It was the dopest of times, it was the perviest of times, and it was the spaghettiest of times.
Student Transfer is an expansive collaboratively made visual novel featuring 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 robust title even by the standards of full-length visual novels, but that is far from all there is to Student Transfer.
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, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7, which is a lot of parts, and over 50 individual Scenario reviews in total. To some, that would be enough, but I’ve signed a blood pact, and unless I put out a part 8, they’re going to take my legs. So let’s get on with the reviews!
Student Transfer Scenario Reviews – Part 8
Platforms: PC(Reviewed), Mac, Linux, Android
Before jumping into the reviews proper, I have a few (mostly arbitrary) disclaimers:
- 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 of setting up an account with this site, I have provided direct download links from the Scenario writer. These links may be taken down at any time and do not reflect any updates made to these Scenario after this post’s publication.
- An up to date list of every Scenario available for Student Transfer can be found on the official Student Transfer website.
- All Scenarios featured in this post were played using Version 5.2 of Student Transfer. Please keep this in mind, as Student Transfer Scenario compatibility is all over the place.
- These Scenarios are very much non-canon and have no relevance to the main game. Student Transfer may be an open collaborative effort, but these projects are developed beyond the control of the existing dev team.
- I’m a crazy person, so I went and made flowcharts for every Scenario I covered in this post, excluding 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 admire and appreciate all Scenario developers of Student Transfer, and I would like to thank them for keeping the community active and extending the life of this incredibly special game.
For the purpose of these reviews I’m going to 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.
Backtracking by ChoripanKiller – Download – No Flowchart
Starting off this installment is yet another Scenario from ChoripanKiller, or just Chori as he is known in the ST community. A writer you should know from previously featured Scenarios The Festival, A.S.A.P.!, and Graceful Misfortune, along with the robust MaidenSwap route from the base game. He’s definitely one of my favorite creators among the ST community because of his approach to TSF subject matter, ability to flop between various genres and tones, and his overall skill as a storyteller. So naturally, you can imagine that I expected great things from Backtracking, and it does not disappoint in the slightest.
Backtracking is yet another Scenario that follows John after he gets his hands on the alien remote, but instead of using it to goof off or aid a friend or acquaintance in need, he decides to do what most Student Transfer fans would probably do if they got their mitts on this thing. Use it to fulfill their fetishistic fantasies. You see, this version of John has a body swap fetish, and is particularly fond of the idea of switching bodies with a woman, transferring their memories, and mind controlling himself to believe that he is this woman.
With such a specific fetish in mind, and a new timer function added to the remote, you can gather what this Scenario is about. Or rather what it would have been about if Chori didn’t decide to skip over this set-up and jump to the far more interesting part of this story; seeing John fix the contrived mess he inevitably finds himself in. Two months after his body jacking joyride, John is eventually found in a brainwashed state by Kiyoshi, Katrina, and Kyoko, who unflub his brain and set off on a rousing adventure to backtrack through the myriad body swaps and mental tomfoolery John got himself messed up in. From there, the story progresses as you would imagine, with squabbles, shenanigans, and confusion abound. But what surprised me about these proceedings was the sheer level and breadth of quality on display.
The dynamics between John and his K-buds is something that I honestly would like to see from more Scenarios, and from the base game itself. As Chori does an excellent job of illustrating how exactly this gaggle of misfits manage to remain friends as they deal with this situation together. They recognize this situation for what it is, ultimately try to make the most of John’s bizarre circumstances, and while they treat John like the butt of many jokes, it’s clear that they appreciate him as a person and show genuine concern for his well being throughout this Scenario. Hell, even if you only consider the tremendous amount of prep work they had to do to find him in the first place, it’s clear just how much they all care for each other.
John’s pervertedness is a regular source of humor throughout the story, but it also does a lot to cater the story for TSF fans. By having such a horndog of a protagonist, the story can jump right into the deeper end of things without the need to preface or establish. It is a story that knows what it is, what it wants to be, who it is for, and recognizes what its audience wants to see.
The overall writing and structuring of the Scenario are impressively tight and optimized. It captures an impressive amount of detail, situational comedy, and gags while going through a Scenario that should be cluttered or hectic with so many body swaps, location changes, and new characters. But no, the Scenario caps things off in under 80 minutes and everything has just enough room to breathe and feel both purposeful and developed.
Needless to say, there is a lot that I love about Backtracking, and I could go on about the myriad little things that I loved about what Chori created here. Though, if I were to voice a criticism, it would be with regards to one thing at the end of this Scenario that took a bit of the wind out of my sail. And to explain why, I need to spoil things.
