Student Transfer Version VII: Future’s Climax
Student Transfer Version 7.0 Review
Platforms: PC(Reviewed), Mac, Linux, Android
Developer/Publisher: The Student Transfer Development Team
Student Transfer is a community developed visual novel that centers around TSF/TG/gender bending, body swapping, mind control, transformation, possession, and more. Since the game started development in 2015, the title has grown dramatically, with Version 7 featuring a staggering 1.2 million words of content.
The game follows John Davis, a fairly unremarkable high school student whose ordinary life becomes extraordinary one fateful night. When he either receives an incredibly powerful alien remote or comes into possession of a magical spellbook written by his ancestors.
From this initial starting point, the game opens up into a sprawling web of routes and choices. One featuring an expansive cast of colorful characters and a structure more comparable to a choose-your-own-adventure interactive story than a typical visual novel. This is probably best represented by how messy navigation in the game can be, as I would strongly encourage all players to use a flowchart to play the game. Either the official interactive flowchart provided by the dev team, or the condensed alien and magic flowcharts I created myself.
Because the game is so big and expansive, it is not feasible for me to talk about everything in a single review, but the core strengths of Student Transfer can be seen throughout most routes. By being a collaborative title, Student Transfer invites writers to bring their own unique voices and spins on the world, characters, and subject matter of Student Transfer. Thereby giving the title more breadth, diversity, and content overall than it would have if there was only a single creative lead.
From jovial lighthearted romps to dismal situations where one’s life and identity shatter before their very eyes, the variety of the content allows the game to remain interesting even after so many iterations and expansions. And with plenty of unexplored avenues and underutilized characters, it doesn’t seem like that will change anytime soon.
By being a team, the developers are able to check over and edit each other’s work to keep the universe and game overall consistent, while sharing their skills and technical knowledge. This is especially impressive given how more poorly managed collaborative writing-based efforts like this are typically a free-for-all of quality, and just how consistent the game is despite having so many writers. Admittedly, you can spot a stylistic shift when a route brings in another writer, but the general quality of this game’s writing is high enough that this change is never jarring or detracting.
Furthermore, by being a title with such a focused target audience, a niche group of enthusiasts, Student Transfer has access to writers who truly understand how to use its assorted subject matter to tell a good story. This is something of a rarity, as much of TSF writing is focused on providing erotic thrills, when the subject matter has plenty of room and potential for greater narrative exploration. Which is precisely what the developers do here. Take the subject matter seriously and use it as a tool to craft quality character-driven narratives that only delve into the sexual end of things when it adds to the story… Well, at least for the most part.
The characters themselves are another highlight. They are simple enough to be easily understood and written by various members of the dev team, yet all housing ample room for depth and exploration. Yes, they can be a bit tropey, and oodles of them are underdeveloped, but I would consider this to be a strength as well. For it provides so many opportunities for growth and expansion that, even 7 years later, many of them still haven’t been explored.
These open opportunities and approachable cast has also led Student Transfer to grow beyond a robust visual novel and into a platform for TSF storytelling through its fan-created scenarios. Stories disconnected from the base game that uses the same engine, assets, and often universe.
I actually began reviewing these scenarios back in 2019, and after going through almost 70 of them, I can safely say that they run the gamut in regards to quality. However, there are definitely more than a few gems to be found in these fan works, with some being on-par with the routes featured in the base game. They do a lot to extend the life of Student Transfer, keep the project relevant even during the long lulls between full version updates, and are a great way for fans to become developers thanks to the shared toolsets. You can find a comprehensive list of all scenarios on the official Student Transfer website.
Now, I’ve praised the writing behind this project, but writing is merely one area where Student Transfer triumphs, as it is also one of the most impressive-looking visual novels I have ever played. The title is assembled using assets borrowed from other visual novels, primarily those from the developer Candysoft. While this leads to some stylistic discrepancies, the dev team has really made these assets their own over the past few years. Characters are given custom outfits, expressions, and poses. CGs are retrofitted to work with the stories developers are trying to tell. And the whole communal aspects around these characters and game make it easy to forget that none of them are wholly original creations.
