No one can stop, will stop, or wants to stop this train, so let’s drive her off a cliff and see if she can fly!
Seeing as how Student Transfer is easily the most popular topic on this quaint little site, or at least that’s what my statistics tell me, I’ve started going through and explore a number of its fan-created Scenarios. Yes, in addition to featuring an expansive main game filled with collaboratively crafted exploits involving TG, body swapping, mind control, transformation, possession, and more, Student Transfer also boasts a robust scene where fans create their own unique storylines using new or established characters. I already did Part 1 back in June and Part 2 back in July, so it’s time for part 3!
Student Transfer Scenarios Review – Part 3
Platforms: PC(Reviewed), Mac, Linux, Android
Before beginning, I would like to clarify several things. Firstly, while I am calling this post a review, that is mostly for the sake of convenience and uniformity, as this is not meant to be a formal assessment of any 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. Secondly, all of these Scenarios either come pre-installed with recent versions of Student Transfer or come from the tfgames.site forums, which require an account to access. But for those who do not want to go through the hassle, I have provided direct download links from the Scenario writer. Thirdly, Scenarios for Student Transfer are all over the place with regards to compatibility, with certain Scenarios only working with certain builds. I personally played Scenarios via Version 4.5 for this review, with the exception of the Yui Spellbook Scenario, which is only compatible with Version 3.1 and earlier builds.
Fourthly, 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. Fifthly, I am a crazy person, so I went and made flowcharts for every Scenario I covered in this post, even the ones that don’t really need them. Sixthly, 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! Seventhly, I am going to jump right into the Scenarios themselves and assume you are familiar with Student Transfer. 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 spiffy new official Student Transfer website.
Never v2 by C.R.E.A.M. – Download – Flowchart
Never is probably the largest Scenario ever created for Student Transfer, boasting a word count that almost justifies it being a full game in and of itself, and containing an immense amount of time, effort, and general dedication from its creator, who actually sought to recreate and revise the Scenario earlier this year. However, it is also unfortunately prone to the same issues that persisted throughout Scenarios such as Carrie the Stalker, Priestess of Chronos, and early routes in The Festival, as C.R.E.A.M. is not a native English speaker, and that is very apparent from the get-go. I spoke to him about this subject, and he informed me that while he learned the language in school and can understand it fairly well, he openly struggles with writing it, particularly due to the differences in grammar, sentence structure, and terminology found between English and his native language, French.
The end result honestly reads like a machine translation, albeit a completely understandable one. This can be a deal breaker to some people, but as an individual who has a soft spot for spotty Engrish translations, such as those found in the works of Loggerzed, this actually became something I appreciated to a degree. I mean, after I removed the space before exclamation marks, question marks, and ellipsis. I can handle a lot, but not an error that pops up literally thousands of times.
Poor English and writing issues aside, Never passes the protagonist torch to the enigmatic ruffian Tori Vega as she discovers a mysterious magical book that presents before her a plethora of opportunities to change and improve her life. Which naturally gives way to a large number of routes that are so expansive and filled with content of differing quality that I can easily go through all of them in detail… so I will. However, I should note that this review is based off of the build originally released on June 27, 2019. There was an update released on October 12, but I lacked the time to fully explore the updated content.
The Rita path has Tori make use of a spell that grants her the ability to absorb a person’s essence and adopt their form at will, while the absorbed consciousness is helpless to do anything but observe Tori and experience everything she does. An interesting concept that Tori initially adopts to torment her long-standing rival, but as time goes on the two gain insights into each other’s lives and reexamine the assumptions they made about each other before indulging in newfound desires born from a formative experience they shared while existing as a single person. It’s a strange and askew burgeoning romance story that nevertheless feels serene, sweet, and sincere, though beyond the initial crux of the storyline and establishment of Tori and Rita as a couple, it goes into some bizarre places.
Such as how Tori and Irene stage a blossoming friendship over horror movies before, hours later, the storyline veers to a tale Rita’s pet spider, Legs Piper, becoming human. Which is precisely the type of storyline that I am fascinated by. Both with regards to the greater mental, moral, and logistical ramifications of such a transformation, and how the hell one is supposed to write a story like that. And while C.R.E.A.M. does get a bit hung up on the internal logic that the spider-turned human would operate under, it is still nevertheless a fascinating concept that I hope is continued.