As the Scenario is wrapping up, Katrina reveals to John that she mishandled his memories of the women whose lives he borrowed, and he now only remembers living the life of his first target. Katrina spins this as a happy accident, claiming that an influx of other people’s memories can damage a person’s sense of self and identity and that this way, John’s back to normal. Personally, I strongly disagree with her logic and the creative decision to rid John of these memories.
It is true that the influence of so many different memories from such a wide spectrum of people would ultimately change John as a person and he would never be quite the same. However, I am very much against the idea of memory erasure of this sort as a person is defined by their memories and experiences. They are what cause people to grow, develop, and are the foundation that helps people form their personality. When you take them, add them, or remix them, you are changing who that person is on a fundamental level. If this is done to someone without their consent, then it’s deeply reprehensible. But if somebody chooses to do this to themselves, to change their mind on a fundamental level, then their decision should be respected, as it is their mind. Regardless of whether or not they are throwing their identity into a tumbler of another person’s memories, or regressing themselves to a more ‘pure’ or ‘innocent’ state.
But here, Katrina never intended on erasing John’s memories, which just makes this whole situation… weird. To the point where I’m not really sure what Chori was going for with this ending. John still has two months worth of memories from the first women in his daisy chain of body swaps, so he’s not back to ‘normal.’ And by lacking the memories of every other woman, I feel that he is now a less interesting and experienced individual than he was for one brief shining moment.
Personally, I am a massive fan of characters who transform their personalities and memories into a multifaceted mental homunculus of experience. Characters who are able to view life and people from a wider spectrum of perspectives than most people can ever hope to. So, as you can imagine, I was a trifle bit miffed that this story did not veer in this direction. I still liked how it ended, with waffle denial and all, but it is so tantalizingly close to being one of my all-time favorites.
Still, like much of Chori’s prior work, Backtracking is still nothing shy of incredible, demonstrates the author’s mastery of the subject matter, and it heartily deserves a Nigma Box Certified DOPE Award. …Which, for the record, is something that I’m introducing here solely because of this Scenario.
Eman Looc’s Possession Scroll by Darknost – Download – Flowchart
Next up, we have Eman Looc’s Possession Scroll. A Scenario that, as the name implies, is centered around a magical parchment that one hapless San Fransokyo resident stumbles upon, granting them the ability to possess others, but with a set of stricter than usual criteria to keep the story interesting. The protagonist banner this time around is split evenly between the energetic little spark ball, Zoey, and the perpetually frustrated Tina Koya principal Abby Luten. Two extremely different women who lead a collection of female-to-female possession stories spread across 7-ish distinct routes and 18 endings, across about 10 hours of playtime. I originally considered doing mini-reviews of each route after I came to terms with just how robust Possession Scroll is. But after playing it, I think a general overview would be a better way to assess this Scenario, starting with the writing.
This is yet another ESL Scenario, and while Darknost addressed most of my biggest criticisms with the latest minor release on May 10th, which corrected hundreds of punctuation errors, it’s still far from perfect. There are grammatical errors, capitalization mistakes, and much of the dialogue has a certain ‘foreign speaker twang.’ Which is something I have become accustomed to by going through so many of these ESL Student Transfer Scenarios. It’s nothing that I was too bothered by, but the whole thing ultimately reads more like a rough draft cranked out to meet a harsh deadline, before the writer had the opportunity to thoroughly proofread it.
Actually, “rough draft” is a good way to describe the Scenario on a more creative or storytelling front as well. Every route in this Scenario ultimately works, they’re fine at worst, but they almost universally have minor, or sometimes major, holes that left me questioning how much the writer was putting into these stories. How much outlining and thematic planning was done, and if the writer went through this concept several times before putting them out. Because while some routes are solid, others are more lopsided and give me the impression that they were rushed through production for the sake of expansion.
For example, the Sandra route is ultimately about Zoey taking control of a life where she has more power and responsibility than ever before. She is in a situation where she has no supervision and the ability to cause life-ruining disasters or enrich the lives of others. However, throughout the route, Zoey never really acts like this is her objective. Instead, she just… does a bunch of stuff while occasionally asking her if she wants to reel it in or go deeper.
What’s there ultimately works, but it does not feel like the story is built or designed around its objective, almost like the writer wrote the story before figuring out what it was about… Which might sound like complete nonsense that only an amateur would do, but I’m guilty of doing that myself. And recently too!