However, the reason why I praise the presentation of Student Transfer has less to do with the assets themselves, and more what the developers do with them. Characters giddily flicker between emotions and move across the screen like a stage. They tilt, tumble, and shake about when the scene calls for it. And there is even a camera system of sorts, allowing scenes to be cast into the background and make the world feel like a three-dimensional place.
It all makes the presentations of most other visual novels seem needlessly stilted in comparison, and has led to some of the most impressive presentational feats I have seen in the genre. Unfortunately, the game is somewhat held back by its 720p resolution. This is because the source assets— character sprites, CGs, and backgrounds, were all from games made with that resolution in mind. This means it would be a massive ordeal to bump the game up to a higher resolution, but fortunately the game holds up fairly well when blown up to more modern resolutions.
That covers my slightly updated thoughts on the game in general, but what makes each new release special is the scattering of new routes and extensions. After a 16 month development cycle, Version 7 introduces an additional 220,000 words of content, bringing the Leona Swap route to a partial end, building upon two others, and introducing five brand new routes. That’s more than a fair bit of new stuff to cover, so let’s cut the boilerplate and check out the new stuff!
Starting with the landmark ‘completed’ route of this update, Leona Swap follows John after he hands over the alien remote to his mother, Sandra. With this all powerful doohickey betwixt her fingertips, she decides that it would be a brilliant idea to swap her son and her lifelong friend, neighbor, and co-worker, Leona Winters. The two are naturally frazzled by this but, in an attempt to get back at Sandra, John and Leona pretend that they’re actually psyched about this swap.
While this might have worked on someone else, Sandra is the archduchess of teasing, so she instead extends the swap over the span of several days. Gradually copying memories so John and Leona can live each other’s lives, and issuing them mental commands to help them better acclimate to their roles. Despite this having the potential to lead into a very dark direction, things remain fairly controlled. The two’s identities remain firm. There is little sense of dread or discomfort felt by either party as they assume each other’s role. And even though the remote is in the clutches of the chaotically aligned Sandra, she’s not malicious enough to hurt anyone with her commands.
This gives the route a rather mellow feeling, as there is not much in the way of conflict or problems to be solved, but things are consistently happening. Every day brings with it more insights into Leona’s life and mental transformations to help the two ‘enjoy’ this swap. Things proceed at a brisk pace, with every day offering some highlights and minor decisions to give the player a bit more agency. And the V7 additions build upon this foundation, albeit in a certain way.
Rather than fully finishing this route, this update only builds upon the branch where John chose to pursue his more perverted tendencies, causing his relationship with Leona to veer into a more sexual direction. After the two spend more ‘private time’ together and get to know each other in a ‘different way,’ the route then tallies up the player’s points and directs them to one of three endings.
A no frills bad ending where the player is punished for their insufficiently stealthy perversions. A middle ending that skims over a sizable chunk of the conclusion, but offers a fun epilogue that sees things return to a semi-normal state. And lastly, a high ending that… brought this route up to a higher level.
I won’t spoil the details, but I will say that it is a satisfying end to the game of endurance the two played with Sandra. In addition to a doubling down on a dynamic that lead writer Luckysquid is so fond of. The classic
older woman MILF X teen boy body swap, with an ample helping of gradual identity swap. A dynamic that sees teenage boys learn to love and embrace the bodies and lives of older woman, possessing the sexual features they crave along with a maturity they feel is beyond their grasp. Where the women become drunk on the sexual and virile thrill of being a heterosexual teenage boy with a libido that just won’t quit. A dynamic that explores the freedoms of adults versus the freedoms of teenagers. That illustrates sexual allure that comes with both youth and maturity.
It’s a staple of the TSF genre for a reason, one that I am becoming increasingly fond of (for better or for worse) and one that Luckysquid understands with a level of intimacy. …That all being said, I still feel as if this route is missing a bit of an extra oomph.