The Yui route begins similarly by having Tori absorb the overbearing student council president in an effort to torment her, but 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 and concepts 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 LaFleur route follows what can loosely be considered a bad end of sorts for Tori as she is expelled from Tina Koya and chooses to succumb to the malice welling up inside her being, before embarking on a quest for revenge against those who wronged her. Conceptually, it is a path that sees Tori losing herself. A story that sees Tori indulging in her inner demons, shedding her very sense of identity as she deliberately fragments it by possessing people and absorbing their personality traits to better achieve her goals, gradually accumulating multiple mediums of power in order to enact her revenge on a glorious and bombastic scale. In execution… that’s not quite what happens.
Breaking down the route and examining the events, structures, happenings, and decisions made by Tori, it reads like either a stream of consciousness that was dictated without proper foresight or a reviewed outline, or alternatively a mismatch of two or more routes that were crammed together into one. It is a revenge story that has Tori get sidetracked by entering a world of drugs, sex, and crime, to the point where her ultimate goal seems to shift from that of getting back at Tina Koya as much as becoming the queenpin of crime in San Fransokyo, and one who does not understand how revenge is supposed to work.
In a typical revenge story, the punishment enacted to an individual is proportional to the amount they wronged the one who is seeking revenge, and in the best cases, is seasoned with irony. However, the person who gets it the worst here is Katrina, who simply said that she thinks Tori is a bad person due to persistent rumors, while Tori was occupying another person’s body. For such a misdeed, Katrina gets has her heart broken several times over, her body is stolen from her, and is reduced to a paranoid manic mess that does not even understand why this happened to her. And what of Principal Luten, the person most responsible for her expulsion, and Tori’s biggest enemy whose revenge gives way to the conclusion? She goes to jail. No body swap, mental manipulation, nothing of the sort. She just goes to jail for completely legitimate charges of drug possession.
Oh, and this route also sees some incredibly flippant implementations of magic that come across more as narrative contrivances than anything bound by any sort of ruleset or structure. Magic can be used to instantly switch someone’s identity to another person they never met, can create smartphones out of nothingness, and can give someone an aura that causes people’s memories to change by proximity. I get that magic gives you the opportunity to get away with some wild things, but trust me when I say that as a writer it is rather difficult to make a stimulating narrative about a god waving around their hands to make their problems go away, and then when you do write about immensely powerful beings, they need to be limited by some force, whether it be rules, morality, or general interests.
It’s a lesson that C.R.E.A.M. evidentially implemented in the doll route, where Tori gets 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 such as 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. It is largely relentless havoc that is made interesting through interesting body 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.
However, they largely serve as set dressing for a route that mostly focuses on Tori’s own guilt for causing this mess, being humbled by the destructive potential of magic, and trying to make everything right again… but in a very disorganized way. She starts fixing several threads of body swapping, but then pauses partway through to pursue another thread, only to then decide that she doesn’t need to actually fix everything, and tries to stop the passified doll once and for all… which goes about as well as one can expect from what honestly feels like a “normal” ending that would typically be accompanied with a “good” or “true” ending. If that makes any sense. Still, it is a compelling story, has some nifty character moments, along with the crowning gem of this Scenario that is seeing Eric in Yui’s body smoking a cigarette.
The final route of this Scenario, or at least in my playthrough, is one of the more introspective and thoughtful of the sorts, placing Tori in an alternate universe where character relationships and personalities are changed, and Tori’s life is near indistinguishable from what it once was. Never fills in the gaps of Tori’s background, casting her as an orphan with a dark past behind her, and seeing her elaborate on that unfortunate background throughout other routes does a lot to endear her and help explain her brash behavior and angry disposition. Here, however, that is all gone, and instead she is allowed to live a life where she is not treated with scorn by much of the world, and is openly loved both by her newly appointed mother, and her peers throughout school.
Anybody decently genre savvy will look at this world with a degree of disbelief, assuming that it is all too good to be true, and while that is indeed the case, it doesn’t stop this route from feeling… earnest. The level of thought and detail C.R.E.A.M. afforded his rendition of Tori and this new ‘better’ world for her goes to emphasize the passion with which he approached this project, and even in the branch where Tori breaks away from this world, she is still changed by the events, enriched as a person from seeing how things could be if only her life was a bit different, and if she had everything she truly wanted. My only qualm about this would probably be how long the ‘dream world’ route goes on for, as it quickly devolves into the daily antics of a bunch of teenage girls having a pretty chill time, with little in the way of endearing hi-jinks beyond Jack Mallory being his expected pre-retcon rapisty self.