This same lack of foresight is not true for every route… which only goes to make Possession Scrolls feel more mixed, as there is a notable jump and dip in quality throughout the routes. From worst to best, I’d rank the routes as so: Maid, Sandra, Yui, Allison, Connie, and Rita.
The Maid route is supposed to be about Zoey learning how to be more resourceful, competent, and responsible as she is taught daily life skills and how to perform tasks with grace. But the route only really works because a character forgot, or does not care, that indentured servitude is illegal. And before the story can build into Zoey actually learning the skills she craves and bettering herself as a person, the plot gets sidetracked by a power struggle against a corrupt noble who is abusing a nonsensical 300-year-old contract. It still works as a story but… I don’t understand why this is what the writer ultimately went with.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Rita route sees Abby get trapped in Rita’s body early on, forcing her to live Rita’s life unless she can win a battle against a gaggle of school thugs. In order to train herself, she seeks out the aid of Setsuna— who has magical anime miko powers in this Scenario— to help broaden her strength beyond normal human limits.
The ensuing Scenario sees Abby clash with Rita’s life as she undergoes Setsuna’s training regime, learning how to further her strength while testing her determination and drive with each passing day. All before the story reaches its climax in the form of a hype-ass junkyard brawl that sees Abby test just how seriously she took in her sensei’s words. Depending on her dedication and the player’s choices, Abby is met with either the sweet taste of victory or the bitterness of defeat and incalculable loss.
Ordinarily, this sort of story would be poised as an eye-opening experience for the protagonist, where they learn the error of their ways, how to respect others, and enjoy both the person they possessed and the company they kept. But Abby does none of that. She only cares about herself and how she can get her grubby little ghost mitts on a better body and better future. She doesn’t care about Rita, Setsuna, the popular clique, or Rita’s parents. She would backstab a baby to get what she wants. And I love that!
This route is an honest portrayal of how a person like her would react in a situation like this, and it does not try to sugarcoat it by even including an option where she decides to be a good person. Because she’s not! And that’s what makes her an interesting protagonist! The fact that she’s a piece of shit opportunist who hates everything that’s not her!
In other words, the story and writing quality of Possession Scroll occupies a murky spectrum of quality, and it is difficult for me to pin where this Scenario stands as something okay, good, or great. But regarding the presentation, Darknost was clearly feeling a touch ambitious and delivered something that, while not mind-blowing, is definitely a peg above most other Scenarios, and commercial VNs in general.
The background dims as characters share in close conversations or internal monologues. The perspective splits in two to show parallel stories as they happen in unison. There is this great little alarm effect used when something clicks in a character’s head. The Junkyard brawl is a prime example of a visual novel developer going above and beyond with their presentational flair, and it paying off stupendously. There’s a custom intro sequence. Location changes are denoted with a panning banner image. And instead of using the standard (and kinda crappy) “gameover” title card that denotes most endings, Darknost uses a custom graphic for every ending. Hell, he even added a few custom music tracks to punch up a few scenes, in addition to a collection of new sound effects.
It goes without saying just how much effort Darknost put into this Scenario, and with a lengthy development roadmap, it’s clear that he intends on making this a gargantuan beast of a Scenario. Yet, between all of these injections of style he, for some reason, decided to use the old V2-style uniforms for certain characters, but not others. This is a bizarre creative decision if intentional, and if unintentional… I don’t even know how that’s even possible.
There is enough quality here that I can confidently say that Darknost is a talented creator capable of doing great things, and I am looking forward to eventually revisiting this Scenario after it is completed to see just how much he improves as he finds and settles into his groove as a creator. But it is this skill, this competence, that makes his mistakes or shortcomings all the more confusing to me. I think the best advice I could give to Darknost is to try to work out his ideas with someone else, have them proofread his Scenario for him, or otherwise help him workshop the various route ideas he has rattling around in his head. That, or do another more critical pass over your story ideas before going through with them.
…Oh, right, I’m supposed to conclude these things by letting people know if I recommend a Scenario or not, and I kind of got lost in the brambles here. Um… I just said that updates are on their way so… maybe just wait for those, because from what I can tell, this Scenario is only going to get better and better. As a whole, it is good right now, but if the most recent Connie and Rita routes are any indication, it will be great soon enough.
Note: I initially played version 1.5 of this Scenario. However, as I was editing this post, Darknost released a minor update (version 1.6) that addressed various grammatical errors, writing mistakes, and changed some things in the back-end. I replayed up to the “Regret Message” ending to reassess the writing quality and used that to inform the section of my review that focuses on the writing quality of this Scenario. Aside from addressing a few systematically removable errors, the script appears to be largely the same.