I think much of that has to do with the conceptual and textural comparisons to the MemSwap route. Both routes see John being swapped with a woman in her forties, see their memories gradually transferred, and see the duration of the swap billow and grow. But instead of having the humor of swapping back and forth, mixed in with Sandra’s spicy personality, it has a stronger sexual focus and a… less engaging female lead.
Also, that GameGo conversation is easily my least favorite scene in the entire game. The idea of a game console with 64GB storage that is also VR compatible is the kind of riddle that causes my mind to evaporate as I pontificate the ways in which that makes no sense.
Introduced back in V5, the Magic Allie route sees John practice his magic ‘in private’ only to garner the attention of Allison. A female student who received little development beyond this route. Rather than choosing to wipe her memories, John instead takes up her offer to become his assistant and the two proceed to test out a spell. Rushed experimentation leads to messes, and an accidental body swap leaves the two stranded, furnishing John through a day in the life of Allison.
I previously called this part of the route ‘standard’ and… I still stand by that. This day is largely designed as an introduction to Allison, and it is nothing too unusual compared to other routes in the game. Interpersonal drama between the two leads is kept at a minimum for much of the route. John learns the submissive kind of role Allison plays within the popular clique. And Allison’s body proves to be both a source of both frustration and titillation as he goes through the day.
It is ‘standard,’ but there is enough happening in each period for the events to remain engaging. The character dynamics between the popular clique are enjoyable, particularly when John fails to match Sayaka’s expectations. And there are enough sprinkles of intrigue trickled throughout to keep the player interested in what happens next. …Then the newly added day 4 kicks in and the route starts getting really good!
It manages to capture a more whimsical and playful implementation of magic, which is best represented with the new dog character, Rudy. The inclusion of Allison’s friend, Irene, adds a new level of tension, direction, and comedy to their relationship. Pushing John to treat Allison as she ought to be and not rely on magic to solve everything. Pushing Allison to be honest with her feelings and take the right steps on her quest of self-improvement. And getting pushed into the hottest dog action I’ve seen in any TF visual novel! (Suck it, Press-Switch!)
Though my favorite part of this route has to be Allison herself, as this route paints her as a far more complex and compelling character than everyone (including the ST community pre-2020) assumed her to be. She is a studious and intelligent person with a penchant for the language arts. Has a level of comfort and familiarity with romantic relationships that is refreshing after waffling through a cast of ‘boyfriend-free girls.’ And despite her (completely understandable) freakout during day 3, she has an endearingly playful nature.
Her ultimate goal of improving herself and others’ perception of her is both relatable and rife for exploration with a scenario like this. She is someone plagued by a belief that the only cure to her problems is something magical, yet needs to learn that, even with magic, that is not how things work. Because true change does not come through wishing— through magic— and when you try, chances are you will just become a worse version of yourself. True change can only come from action, determination, and by walking toward your goals, no matter how frightening they may appear. …Which is a moral that some people I know really could stand to learn.
All in all, I loved everything the lead writer, Raines, is doing here, and I hope the story continues in V8. I mean, it already has a new branch, but you never know how these things play out… I’m still salty about certain routes that were worked on briefly, but never implemented.
Introduced in V6, Charlotte Swap was a route that continued to broaden the already broad world of Student Transfer by throwing in a college-aged girl by the name of Charlotte Foster. After a brief collision following the first decision in the alien route, John unintentionally initiates a body swap with her… but it is not a usual body swap. Rather than transferring the entirety of their minds, the device only transferred the core of their identity. Meaning they remember who they are, but their mannerisms and memories did not transfer, causing the two to drift into near flawless impersonations of each other.
At the end of the first day— and the end of V6 content— the story is established as a tragedy. With the remote nonfunctional and hope in short supply, and the player being led to believe that this will be a slow burn identity death ‘bad end’ diversion of some variety. However, that impression is changed, almost completely, with the V7 content, which adds an additional day to the story and about 30 minutes of content.
After the start of the second day in their new lives, John and Charlotte find themselves suddenly thrust back into their original bodies, only for this swap to be undone a few minutes later. Immediately, the entire context of this story changes, as it goes from a ‘we are stuck like this forever’ story to a ‘what is wrong with this device’ story.