That about covers the story, but in addition to boasting a lengthy narrative, Never is also notable for its inclusion of both a custom soundtrack in place of the usual tracks that have steadily been ingrained into my brain over the years, and custom character sprites that, as far as I could tell, were created by C.R.E.A.M. personally. The soundtrack is primarily comprised of lo-fi hip hop tracks that I enjoy, and do give the story a different feel by proximity, yet their quantity is limited, and they do become repetitive after the 30th or so loop. The choice of tracks is also curious to me, as they include Biggie and Pharcyde, but no Wu-Tang, when the Scenario writer’s handle is a Wu-Tang reference. He included track Hoodie Weather does contain a sample of Biggie saying that “cash rules everything around me,” a reference to Wu-Tang, when he didn’t even include any Wu-Tang instrumentals or anything. …I dunno, it just seems weird to me.
As for the sprite edits, C.R.E.A.M. put in an incredible amount of work into this Scenario, importing new characters, creating new outfits, and mixing and matching sprites to create entirely new characters. The edits are rather high quality, easily on par with those seen in the base game, yet there are a few… oddities. Such as the inconsistent lighting of the hair accessory for a character seen in the Yui path and some jpg noise artifacts scattered over Vanessa’s suit… though I managed to fix the latter with relative ease. I also managed to fix some assorted issues with this Scenario, such as a missing background, an error that renders an entire scenes unplayable, and an error that pops up whenever you start this Scenario. I would actually be willing to share my updated .rpy file, but, again, C.R.E.A.M. just had to update his Scenario days before this review, that little scamp.
To wrap up what could be a full review in and of itself, Never is an intriguing Scenario. On one hand, it is an assortment of interesting and entertaining stories that explore its characters and subject matter well, while showing an exceptional amount of creativity and passion. On the other, it is a very sloppy and slapdash project that I found myself routinely opening up to implement some quick fixes, and began skimming through due to how poor the writer’s grasp on the English language is. I have encountered Scenarios with a similar disproportion of quality, yet never one so extreme. You could say that I am left wishing and hoping that it was better… but I ultimately had a great time with it all in all, and that’s what really matters in the end.
Mirror, Mirror by Theokgatsby – Download – Flowchart
Student Transfer is already one of the most expansive games I have ever seen, possessing so many branching possibilities and potential or completed storylines that it really is no surprise that somebody look at that and said, ‘You know what this needs? A multiverse!’ But, being rather practical and recognizing the implications of making a Scenario that fully explored that concept, Theokgatsby that it would be best to limit their scope to John exploring a bizarro universe for a day, and then proceeded to make just that happen.
More specifically, Mirror, Mirror centers around a magically adept John who opens a portal to an alternate universe, getting stuck there for a day due to his limited mana pool, and deciding to chum it up with his alter ego, Johnny Davis. Yet considering how you cannot very well have two Johns mucking about, John gets TGed into Jane, and the two go about their merry way through a day at bizarro Tina Koya where John is subjected to the myriad of differences this world boasts… which really is just limited to everybody’s personality being an opposite of what it usually is.
Johnny Davis is a sexually aggressive and ambitious youth who is successful, devious, and managed to hold onto his alien remote for a full month. Kiyoshi is a misogynist who doesn’t want anything to do with women… except Kyoko and Katrina, because you need to have some universal constants. Katrina is an airheaded, affectionate, and sexually adventurous young lady who is totally fine with sharing her precious Johnny. Eric is the student council president while Yui likes having rough sex at school. Holly is an affectionate onee-sama while Sandra is quite fond of verbally abusing her children. The list goes on, and there really isn’t a whole lot to this Scenario beyond offering a creative showcase of what an alternate rendition of Student Transfer would be like if every character’s personality got a 180, with the appeal drawing back on the player’s familiarity with these characters. And if you’re even a fraction as familiar with this lot as I them, then you’re probably in for a good time.
It’s cute, creative in the application of its concept, and left me laughing regularly from beginning to end. The story sets its goals efficiently, gets done what it needs to, offers an easily manageable number of choices with compelling endings, and does not linger on any one note long enough for the faulty logic of this bizarro universe to start showing. It all amounts to one of the most complete Scenarios I have ever touched, and incidentally the only truly finished Scenario I’ve covered so far.