Family Swap by Monsterslots – Download – Flowchart
Oh dear, I do not like it when I happen across Scenarios like this. Okay, so… Family Swap, as the name implies, is built around the idea of John, with the alien remote in hand, using his immense power to change about his family, swapping bodies with them, switching roles, or adding new people into his family using the magic of transformation and mental manipulation. It’s a solid premise and, as somebody with a fondness of TSF content involving family members, where platonic love combines with romantic love, and two or more people develop an incredibly intimate connection, it’s an idea that I was rather intrigued by.
In execution, however, this is another one of those Scenarios where a bunch of stuff happens, but without much of a greater point or purpose to it all… other than providing a justification for incestuous situations. In one route, John accidentally causes Holly to develop incestuous feelings for him. In another Sandra thinks it would be a lark if she switched bodies with her son and they banged. And in another John realizes he can use the remote to transform himself into a copy of his father which, while an incredibly interesting avenue for a potential story, doesn’t go particularly far and does so little that I’m not really sure what the developer was even trying to accomplish… beyond more boring dollar-store-brand incest.
Monsterslots has no shortage of ideas, as made evident with the inclusion of a monster girl offshoot— which does not even remotely fit the theme of the Scenario— but time and time again, he executed them in what I could only interpret as the most boring and unsatisfying way imaginable. A sentiment that carries over to pretty much every other facet of the Scenario. The writing, while free from many ESL staples I’ve encountered in perusing these Scenarios, is rather stilted. Music comes and goes throughout the entire Scenario. While sprite animations are basic, bordering on rudimentary by ST standards.
Again, nothing is egregious, and I’ve definitely played worse, but I also cannot recommend this Scenario… at all. There simply was not enough creativity and drive in Family Swap to keep me engaged all the way through. And for a 90 minute affair, that’s saying something.
He’s All That by Theokgatsby – Download – No Flowchart
From the author of the Scenario Mirror, Mirror, a transdimensional elseworld excursion that I covered 1.5 years ago, He’s All That follows John and Sayaka after they discover they share a magical heritage and try to summon Circe… only for things to go awry, as they always do when summoning a demon. Thanks to a misworded request, John And Sayaka find themselves transported into a parallel world where John is female, Sayaka is male, and a couple other characters had their genders flipped. Now the only way they can get back to their old world is if John manages to nab a prom date with the most popular boy in this remixed rendition of Tina Koya, Carter Morgan, Katrina’s male alter ego.
All this amounts to a story with two core appeals. Seeing the writer wrap their brain around this concept, reworking existing character dynamics in this altered setting. How John’s social circle is reworked in this world, and how the in-universe relationship dynamics of Jane and Carter mirror and deviate from the relationship between John and Katrina.
And seeing how the two protagonists react to their new lives and general situation. Showing John as he finds himself easing into his life as a teenage girl, adapting to the world around him and gradually forgetting that things weren’t always this way as he begins to acclimate to the normal he is presented with. While also bouncing off of Sayaka, who undergoes her own character arc where she struggles to adapt from the queen bee to a rich yet not particularly popular student council member.
As it stands, pretty much everything about He’s All That is great. The writing is sharp. The dialogue and situations are genuinely funny. And as a well-established fan of this ST, I always like seeing writers play around with these characters, while staying true to who they are. Sadly, the Scenario stops before it can push on past the halfway point, ending with no real resolution along its single decision-free route. Meaning that this is yet another Scenario where it might be best to wait it out until things are content complete. But even if an update never comes, and Gatsby wanders out in the woods one day, never to return, then I still think this Scenario is worth checking out.
In Praise of Being by Clavietika – Download – No Flowchart
Coming from the developer behind Into The Janeverse, and fellow reviewer of Student Transfer Scenarios, we have In Praise of Being. A Scenario that’s firmly planted into the TSF/TG subgenre of a “Wish Fulfillment” story. For those who do not understand my terminology here, a wish fulfillment TG story is a story where a closeted or openly transgender character undergoes a physical transformation into a person of the opposite sex. Following this transformation, they steadily learn to realize that they are happier and more comfortable with themselves in this new body, and accept this transformation as a fulfillment of a wish they intentionally or unintentionally held.
