do have a trinity of criticisms.
One, it is established in this route that the remote can be used to rid people of mental-based issues, including migraines, but Abby never thinks to use it this way, despite knowing it could ease the suffering of Tori and her original body. This could be done to further establish the malice of Abby, but if she ever intended on returning to her body, why wouldn’t she ease its suffering and delay its decay?
Two, Tori decides to end this route by leading a double life… but she never explains why she feels the need to exist as Tori, as, in the world of Never, Tori is an orphan with one friend and zero future academic prospects. Yet she still shows up for some classes as Tori… which is kinda dumb, when she has a life she enjoys as much, if not more, and could still be in Tori-mode outside of school.
Three, the route does not have a true epilogue or truly conclude everything it lays on the table, and instead just stops partway through its resolution stage, and not with some sort of greater point either.
However, these gripes do not cause me to dislike the route by any stretch of the imagination, and the same can be said about the Scenario as a whole.
For all its faults and for all the criticism I levied towards it, I still had a marvelous time going through Never Again. Despite his subpar English skills, C.R.E.A.M. has a unique voice as a writer and storyteller that shines throughout the various routes and clearly knows how to use the subject matter of Student Transfer as a medium for effective coming of age stories, romances, and drama in general. Yet his skills are not limited to merely storytelling, as he is also quite proficient in the audiovisual front.
Rather than using the default OST, C.R.E.A.M. provides a custom soundtrack primarily made up of lo-fi hip-hop tracks, which go to give Never a different feel than most other Student Transfer Scenarios, one that urges players to lay back, chill to the beats, and enjoy the story for what it is, without stressing about the little things that are wrong or could be better. Not that it stopped me from detailing them in this review because, well, what good is a review that doesn’t praise the highs and bemoan the lows?
As for the visuals, C.R.E.A.M. has a knack for custom character sprites, and it was riveting to see what new outfits, characters, designs, or CGs would come up in the next scene. And no, I don’t mean CGs from the games the character sprites are ripped from. C.R.E.A.M. actually made custom chibi CGs for 4 scenes throughout Never Again, and they are downright adorable! Never would I have imagined that a dedicated fan would have the gumption and talent to make something like this as part of their Student Transfer Scenario, but C.R.E.A.M. did it! The mad lad actually did it!
In conclusion… Lord, did I seriously write 3,000 words on this? Um, in conclusion, Never was and continues to be, one of the most impressively robust ST Scenarios out there, and while it has countless minor faults, it is still a Scenario that I admire for its ambition, depth, and overall creativity, offering an experience not quite like anything else I have seen despite covering about 50 Scenarios at this point. And while I do wish this current version had all the routes and content previously seen, especially the ‘Perfect Life’ route, I’m still just happy to see that C.R.E.A.M.’s absence was short-lived, and hope he continues making Scenarios for the community for years to come.
A Place in the World by Reman91 – Download – Flowchart
Coming in as a recommendation from Lighy, because I will review any Scenario you recommend me, A Place in the World follows part-time-college-student Dominic as he happens across an enigmatic doohickey that opens up a world of possibilities for him to change his body, mind, and life in ways he can scantily imagine. Yet he winds up stumbling into dire situations due to his own foolhardiness, the limitations of the godly device in his possession, and the actions of those he invites into his world. It is none too different from myriad other Scenarios I have covered across these reviews, and in that time I have come to learn that execution is everything.
Unfortunately, Reman91’s execution is all too familiar to me as well, featuring several brief routes with novel concepts that suffer from a lack of depth and extrapolation, inconsistent lore and in-universe mechanics, an often sophomoric approach to the subject matter, and a particularly limited grasp of the English language. All of which is a shame because it is a story with plenty of good ideas and concepts that kept me intrigued and hooked as I played.
From the idea of a body-swap-based elimination game. The fact that devices in this universe are transformed witches whose bodies were captured in a secret war from decades past. A route that casts Dominic as an old man who is unwillingly given a new lease on life as his body dies. A route where an individual is elongating her life by grooming and stealing the bodies of young women entering the entertainment industry. Or the sister swap route which, despite being clunky and underdeveloped, had me thinking “I could, and should, do something like this, but better” as I read through its various permutations.
It strikes me as a story from an individual whose narrative ambitions far surpass their abilities as a writer, something you often see from inexperienced or younger writers (like me circa 2012-2015). And while I do admire those who try even if they lack the skills or experience, and respect what Reman91 was trying to do here, that is not enough for me to like, let alone share a recommendation for, this Scenario.