This is not a bad change— far from it— and pretty much everything about the proceedings is executed well. Charlotte is presented as an endearing scatterbrain, some familiar faces are cast in a new light, and I particularly loved the karaoke date scene. However, I no longer have much of a grasp of what this route is going to be, and what’s there is only about an hour long in total. So it is hard for me to judge it as much more than a slightly lopsided, yet good, start for a potentially cool and interesting route.
However, the lead writer, Narg, does not appear to have touched this route much in the past year, as they switched their focus to Alternate Yuunaverse after November 2021. Which is at least mildly worrying, as Narg has a habit of starting and abandoning projects, so… who knows when/if an update will come. I’d say the dev team is good at closing loose ends like this, but they are not.
Oh, you’ve gotta be freaking kidding me with this one… The Circe branch has been a dearth of nothingness since launch, and rather than build upon any of the nine prompts, Narg decided to start a new branch. One where John wishes to ‘become closer to Yui,’ which gave Circe a plethora of avenues of interpretation. But the one she goes with involves turning John into a clone of Yui’s mother, Yuuna, and turning Yuuna into her new husband, Akira.
What follows from this oddball premise is… a stub, plain and simple. Less than half an hour’s worth of content, and a story that, while promising, also feels very odd when presented to the rest of the game.
Character interactions are brief and snappy in a way that is uncommon across the rest of the base game. There is little bodily exploration on behalf of John or Yuuna beyond the initial shock. Memories flood into John and Yuuna’s mind on an as-needed basis, curbing most questions of identity. And despite Yuuna being a real estate agent, her job naturally takes her to Tina Koya, because that’s where the majority of the cast is. How convenient!
The simplest way I can describe my thoughts on this route is to say that it feels more like a Student Transfer scenario than part of the base game. …And not a scenario I would recommend, as the route is so short that it feels more like a tease than anything substantial. The rapid pacing of certain sections helps, but it’s still so light that… I don’t know why it’s even here.
Building off of the common magic route leading into day 4, the Magic Delinquents route sees John bomb his math test and leave early to devise a way to cheat. But before the kernel of an idea can be planted, he is pulled aside by Vanessa, who begins schmoozing her way into getting his help in cheating on fudging her grade. Things escalate, John gets fully recruited by Tori and Vanessa, magic is revealed to the two, and what should be a straightforward and basic operation is stretched out to a little over an hour.
Magic Delinquents is easily my least favorite route in Student Transfer, and for one core reason. The concept of cheating on a test with magical powers is a trivial one. It is a conflict that could easily be taken care of in ten lines and require little more than John to mutter ‘verba obedi’ before telling Connie to give him a good grade on the test. Instead, the route takes this obscenely long path to reach this conclusion.
Characters spend so much time bickering about what they shouldn’t do, what they can’t do, and identifying the problems, that I was barely able to pay attention to what was going on. I would say that this is as bad as the original introduction for re:Dreamer— the one I covered in my 2020 review— but I think this is actually worse. Because this problem comes up in many, possibly even most, routes within Student Transfer, yet it is never presented as a major issue.
Actually, no, I’m burying the lead, because that is not the worst thing. The actual worst thing about this route is the lack of editing of character dialogue. Lines are fine in isolation, but when read as a whole, there are a plethora of redundant lines and situations. Observations that repeat what characters said while adding nothing. Characters bitch for the sake of bitching— namely Tori. Solutions are introduced solely for characters to explain why they cannot work. And the entire thing just left me annoyed and confused as to why an editor did not chop off half of the dialogue.
It is clear that the redundant and frustrating nature of much of this route is deliberate on behalf of the lead writer, Bungis. They are clearly trying to make the reader as frustrated as John is with this whole situation, and practically say as much in-game. However… I have to ask why that is the best way this story can be told? What is gained by pissing off the reader? What is the point? Just because a creator is trying to make something annoying does not mean that people won’t be annoyed. And it certainly does not free a creator from criticism for making something deliberately annoying.