You can find these stories all over more writing-focused hubs like Fictionmania and TGStoryTime, and way back in 2008, when I was getting my feet muddy in the TSF gulags, these types of stories were among my first introduction to the TSF genre. …They also probably should have clued me into the fact that I was trans, since these stories are often written by closeted or open trans people as a means of wish fulfillment. And if this explanation is not sufficient, here’s a 4,000 word textbook example of a wish fulfillment TG story written by Student Transfer co-founder, Eliza Velasquez.
Staying true to its niche subgenre, In Praise of Being is a Scenario where an awkward, uncomfortable, and somewhat depressed young biologically male person happens upon a magical doodad of some sort and uses it to bring their repressed dream of being a cute girl to reality. With said person being Andrea (formerly Andrew), and said magical doodad being a magical book she receives from a ‘friend’ of hers that awakens her innermost desire… before catching on fire and erasing Andrea’s short-term memory.
Upon waking up, equally baffled and amazed, Andrea must come to terms with her transformed body and untransformed reality, convincing others of who she is while trying to rearrange her family, school, and social lives while mentally coping with the ramifications of this transformation. It is a slow and deliberate story with a grand narrative poised from the outset, and while only the current build only extends for the first few days, I adore pretty much everything this Scenario does.
From the realistic level of friction and skepticism that Andrea faces as those around her go through their own phases of denial and grief. To how the familiar faces of Student Transfer react to Andrea’s presence, both pre and post transformation, making her feel like a background character who actually belongs in this world.
But the biggest highlight for me is seeing Andrea’s own personal attempts at coping with her transformation. Seeing this precious little egg wiggling out of its shell and slowly embracing her newfound femininity while dealing with her own self-imposed sense of inferiority and using it to deny herself the pleasure of being the person she always wanted to be. Her very own dream girl. To some, her reaction and hesitation might seem overblown or extreme, as it should be plainly obvious to Andrea that she is transgender, and this is a fantasy manifest into reality. But as a socially awkward transwoman who did not start her transition until age 21… Clavietika nailed Andrea’s characterization, and if something like this happened back when I was 18, I would probably react the same way… for the most part.
So the story’s an excellent take on the genre, but what about the presentation? Well, Clavietika previously demonstrated her presentational passion with Into The Janeverse, and here, with the help from many prominent ST community members, she delivered yet another Scenario that left me in awe. In Praise of Being has a custom soundtrack that jives with the score of the base game, custom chibi interstitials, new sprites, sprite edits, needlessly elaborate CGs that incorporate multiple sprites over existing BGs, custom phone graphics, easter-egg-riddled backgrounds, and animated titty touching! It’s gosh darn amazing and it makes most other visual novels look static, rigid, and unambitious by comparison.
That all being said, I do have some qualms with In Praise of Being. Such as the way the story mentions that Andrea’s family has money troubles of some sorts, but I never got the impression that Clavietika thought out the details of this situation. Or how frustratingly stubborn Andrea’s supposed friends are when it comes to accepting Andrea’s transformation. But the biggest problem with this Scenario is, unfortunately, the writing.
For as skilled as Clavietika is with image editing and storytelling, she is an ESL writer, and her writing… leaves something to be desired. While her script is comprehendible, it is lousy with grammatical errors, typos, and awkward wording. It’s constant enough that it’s hard to brush these issues aside, and while I can find these sorts of errors to be endearing in some circumstances, that is sadly not the case here.
This is immensely frustrating to me, because if Clavietika’s linguistic skills were up on par with a native speaker and she has the opportunity to fully develop this Scenario to its conclusion, then this would be an all-time favorite for me, and one of the best renditions of a Wish Fulfillment TG story that I have ever seen. My only real advice to her would be to seek help from an English tutor of some sort, but that’s expensive, time-consuming, and even then, it takes a lot of writing, editing, and proofreading before you realize your deficiencies as a writer, and learn how to truly improve your craft.
Katrina the Statue by ch_wh – Download – No Flowchart
While I am well versed in the world of TF fetishes, and try to understand the appeal of everything, especially the really weird and cool stuff, I never really ‘got’ petrification. It absolves someone of all autonomy and turns them into a thing that is not necessarily used, consumed, or subjected to an active verb beyond “look” or “admire.” I hoped this Scenario would help clue me in on what exactly a small subset finds so enticing about this concept and… I totally get it now.
Katrina the Statue takes place as an offshoot of the base game where John refuses the call to action, as depicted in the Ordinary Life bad end, and instead, Sayaka is abducted, probed, and tossed back to Earth with a weapon of mass destruction, also known as the remote, in her hands. After waking up in the park following a nasty bender, she is accosted by her former friend, Katrina, and decides that now is as good an opportunity as ever to flaunt her new toy.