Class Swap by Sato – Download – No Flowchart
Something that I always love to see (but rarely ever attempt) in any story about body swapping is a mass swap scenario, where many characters have their bodies switched and rearranged, and must manage both their own lives in the advent of this sudden transformation. It’s part of the reason why I loved the Mass Possession route in Press-Switch v0.5c, and it immediately drew me into this Scenario, wherein Kyoko makes a body swapping machine and chooses to bring it to class as part of a science project.
…Which goes about as poorly as one would expect, especially after one inglorious self-styled diehard girl (I’m sorry if you get that reference) starts bashing it like a cavewoman. Bodies are swapped, the apparatus is deader than a toilet toaster, and a class of 16 is left to slum it in different bodies until the parts can be shipped and Kyoko can assemble a replacement But just as a sense of normalcy sets in and ruminations start being tossed about, things go awry once more. Secondary swaps happen, more people get lumped into the pandemonium, and various characters are jonesing for the best body they can get their grubby immoral sub-human flesh-mittens on.
It’s a fun story where the expansive cast of characters behave within their personality guidelines, things are constantly happening, the story makes enough time to give every character a few lines, and the premise is well realized. It is pretty much a gold star example of the sort of thing I hope to see in Student Transfer Scenarios. But more than anything, my biggest takeaway from Class Swap is that, more than any other Scenario I’ve covered, feels like a fan game of Student Transfer, and in the best possible way. It’s coarse and uneven in spots, it has a palpable sense of effort and dedication put into it, and its execution is clearly coming from a place of love for the source material.
The writing’s not the best and could definitely stand to another proofreading or editing session, but it is charismatic, generally amusing, and juggles the cast well. The animation, while rough in spots, aims to push the system in ways I have not strictly seen before and is generally more dynamic than one typically sees from other Scenarios. Background characters are acknowledged as background characters. The drama is kept light and fluffy throughout. And there is an assortment of references to the fan community that I was able to stop, such as potato John, Natsumi’s attempt to defeat gravy, and super scientist Kyoko. I don’t really get where these fandom memes came from, since I temporally and mentally cannot keep up with the Discord discourse, but I appreciated their silliness.
Oh, and there are also characters from other Scenarios lifted and put in here. Sonya and Tara, two characters from Never, both play roles in this story, and Tara even keeps her special personality trait from the Serene Duality route. While Patty from Witches and Warlocks is thrown in near the end of the story for… reasons I cannot hope to guess and am too introverted to ask. This means we have gotten so deep in the fanfiction rabbit hole that we are seeing fanfiction of fanfiction. I love it!
Into the Janeverse by Clavietika – Download – Flowchart
Note: Less than 36 hours before this post’s publication, Clavietika released an update for this Scenario, but due to time constraints, I was unable to play the latest build of the Scenario and update this review to reflect the latest release. This review is based on the build of Into the Janeverse released on 9/24/2020.
…You know, when I wrote the review above, I didn’t think that I would stumble upon any actual fanfiction of fanfiction, but that’s precisely what Into the Janeverse is. A spin-off of the Yui Spellbook Continuation Scenario by Applemelon (which is a fantastic Scenario that I would highly recommend) that deviates and continues the Jane route, with a few creative liberties. Most notably in regards to the personality of John’s female soul-morphed persona, Jane, who was originally a sassy and playful sort, but is now represented as more of a shy and demure sort.
Beyond that, the core plot beats remain the same, and entire conversations are even lifted wholesale in many cases. John impulsively transforms himself into Jane, has no way of returning to normal, and winds up attending school with Yui while doing a crummy job of hiding their identity before their friends and mother. And as if things were not already enough of a mess, Jane and Yui still go about their plans to create a clone of Yui, only to realize that the clone is a complete copy of Yui with a fully formed sense of identity. An actual copy of Yui, as opposed to a puppet of magical origin wrapped in a familiar visage.
After fashioning together a colossal life-changing mess in… maybe 16 hours, the rest of the Scenario mostly deals with the fallout of Jane and Yui’s actions. Jane needs to deal with the ramifications of her actions by explaining the situation to her friends and family, and adopting a new life for herself as her very sense of identity sways and shifts as the distance between herself and John grows. The Yui clone, who later adopts the name Yuuni, has to deal with the usual existential crisis that comes with being a clone in a piece of fiction, along with finding a place for herself in a world where people cannot just suddenly spring into existence. And of course, everybody around Jane and Yuuni needs to wrap their heads around the new absurd reality presented before them.
The main route is very fixated on Jane and accepting her identity as a young woman as she begins furthering and developing her relationship with Kiyoshi from that of best friends to significant others. It is a pairing that has only ever really been touched on in the Murder route of Student Transfer Version 1, and Clavietika’s rendition feels far more in tune with who these characters became over time. It affords Kiyoshi a degree of depth and humanity he often lacks, shows a nice balance of friction, sees character development on both sides of the relationship, and manages to be an ultimately sweet and wholesome love story.