Now, there is something worthwhile here— something salvageable. Between all the padding, there is an appealing dynamic between John, Vanessa, and Tori. Tori’s short-temper clashes with John’s generally mellow demeanor, while Vanessa is able to act as a mediator between the two. John being coerced into helping these two is an idea with no shortage of potential for hi-jinks, creative magic use, and, most important of all: CRIMES! And during the ‘AbbyPoss’ section of the path, the writer flexes their strength when it comes to more creative problem solving.
There is potential for this path to be cleaned up into something better, and I might just be completely off base here… but this route sucks, plain and simple.
Just when I think various stubs are going to remain that way forever, someone (specifically XBP) comes in years later to prove me wrong.
Building off of the permutation where the remote is confiscated by Yui during day 3, this route sees Michelle confront John about the device. As one of the top students at Tina Koya, and member of the newspaper club, Michelle is not easily dissuaded by any deflections John throws her way and coerces him into telling the truth. Upon learning this salient information, Michelle decides she simply cannot let John continue holding sole possession of the remote. Thus leading her to call upon her investigative journalism skills and coax him into a partnership where she maintains control of the remote.
John is naturally not too pleased about this, causing tensions to rise and bubble as he realizes Michelle’s games and is thrown into many a debate with her. All of which tentatively closes out at the start of an obligatory body swap experiment before the route comes to its current conclusion. There actually is a fair bit more written, but it was not included in V7 for… reasons beyond me.
While she has been part of the game since the very beginning, this route marks the first major role Michelle has played in the base game, and I was surprised by how aggressive she is. Michelle is one of the few characters who recognize the remote for what it is— a tool with the power to massively change the future of humanity. As such, she not only is adamant about becoming his partner, but immediately begins trying to tip the odds in her favor, so she has more control, while giving John the impression that they are equals.
Despite this behavior though, Michelle is not a bad person. She thinks highly of herself, and clearly recognizes herself as a good person. Yet she also has a selfish side to her that drives much of her behavior. This leads her to fishing for excuses and justifications to continue engaging in this behavior, presenting it as being ‘for the best.’ This could be read as her being ‘manipulative,’ but I find this to be refreshingly realistic and an excellent source of conflict.
While John can be pretty easygoing, and a bit of an idiot when the story needs him to be, he recognizes that Michelle is trying to take advantage of him and resists her accordingly. This leads to a lot of debates between the two as they vie for dominance in this relationship, which is both a highlight… and leads into my main issue with this route.
While this might not be technically true, it feels like the majority of this route is spent discussing logistics. How the relationship should work, what they should do, and watching words exchange mouths as the two stand on opposite ends of a room. I understand and recognize the value of a slow burn TSF story, but I felt that the script should only be about 80% as long. It establishes a good dynamic and marks a solid start to a route, but there is a bit too much talking and not quite enough activity.
…This route technically did not get new content beyond a single scene revision, but I recall having some less than positive thoughts on it in my V5 review. As such, I figured I should give it another go and see if it holds up better than I thought and… yeah, it does.
The route sees John branch away from the main cast established in the common alien route and try using the remote to mess with the Tina Koya cheerleaders. But as he continues to mess with Sakaya, he garners the attention of Sadie-Lynne Kobayashi. Through light flirting and eager hands, Sadie swipes the remote from John, the two swap bodies, and Sadie insists they spend the night like this.
This gives way to a cozy yet expedient evening as John chooses to admire Sadie’s body without breaking any boundaries, or take her cue and enjoy her body to the fullest. Which is where the new content comes in— a revised masturbation scene with a retrofitted CG, and definitely one of the best in the base game because of the new visual element. This kicks off a relationship between John and Sadie, sees some expected alienation from John’s friends, and gives way to a karaoke date together, which I have some mixed thoughts on.
Karaoke dates are a staple idea for a romantic body swap activity, and for good reason. Karaoke is an activity where one becomes intimately familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of their voice, and plays nicely into a less explored trait that is unique to every body. Ideally, this would be done by having actors or voice actors act it out, but most TSF media tends to be pretty low budget, so I’m not sure if there is even a good example I could point to.