Playing With the Devil by Gweddry – Download – Flowchart
The fact that the Circe routes have never been expanded upon since maybe 100 lines of additional content back in Version 2 has been a minor annoyance… and then I found out that the Circe girlfriend route was started by Hidden Sanity, who plopped 800+ lines onto the Git back in April. Which I’m sure will be expanded into something remarkable one day, but Gweddry was evidentially sick of waiting, and decided to make the Circe Setsuna route himself.
What he came up with involves John turning into the frail shrine maiden Setsuna before, in a fit of desperation, our brilliant protagonist forges a pact with Circe, granting her additional freedoms that she subsequently used to rope innocent bystanders into the mix and spice up this little escapade in a way you would expect from a demon in a game like this. From transforming people and reshaping the world around them to erase all they ever were. Wiping away the memories of someone to the point where they cease to be the same person. Erasing people’s minds and replacing their identity with another. Giving a female character a massive weiner, you know, the usual stuff.
It’s an entertaining affair that nicely escalates to a reasonable conclusion, has a nice level of divergence, and features a number of varied yet satisfying conclusions, while leaving the door open for wildly different interpretations. Yet just about every one of the currently available permutations feature a liberal amount of sexual content. From masturbation, to regular sex, to rape, lots and lots of rape. Self-cest rape, mouth rape, feral rape, yandere mind wipe rape, demon-aided rape, the works!
While this could have veered into a lot of sex for the sake of sex, Gweddry places a good deal of attention on the mental ramifications of sexual intercourse, how it affects the characters, from their mood, disposition, and preferences, and a good degree of levity sprinkled throughout the story. As while Playing with the Devil is chock full of sex stuff, it is also full of scenes with scenes with something to laugh about either due to endearing writing, cute reactions, or situational absurdity. Which is precisely how I like my sexually explicit media; full of goofy magical nonsense and character development.
It is because of this balance that I found myself enjoying Playing with the Devil as much as I did, offering quality content, room for exploration, and lewd sensibilities that make a meaningful impact on the overlying plot. It easily earned itself a spot in the good Scenarios bucket, with my only criticisms being very minor hang up about some of the language used reinforcing Christianic concepts upon the demons of this world, some sexual references that struck me as a touch too… heteronormative considering how devious some of devious some of these sexual acts can get, and for whatever reason Carrie’s, Kyoko’s, and Setsuna’s bedrooms all use the same background. Not sure what that’s all about.
Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Playin with tha Devil, an alternate version of this Scenario created by Applemelon, who threw the thing into a thuggery-based machine translation, fixed a few bugs, and then released it onto the world. I laughed my ass off when I tried going through the first ten minutes, but this was ultimately a goof only intended for members of the Student Transfer Discord, and I cannot imagine playing through the entire Scenario like this.
When Worlds Collide by DarkSquid – Download – Flowchart
When Worlds Collide is a… very curious Scenario. One that involves a grandiose conflict involving converging worlds, magically adept time travellers, an alien race, and petty personal conflicts that arise from misuse of a remote that swaps bodies and alters minds. It is certainly among the more ambitious Scenarios I have encountered conceptually, but in execution it’s unfortunately something of a skeleton. The Scenario boasts an immense number of choices and storylines, very few of which are explored in detail, and when they are the end result is often something so different from whatever came before it that the actual storyline comes across as muddled and incredibly impulsive, not helped by the lack of a main structure for the assorted story threads to branch off of.
The process of jumping from wildly different storyline to wildly different storyline can be an exhaustive process that this title repeats constantly, amounting to 40 routes that end with placeholders, and 5 endings of varying detail and complexity. With one ending just being a few lines after the player’s choice before a black screen, and another being an extended showcase involving custom sprites and backgrounds that serves as an excellent demonstration of DarkSquid’s dedication in this project.
Which is precisely what makes When Worlds Collide such an odd duck, as it boasts such as broad structure that whatever it does narratively can be swiftly forgotten as it is followed up with something completely different, but it received a significant amount of care and attention from the visual front. Custom assets, new outfits for characters, a truncated yet admirable attempt at implementing environmental panning, the use of movie files, and tiny instances of putting in extra effort into making the Scenario more visually interesting. Admittedly, DarkSquid’s edits can be rough at points, though the fact that he put so much effort into this Scenario’s presentation is certainly worth something.