My only major criticism with this route is how the whole Yuuni subplot is pushed to the side without much elaboration, presumably because Clavietika wanted to devote her story to its own route, dubbed “Into the Yuuniverse”. Which sees Yuuni dealing with the fact that she cannot lead the life she once did, ultimately adopting a new identity and form, and dealing with the expected maelstrom of doubts and misgivings she has about her new life, identity, and how fickle everything is. All because she is a magically manifested being that can, in theory, be non-existed through the utterance of a dozen syllables.
It makes for good drama, but what causes this route to shine and glimmer is its focus on relationships. Yuuni views Jane as her mother and Jane does the same, forcing both of them into unfamiliar life roles with no idea what their relationship should be. Yui views Yuuni as a mistake, somebody who is capable of ruining her life and stealing her childhood friend, and potential romantic partner, away from her. And everybody else is left alienated by this matter, due to how impossible it all seems, and are shakily adjusting to this new normal. Which is something I always like to see from stories that deal with transformations of some sort. A realistic portrayal of the fantastical entering the mundane reality everybody reading these stories is familiar with.
So, it has a novel premise, quality character dynamics, a good grasp of the subject material, and relatively few logical leaps. Sounds like a grade-A Scenario in my book, and it almost is, but the writing leaves something to be desired, as the scenario is littered with innocuous typos. Not at the volume or level as some other Scenarios I’ve covered or even to the extent that I could immediately tell that this was an ESL Scenario. Which it probably is, as Clavietika is from Columbia. Instead, it reads more like a first or second draft that the author was going to proofread, edit, and run a spellcheck through, but just didn’t get around to it.
The Shape of Things by Blortle – Download – Flowchart
The Shape of Things passes the protagonist mantle to Claus, the underutilized student council vice president of Tina Koya, as he develops the ability to transform into other people through the exertion of his will thanks to a potion from the equally underutilized witch hunter Gabriel. But rather than mulling over this ability for too long, his newfound power is quickly discovered by members of the newspaper club, who begin suggesting ways that Claus may use his powers for justice. All of which is a touch more creative than the blank slates many Scenarios like to begin with and quickly gives the story some immediate direction.
However, only one route exists in the current version of the Scenario, where Claus investigates allegations against Jack Mallory, only to uncover that Jack also gained the ability to transform, but learns the major drawback of this immense power, that unless one can maintain clarity of mind and focus, they cannot control their body. It’s something that Claus, straight-edge that he is, has in ample amounts. Yet a soft-canon statutory rapist and murder like Jack Mallory, naturally lacks, being unable to maintain his usual form, and drifting into the various women whom he has long lusted after. The only forms he can maintain involve him giving control of his body to either his inner superego or id, which Jack demonstrates to Claus by becoming Jacqueline, a separate identity from within Malloy’s consciousness that identifies herself as his “little sister” and is a stark contrast from her ego.
If that basic description isn’t enough of an indication, this is definitely one of the more out-there Scenarios I’ve come across, dealing with a lot of philosophical queries, identity issues, and moral dilemmas. Such as the divide that exists between the extremes that constitute a person. The scope of one’s mind if it can constitute more than one actualized identity. Whether or not these fragmented selves deserve the opportunity to live their lives of their own, and to what extent they should exist if it means compromising the life of another, even if it is an unsavory individual such as Jack Mallory. And should the wellbeing of an actualized superego be compromised due to how the ego succumbed to the whims of their id.
Admittedly, most of this gestates in the background as an undercurrent or subtext, while the main story involves Claus introduces Jacqueline to the newspaper club, but as the following day goes on, and after Claus does a particularly delightful job of impersonating Katrina, Claus learns of Jack’s past relationship with Holly. Which leads to an issue that rack’s Calus’s otherwise steadfast mental state as he and Katrina ruminate over how they should handle Jacqueline and Jack going forward… before the story veers into a dead end, to be iterated upon in future updates.
There is so much intrigue and potential throughout this story that I must admit to being at least a little upset that Brotle did not wait to release this Scenario onto the world, but what they created is certainly great on its own. The writing is both funny and intriguing, the character dynamics and writing are solid, sans a few creative liberties, and it is ultimately led by a fascinating premise that is executed well. I just hope that, unlike their prior scenarios The Ghost of Jack Mallory (which I reviewed in Part 1) or Phantom Detective Kat, Brotle can find the time and conviction needed to finish this Scenario, as what they’ve done here definitely deserves at least one conclusion.