Using the mind control function of the remote, Sayaka brings Katrina to her illustrious abode and begins asking her about their former friendship, namely what drove them apart so deeply. Katrina holds nothing back as she insults Sayaka’s materialistic values and the lacking quality of her personhood. This naturally upsets Sayaka, and she decides to be the exact person Katrina claims she is, by transforming Katrina into a statue.
This kicks off the core of the Scenario, which I would describe as an hour-long transformation sequence. One that follows Katrina as humanity is gradually and steadily stripped away from her until she becomes a creature that requires no sustenance and eventually… an object. A being of stone (or marble, it’s not very clear) that can still think and feel, but as time goes on and she becomes unable to interact with the world or feel the air brushing against her limbs, she rationalizes away her human ways, accept the inevitable, and, with a final nudge from Sayaka, Katrina begins viewing herself as nothing more than what she has become. A statue.
It is a genuinely fascinating narrative that stands as one of the deepest and most particular descriptions of a transformation that I have ever come across. One that spares no details as Katrina observes her body reacting to the adverse effects of maintaining a static position for hours on end, and also explores the mental trauma and horror found with being unable to do anything but observe the world around you. However, for all the transhumanism and objectification, the story also remembers that it is for an audience composed mostly of perverts, and doubles as a horny romance story.
While Katrina is terrified of the transformation, she has a kink where she gets off on being robbed of her free will, of being dominated by another, and while she resists this impulse at first, she learns to indulge in this kink as she accepts her new status as an object, a thing. As for Sayaka, though she starts the story as a woman of unquestionable malice, as she sees Katrina’s body turn to stone and realizes that there is no undoing this transformation, her view of the situation starts to change as the story goes on. Her indignation gives way to horror and dread as she brands herself a criminal and monster. And as she grows physically closer to Katrina, undressing and scrubbing her stony form, she awakens a different spectrum of emotions.
It all builds and billows into a story that, while a bit heavy-handed with its erotic elements, is a genuinely compelling work of fiction, and one that ends on an excellent climax that makes the story feel whole and complete… or at least it almost does.
As Katrina the Statue concludes, it has a level of gravitas that you really do not see from most fetish-oriented media, but rather than building off this in an ending that captures this feeling, this theme of becoming a statue, this pristine imagery that I refuse to spoil, it decides to conclude with a gag ending. A gag ending that takes everything the story was building towards and throws it against a wall, where it shatters in a thousand pieces.
Okay, maybe I am overselling it. But I think this ending severely limits this Scenario and caps its quality at very good. If the ending were different, explored the idea of being a statue for all eternity, followed through with the poetic imagery that tops off the climax, and had some soulful music behind it, then this would be a prime contender for a Nigma Box Certified DOPE Award. You were close ChocMint, you were SO close! But you didn’t do it! You missed your one opportunity, your one shot to flow! And that broils my beans. I’ll tell ya that much!
Despite this wasted opportunity, Katrina the Statue is definitely worth checking out even if you, like me, are more ambivalent to inanimate TF stories like this.
Kwumpus Hunt by MechMage – Download – No Flowchart (because of RNG)
Moving onto a Scenario that openly puts gameplay over story, Kwumpus Hunt takes inspiration from the 1973 text adventure, Hunt the Wumpus. A seminal title that tasks players to explore a randomly generated maze-like dungeon in order to avoid hazards, find an elusive arrow, and fire that arrow as the central threat, the titular wumpus, in order to win the game. And… that’s pretty much what Kwumpus Hunt is, but with a Student Transfer flair.
The Scenario follows Mel as she travels through a remixed dream-like version of Tina Koya on a hunt for Kiyoshi who, with the help of the alien remote, has plunged Tina Koya into chaos by transforming or brainwashing the majority of its occupants. With nothing but her wits about her and the ability to sense danger, Mel must travel through the school to find the lone randomly located arrow, and then guesstimate which of several possible areas Kiyoshi might be in. All while avoiding any direct confrontations with any of the mind-slaved teachers or Kiyoshi himself. Because once your paths cross, it’s game over.
It sounds like a pretty simple concept for a game, and it is. But the proceedings are spiced up with the ability to peer into the mist covering each environment in order to figure out what happened before Kiyoshi established his dominance. This leads to a series of entertainingly chaotic anecdotes that show snapshots of Kiyoshi’s descent into a fetishistic overlord (the role he was born to play). Sadly, this is pretty much all the story this Scenario has to offer, and due to the game’s fragmentary structure, you basically need to work backwards in order to understand what truly happens in this story.
