Demo Review: Pokemon Academy Life

10/10/2015

Now, before you say anything, I know what you're thinking.

It's Pokemon, yes, I know! Pokemon! *squeals and does a little happy dance*

So, as some of you may know, I'm a huge Pokemon fan, and I've been a fan of that franchise for more than a decade... and a half. Hahaha, I practically grew up watching Pokemon, collecting Pokemon cards, and of course, playing the games. I couldn't be prouder to say that I own at least one game in every single generation of the Pokemon games, (Except XY, as I am still waiting for Z, hahaha) from the Gameboy to the Nintendo 3DS. And even until now, as a broke (usually, hahaha) young college student, I make sure that I always have spare money for Pokemon releases. Gotta catch 'em all! (Oh, wow, if you know me in real life, well... please don't tell anyone else about my hidden nerdy side! Hahaha, kidding.)

That said, I have to warn you guys that I might be a little biased about this game here, because... hey, it's Pokemon! <3 And a Pokemon SCHOOL, too, no less. Ahhh, just thinking about it sends the fan girl in me squealing her lungs out~

Ahem. Anyway, I've already talked too much. Let's get on with the review, shall we?

pokemon academy life visual novel demo
Oh my gosh, just look at the-- the backgrounds are just placeholders; don't worry about it!
Before I get into another fangirl spiel, let me just get this out: Pokemon Academy Life is just a fan game, and the developers are in no way connected to Pokemon, Game Freak, or Nintendo whatsoever. As said in the project's development thread on LemmaSoft Forums, it's a fan "game made by a fan for [existing] fans." It's not a legit Pokemon game or anything. That said, most of the in-game assets (including the logo, music, font) were taken directly from the Pokemon franchise, so a little part of me is worried that Nintendo might shut this project down. I sure hope not, though, as I'm sure the concept of a visual novel where you can play as a student in a Pokemon Academy is just too amazing for Pokemon fans. <3


pokemon academy life visual novel demo
This is it! I'm gonna be... a Pokemon Cum Laude!
The demo starts with the player transferring to a new school, Kobukan Academy, in the fictional Kobukan region. In this gameverse, 10-year-old children aren't forced made to get their own Pokemon and start an around-the-world journey, but rather, they are sent to a school where they can learn more about their wonderful world. Shortly, the player is revealed to be Red, the protagonist from the First Generation of Pokemon. After a short monologue, he enters the academy, beginning his adventure on his new journey!

Just playing this part made me feel so nostalgic, since even the font and the music are all proudly Pokemon! It actually made me want to play an actual Pokemon game, hahaha.

pokemon academy life visual novel demo
Who's him? Who am I? Why do you have boxes covering your face?!
The protagonist, (which you can name, so I named him Ash), is told by the receptionist inside that he has to reserve a room with a roommate. The problem is, Ash still doesn't have a roommate, so the first thing he has to do is to find one.

pokemon academy life visual novel demo
Liar! You just want to smell me!
We first meet Gary Oak-- whoops, sorry, I meant Blue Oak, still as Gary-y as ever. One thing I like about Pokemon Academy Life is that it sticks to the canon personalities of the characters, while giving them even more character. You can choose to ask Blue to become your roommate, but [spoiler!] sticking true to his character, of course he wouldn't want to be your roommate. I guess he just wants to smell you later and not all the time.

Since this is a visual novel, expect that there will be a lot of choices along the way. And you will get a lot of them in this demo, especially during the roommate-finding process. You can choose to ask four people if they'd like to be your roommate: Calem, Cheren, Brendan, or... okay, I forgot his name. Hahaha. I first picked Cheren, but then I chose Calem.

pokemon academy life visual novel demo
Then I guess you're not introverted.
There is one nifty little feature I saw in this game, and it's the ability to view information cards about other people. I personally think it's a really cool addition. Gotta get 'em all!

pokemon academy life visual novel demo
Hobbies: smelling me, smelling you, smelling everybody.
This is just a demo, so the game (unfortunately) ends after you choose a roommate (sending me into a stage of denial when I refused to believe that the demo's over) (hahaha, just kidding). I'm seriously excited for the complete game, though! The demo was really great; I loved the dialogue, I loved the music, I loved the atmosphere of the whole thing!

I saw in the development page that there's going to be a battling system in the game, by the way. While I think it would be a nice addition as well, I sure do hope that the battles would be minimal. Why? Well, if battles were made into a full blown system in the game, Nintendo might shut it down. Hahaha, okay, perhaps I'm being paranoid. But I just really want to see this visual novel see the light of the day, hahaha, and I'm looking forward to the story more than the battles. After all, if I just wanted to battle, I could just turn on my DS and play there, right? =)

To be honest, the [very secret] nerdy side of me wants more "Pokemon Exam" types of minigames rather than the battling system we see in the canon games. (Edit: I already asked the developer, and I'm happy to say that, yes, there will be exams included! Haha, cute.)

Art-wise, all the design here comes from the Pokemon franchise, with not much of a difference. I do like the kiddy art style, but I also saw in the project development thread that there will be a revamped, more mature art style in the future, so I'm also looking forward to that. 

pokemon academy life visual novel demo
A.K.A. May, your secret crush? The crush you're never gonna get because she's in love with Drew?
Meanwhile, while the backgrounds leave a lot to be desired, I'm glad to inform you guys that they're just placeholders. Hahaha, thank goodness, as I really don't like the pixelated look they have compared to the sprite art. :")

So anyway, that's about it for this demo. :) If it's not quite obvious yet, I'm really, REALLY looking forward to the complete game, which I hope will be released... in a year, maybe? Nevertheless, you can bet that I'll be waiting patiently for this game's release! :) Pokemon fans, wait with me, would you?

Here's the link to the project development thread if you want to follow along!

Are you also a Pokemon fan? If yes, w do you think of this game so far? And if not, would you try out this game? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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