With that, this sixth installment of Scenario Reviews comes to an end. Originally, I was going to tackle a few other Scenarios, but I’ve been knee-deep in cryptocurrency tax land for the past few weeks, and just put out a 6-part 36,000 word article about a mobile game, so time hasn’t been on my side. However, I do plan on putting out another Scenarios Review next quarter, and maintaining a quarterly schedule going forward so long as I have Scenarios to cover.
I have plenty of other Scenarios on my radar at the moment, including:
A Matter of the Heart (And the Head) by Narg
A Sayaka Scorned by Soffia
Cornswap by IK12345
Empyrée by C.R.E.A.M.
Gyara Ara~ by Luckysquid
Phantom Thieves vs Student Council Final Remix by Adamsteiner & Lazybones
Principiis Magicae by Adamdead
Scrambled by ThanosSnap
Truth or Syn by the7saint7
But feel free to recommend Scenarios for me to check out in the comments below. Because I will review any Student Transfer Scenario my commenters want me to cover… so long as the creator is happy with what they made, and is okay with me doing a review of it. Meaning that no, I will not review Harem, but I will say it is street trash and makes the interactive stories of Writing.com look like a bastion of fine literature by comparison.
Also, to all the Scenario writers out there, thank you for your continued contributions to the Student Transfer community, and even if I rip your story to bits with my reviews, I respect and admire your efforts and dedication. You are cool, I like you, and I am coming from these reviews as somebody with a couple of novels, novellas, and plenty of short stories under her belt.
This Post Has 11 Comments
Hello, and a big thank you for reviewing my scenario! If have anything else to add I will be happy to hear it since this is my first time writing something this big (or writing at all, for that matter). Yes, it is true that I’m ESL, I have gotten the help from several people to edit the scenario and make it more readable although it is true that it can get better, it’s just hard for me to notice what should I change due to the hilarious inconsistency of the English Language.
I made an update yes but everything that you say still applies to the latest version, I just changed the introduction, patched some plot holes with a few lines, played with new animations, but both routes are essentially the same.
I remembering seeing these reviewers a few months ago when I discovered the game so it is pretty nice to see my own scenario there! If anything hit me up!
It’s actually surprising to hear that this is your first time writing a story like this, as your understanding of the genre, character writing, and general storytelling gave me the impression that you’ve done something like this before, but in a lesser capacity.
I encounter a lot of ESL writers when doing these Scenario Reviews, and while they run the gamut, I consider you to be one of the better ones. Like I said in the review proper, your scenario does not necessarily read like something from a non-native speaker, but rather a native speaker who did a crummy job editing their work. And while that might be read as an insult against your writing, I actually consider passing as native in a written language to be a significant accomplishment.
Based on the description of version 2.0 on the TFGames.Site forums, I assumed the update was a touch more substantial than what you described, but it’s nice to know that my review was not immediately irrelevant upon release. Because that has happened in the past with ST Scenarios.
Thank you for writing such a fun and novel Scenario. I look forward to seeing how you grow it going forward, and whatever ideas or stories you plan on pursuing next.
Oh, trust me, I have big plans for the future! If I have the opportunity I want to make more content! Thanks a lot!
There is something wrong with the Never Again flow chart
The link to the flowchart has been repaired. Thank you for notifying me of this error.
Hi there, just would like to say I really enjoy your scenario recommendation. I found this blog when i was searching the press-switch flowchart.
It seems you have the Never B the Same and Never Again ver. download link but are you be able to share the ST v3.1 version of Never (the first version)?
I do not have the first version of Never. The Scenario went through numerous changes over the years, and I only kept certain versions. C.R.E.A.M. apparently lost files as well, so the true first Version of Never may very well be lost.
I know it’s a late reply but here you go: https://mega.nz/file/FIgg3TDJ#REcz6lEvqsgN-thngaHsV5bE6pYi8y1tfzoVJ1CjfDU
Oh dang! I’m surprised that anybody had this version backed up. Thank you for preserving Student Transfer history. ^^
I have to say that I’m glad for the nice words for The Shape of Things. Truth be told as I mentioned in the thread I was unhappy with The Ghost of Jack Mallory myself for a lot of the same reasons you mentioned in your review whereas TSoT I feel has better focus. I definitely have a lot more enjoyment writing it (programming is a different story…) than I did with Mallory. Writing scenes where Claus is getting teased by the newspaper girls is fun and Jacqueline, I hope, endears herself to the person playing as much as she does to the person writing.
I definitely do plan on working on it and finishing at least the path started when I have the time though also elements of the plot keep changing. Not the big points but small points like wanting to find an actual use for Michelle and Maria.
TSoT definitely benefits from its more deliberate focus. I greatly enjoyed your take on both existing characters and I found Jacqueline to be an especially endearing character. I hope you’re able to find the time sooner than later, as I think you’re onto something special here and I would love to see your ideas brought to a conclusion.