I appreciate this experimentation and different approach to narrative delivery. But at the same time… this really is not what I look for from Student Transfer Scenarios. I like being given a good story, I don’t like working for the privilege of understanding a story, and while I think what MechMage attempted here shows some real ingenuity and skill, I consider this Scenario more of a novelty than anything else. Or in other words, while this Scenario does a lot that I admire, it simply is not my cup of tea.
Sayaka Possession by WolfLegs – Download – Flowchart
Continuing with another Scenario with a unique gameplay hook, Sayaka Possession is a Scenario that is designed more as a showcase of gameplay mechanics over story and… in that sense, I guess this is a success. Rather than offer a new story, Sayaka Possession is a remixed version of the Mistaken Identity route from the base game. The one where John turned himself into Sayaka, is forced to act like her thanks to the remote, and where Katrina accidentally turned the real Sayaka into a clone of John. Except instead of transformation and aliens, it’s possession and magic.
I would estimate that something like 96% of this Scenario’s story is lifted from the base game, and with that in mind, the question then is what this Scenario does on a gameplay front and the answer is… sadly underwhelming. While the technical side of this Scenario is a mark above most others on a programming level, the core conceit of this Scenario is to test how well the player can mimic Sayaka’s personality throughout the route, by selecting the correct response during 7 major decision points throughout the game.
Most of these decisions require players to choose between frustratingly similar responses, and these decisions do not actually impact the story in any way. All they do is cause the player to develop a steady number of Sayaka Points, which are tallied up as the story comes to a close and the player is met with one of three endings. Endings where Sayaka congratulates the player for failing to impersonate her by selecting responses that would seemingly be out of character for her and chides the player for emulating her perfectly.
You might think I screwed up my description here, but no. Getting the wrong answers and not acting as Sayaka causes John to remain stuck in Sayaka’s body. But acting like Sayaka and getting the right answers causes John to regain his body. Which is certainly a… unique interpretation.
Overall, I honestly did not find much enjoyable or interesting about Sayaka Possession. Just about everything it wants to do was done better in the Mina Possession route in the base game. Which had more interesting choices, easier to read variables, had proper reactions to player decisions and had long developed endings that lasted more than one line of dialogue. So, um, this is not the worst Scenario I’ve reviewed, but this would be ranked near the bottom on my recommendations list, as it barely offers anything new in a quite literal sense.
The Principal by Omen064 – Download – Flowchart
From the developer of the Scenario Popular, which I reviewed back in part 5, we have The Principal. A Scenario that explores a magic-oriented path where John’s wizardry is discovered by Abby Luten, who, rather than punish the young man for practicing sorcery at her school, decides to use his powers to investigate a phenomenon. Over the past few weeks, many teachers at Tina Koya have been disappearing for hours at a time, only to return to the school with no recollection of where they went or what they did. John naturally abides by her request, and things progress about as one would expect. John investigates, finds some imposing threat he needs to combat, and uses, or misuses, his magic to bring the solution to a close, leading to a wide spectrum of endings.
Ghosts, masturbation, the erasure of one’s self, and TSF funsies ensue, and as a whole, there’s a lot to like about this Scenario. I enjoyed seeing John and Abby form an alliance given how callously she treats him in the AbbySwap route (which is going to be updated in Version 6 by the way). The story feels complete and does everything it needs to. And there is a certain retro feel to this Scenario that, while probably not intentional, made me somewhat nostalgic for the first release of Student Transfer, given its direct and indirect references to the Murder route.
As for criticisms, I don’t really have anything substantial to say. The Scenario achieves its objectives, does so satisfyingly, but it also never reached a point where it wowed or impressed me with its creativity or execution. Still, it is a solid B effort that has some interesting ideas, expands a few under-explored tendrils from the base game, and portrays a typically antagonistic figure in a different light.
Truth or Syn by the7saint7 – Download – Flowcharts (Base, Maid, Mall, Yui)
Truth or Syn is yet another absurdly ambitious and ridiculously robust Student Transfer Scenario that is less a side story and more its own platform. One that features routes by various writers, and more choices and permutations than any Scenario I have encountered thus far, which is saying something. The premise follows John, three weeks seasoned after getting his spellbook, experimenting by summoning a demon. But rather than summoning the queen of placeholders, he instead summons Syn, the goodest and nicest succubus there is. After establishing a friendship with Syn, the Scenario opens up into a series of kink-focused sexually-minded routes that are mangled and arranged in a manner not dissimilar to a dump truck overflowing with spaghetti.
