At first glance, this looks really similar to the game I'm currently working on, which is awesome. The world needs more BxB games, and college is an experience that many people can easily relate to.
I'm not usually a fan of 3d rendered graphics, but it kind of works here? Strictly personal preference, and it bothers me when you have a conversation with someone and the scene jumps between two characters, but that's nothing on you.
Started up the demo and played through once (I think?*). I think my main problem with the game was that it feels inconsistent, and ended up just being frustrating.
The beginning of the game is really good. The writing is funny, and casual, and relateable. I like Zack, and I like the way he talks to the player. It gets me all geared up for some interesting decisions and events. Meeting Braden and talking with him over dinner continues this trend. I wanted more.
And then... school starts. And it's extremely repetitive. I feel like I'm just grinding stats (Braden relationship points, attendance points) and clicking around aimlessly trying to find the right thing to continue. Even the text day-to-day is the same, and all of the Braden options seem to do the same thing (increase your relationship with him), so I could easily just play the entire thing on skip until the "next" event triggers (*which is what I ended up doing to actually "complete" it).
I'm assuming I made it through
by fixing the light and removing the glass panel in the shower to see Braden showering (although I guess our relationship stat wasn't high enough for happy things to happen?)
, but it felt more like a relief to be done clicking through the same menus than actually rewarding.
The goal of improving the lighting and removing the glass wall so you can watch your roommate showering is really kind of creepy, and I just felt uncomfortable instead of having it be something rewarding. It'd be one thing for it to be a one-off, similar to your first visit to the showers together, but to actively be working toward that as a goal feels a little... much.
I don't mind adventure games and stat building, but there needs to be some variation to keep it interesting instead of just clicking through the same text and choices until some stat is high enough to continue (especially when the "target" stat is somewhat unclear).
If you're just grinding stats, I think the model you see in some dating sims, where you set your schedule for the week and then execute it all at once, would be less frustrating to deal with, with triggered "events" when some threshhold is met that puts you back into text-and-choices mode.
More specific, nit-picky thoughts:
- When talking to Braden at dinner, eliminating conversation options that have been previously selected would be nice. It's weird to be able to keep asking the same question over and over, from a realism standpoint.
- Choosing to watch TV means you fall asleep watching TV, which is then followed by a "I should go to bed" scene, which seems a little out of place
- There's class every day? (Even just having "weekend days" would help break up the monotony a bit.)
Sorry if this all sounds too critical. I do like the premise, and the characters, but it overall just felt too monotonous. (At least in its current state.)
Edit: Because I was curious, I also tried
staring at him in bed and pulling down his boxers, expecting him to wake up and to get a bad "Game Over" or something. The fact that it actually increases a stat is also really creepy, and the stat being called "stealth" makes it even worse, because it makes me think of stealthing. Which combined with the shower wall means my idea of Zack's personality, at this point, is "driven by hormones to the point of borderline sexual assault", rather than anything you've tried to set up in conversations between the two guys.
In general, I like the idea of "...while the nudity will be strong, players will have to work for it.", but it seems both like the "work" involved is too repetitive, and the ultimate result is too non-consensual.