In a non-voiced visual novel like Student Transfer, there are actually two good ways to work around this problem. Custom music to sell the tone of the song the characters are singing. And phonetically written Lyrics that progress automatically, creating the illusion of singing while conveying themes and relevant ideas through song lyrics. However… that would still be a lot of work, and the developers went with something that works rather than something that’s great. And… I can’t really blame them.
This shortcoming aside, the date does a good job of presenting and establishing the relationship between John and Sadie. John is someone unfamiliar with romantic and sexual relationships, while Sadie is a veteran who is more than happy to throw herself into things just to see what happens. It makes her the instigator of the events, the life of the metaphorical party between the two, and a general bundle of joy and energy. It is a cute dynamic that is well-established from the get-go, and follows through with a classic karaoke sex scene. Because that’s what karaoke clubs are for. Singin’, drinkin’, and screwin’.
…So, why did I react negatively when I first played this route? Because Sadie is a cutie and has one of my favorite designs of any characters in ST. Her big floofy hair, excellent expressions, relatively grounded proportions, and southern accent all made her a standout to me, and I loved her in V4. So much so that I developed my own reading of the character and thought it was ‘wrong’ when she started giving John a blowie like it ain’t no thang in V5. But after upping my reading comprehension and doing some ‘personal growth’ I view this action in a very different way.
Sadie was not submitting herself to John because ‘typical woman in erotic story’ but rather, she was continuing her previously established dominant role. She saw that D, took that D, worked that D, and chose to suck that D. And that’s some queen shit right there. Taking some schmo’s D and making it your own! In more ways than one!
Closing things out, we have Kyoko Mistake. The (somehow) first Kyoko centered route in the base game, where John decides to show off the remote to his lifelong buddy, and experiment-loving girl, Kyoko.
Starting out the story is, to recycle a term, fairly standard Student Transfer fare. John and Kyoko have fun with the remote, the battery dies right after they switch bodies, and they need to go through a day of impersonation. After which, things reset and their experiments can continue in a more structured manner.
While not a lot happens during this early section, it remains more than engaging enough. Characters move from place to place at a steady rate. A series of micro-conflicts keep the proceeding day interesting. And the snippets of new information the player collects helps them paint a clearer picture of who Kyoko is as a character, both in her daily life and her passions.
Once the fifth day comes to a close, the story then begins glossing over the next month as Kyoko runs test after test. All of which leads up to day 34. As Kyoko’s obsessions with the remote grow and her findings stagger, she decides to take the next logical step in understanding a piece of technology… Which is where the titular mistake comes into play.
This gives way to what I would describe as a mid-level disaster, and one that raises many questions about the nature of the remote. Sadly, a few minutes after this mistake, the day comes to a close. Meaning that this is yet another route that offers the introduction of a novel idea, and then quickly comes to an end.
As I often say when reviewing ST scenarios, ideas are cheap, and what makes them worthwhile is the execution. Which is a problem I constantly run into when reviewing incomplete works like this. Because I want to like it and say it has potential, but it also feels like it has just gotten started.
Looking at everything I just said… I actually think V7 is the weakest batch of new ST content thus far. While there was some utterly delightful stuff included with this release, it offered far more lightly developed new ideas than continuations of existing ones. …Two of which would dearly benefit from some significant trimming. However, despite this drop being a bit of a disappointment… It’s still Student Transfer.
Student Transfer has continued to impress me for the better half of a decade, and blossomed into a genuine dream game for me. A platform for TSF writings that has lasted far longer than I would have ever expected, and delivered a deeply impressive amount of quality stories, both in and out of the base game. Student Transfer is the gift that keeps on giving, I am continuously grateful to the dev team for supporting this title, and I hope that this project continues for years to come.
As with every release, I have also prepared flowcharts for Version 7.0 of Student Transfer and subsequent Version 7.X releases.
If you prefer a more focused and vertical presentation, please check out the official Student Transfer flowchart. If the link is unavailable, try changing the “7.0” in the URL to reflect the latest version of Student Transfer.