This dedication is all the more admirable when considering that DarkSquid has dyslexia, and I can only imagine how hard it must have been for him to put this Scenario together given how vital syntax is to text-based programming, and the strain bug checking placed on him, let alone dealing with compatibility issues. Yet despite his best efforts, the Scenario is still littered with grammatical, syntax, and wording issues, to the point where I attempted to fix some of the more common ones personally, without doing a full edit of the script because even I have my limits. That, and while I certainly did enjoy or find amusement with a number of the ideas explored in When Worlds Collide, it was all too unfocused for me to ever become truly invested in whatever greater story its writer was trying to tell.
Yui Spellbook by Applemelon – Download – Flowchart – Version 3.1 Compatible
Not unlike Connie Offshoot from Part 1, Yui Spellbook chooses to offer a non-canonical extension to one of the paths from the base game, namely the Yui Possession or YuiPoss Route. Which is not to be confused with the actual extension that was removed prior to the release of Version 3, and never re-implemented, or the unwritten bad end where “John goes mad with power”. Anyways, this Scenario is very much in-line with one would expect from the base game with regards to concepts and tone, barring some newly introduced assets, and a few creative decisions that would possibly not be agreed upon by the greater dev team regarding character backstories, abilities, lore choices, sprite choices, and certain tonal beats.
Regardless, the Scenario provides a number of extended ways in which the established story could conclude, all of which share a degree of ingenuity. These include a fairly straightforward extension of the subplot about Yui’s magical resistance, showing the two characters open up to each other, become more personable, and develop their strangely symbiotic relationship into something sweet, if a tad unorthodox. An elongated storyline wherein John possesses Natsumi, only to encounter and unfortunate setback that is prefaced by a detailed day of John trying to impersonate the child her barely knows about as well as one would expect.
A dark turn that makes use of the underutilized Carrie by having her do what a yandere does best, with the ensuing tale being rather morbid by the fairly fluffy tone denoting the base game of Student Transfer, and naturally leading John to pursue drastic measures. Or a foray into magical exploration where Applemelon decides to explore a concept that I like to call identity rebirth, and results in the most creative application of John’s female alter ego, Jane, that I have seen in my exploits so far. One that offers an exceedingly adorable number of moments that showcases Applemelon’s aptitude with character writing, and his creativity with this subject matter.
In fact, I would apply that same praise to every storyline on display in this Scenario, as they all feature a firm understanding of what made the base game so compelling, while retaining unique sensibilities and a creative ambition that went well beyond anything I would have expected. My only criticisms to offer pertain to the script itself, which could have used another editing pass, as I noticed a handful of assorted typos and wording issues, two things I personally know all too well. Other than that, Applemelon has proven himself to be a individual of many talents, as not only did he make the magnificence that is ZOEYQUEST, but he also made a pretty wonderful Scenario.
Unfortunately, that is all I have to cover this installment. I did say that I wanted to cover certain other Scenarios in my prior installment, namely Stone to the Head, Harem, and Library Antics, but I decided not to on account of the writers not being satisfied with their Scenario in its current form. GarySavage, writer of writer of Stone to the Head, expressed displeasure with his Scenario, delisted it briefly, and seemingly does not want anybody else to play it. PaintedNecroz, who is responsible for the revival of Harem, stated that he was not happy with the Scenario in its current form, and intends on making improvements to it. Which is a far cry from back in June, when he said he’d “rather legit amputate [his] penis” than work on Harem again, but whatever.
Meanwhile, ZeBeste, author of Library Antics, also said that he was not happy with parts of his Scenario and was working on an update specifically meant to coincide with this review. A move that I am personally quite humbled by, as I honestly would never expect my reviews to garner such attention from a Scenario writer, much less one who doubles as a member of the dev team. Sadly, he didn’t finish this update until October 9th, which was well beyond my deadline, meaning that I will not get to this Scenario until Part 4.
Speaking of which, I already have quite a few Scenarios lined up for the next installment, including Body Thief, Escape the Manor, Help Me Be Happy, K-Files, and Witches and Warlocks. However, it is going to be quite a while until I get to any of those. In short, I only want to do one Student Transfer oriented review a quarter going forward (mostly to prevent personal burnout and a loss of interest). And since Version 5 is, based on the release history, probably going to come out in Q1 2020, I don’t plan on publishing Student Transfer Scenarios Review – Part 4 until Q2 2020.
In the meantime, feel free to recommend me more Scenarios, as I genuinely love doing this sort of thing. Seriously, knowing that people are reading and appreciating these reviews and flowcharts I spent so many hours on, being able to share these amazing stories with a broader audience, and hearing words of thanks from these talented and creative people— it’s one of the most affirming and satisfying things in the world to me.