From a navigation and playability perspective, Truth or Syn is the second worst visual novel I have ever played. Instead of having the introduction serve as a clearly organized hub of potential story threads, or following a clear path of progression, it does the opposite. It hides robust and expansive routes behind obscure offshoots and easily missable choices and features a cornucopious excess of variables that occasionally add flavor to certain scenes, but mostly serve as barriers and challenges for players to overcome in order to unlock new content.
In all fairness, the Scenario features the ability to skip to the major routes from the start. But actually finding these routes is reasonable next to the permutations found within these routes, where content is locked beyond four-part variable checks and the mechanical scope of the game expands beyond that of a standard visual novel, and into something closer to a Japanese simulation game.
From a technical perspective, what the7saint7 is doing here is incredibly impressive, and shows his skills as both a programmer and a visual artist. In addition to sporting a plethora of custom edits, character sprites, CGs, and backgrounds, Truth or Syn is also no slouch in terms of animation, and constantly delivers something visually interesting, especially during the Scenario’s bountiful sex scenes. As a creation, I have nothing but admiration and respect for what the developer is doing here, and it is all so many levels beyond anything I would expect from a supremely niche passion project like this.
As a game, however, I did not find it particularly enjoyable, and as somebody who tried, and only somewhat succeeded, in mapping this Scenario out into FOUR flowcharts, I cannot help but think that Truth or Syn is the secretion of a quantifiably mad being. Graphify normally does the hard work for me when I make my own flowcharts, but here I had to experiment and dig through the game’s code to try and make sense of what was happening in-game. So many times throughout this process I thought that I was onto the right path, only to have my assumptions be smacked in the throat with a baseball bat and knocked down the stairs as I learned of a new variable, and had to throw all established rules about formatting into the pyre.
Admittedly, some of this frustration was self-imposed as, on May 1st, 2021, the7saint7 released a flowchart for his Scenario, which I did not discover until the tail-end of my playthrough. However, his flowchart, in addition to reading like a plate of spaghetti, did not feature all permutations and variables that affect things in-game.
Despite my dislike for how this game is arranged, it still has no shortage of finer qualities. Conceptually, I think the Scenario is excellent, serving as a direct and honest exploration of sexual situations using the cast of Student Transfer and whatever kinks the author can show off, while keeping things incredibly… open. Outside of a few instances, the characters are willing, experimental, and generally courteous and understanding with each other and their kinks, openly engaging them while being willing, if not eager, to go on surreal sexual adventures.
The sheer drive, variety, and ambition throughout this Scenario is genuinely awe-inspiring to me as a creator, and the Scenario routinely provided me with nuggets of intrigue as events played out and new permutations opened up, bringing the Scenario in new directions. Such as how the Maid route veers into the incomplete Mansion route, where the player can (potentially) abuse or reform some of the worst people imaginable by becoming their master.
And while I think most of the kinks seen within this Scenario are “lower brain” stuff that lacks much narrative, character, or creative depth, there are more than a handful of instances where the7saint7, and his co-writers, stumble onto a concept that had me silently shouting with joy. The best example of this is easily the Inanimate path in the Yui route, which is weird, disgusting, and filled with so many multiplicatively applied fetishes that it stops being about appealing to any kink and becomes something greater. It tells a structured story, is driven by its characters’ personalities and actions, and has buckets of creative juice gushing from its metaphysical holes! It is something that you have to be an idiot to work your dick to. Because it is better than your dick!
As a whole, Truth or Syn is probably the most “mixed bag” of a Scenario that I have ever played. On one hand, it was a furnace-proportioned nightmare to make these flowcharts, and I never want to touch this Scenario again because of this experience. However, if you have a fondness for the more sexual end of TF fiction, and are using a flowchart to guide your travels, then there is definitely something of worth to be found in exploring what this Scenario offers. Or in other words, yes, I do give it a full recommendation, but please use my flowcharts, or make better ones using my original Draw.io files as a base. Because without a flowchart, playing this Scenario is like spending a day in a dump truck full of spaghetti, cum, and horse cocks.
After a Scenario like Truth or Syn, which I easily spent over 25 hours on, I need a break, so that’s all for now. Ordinarily, I would end things by saying that a new Scenario reviews installment is coming next quarter, but my current slate of “stuff to do” is looking a bit packed at the moment.
Student Transfer Version 6 is coming out soon, meaning I will get my ST fix, and then some. re:Dreamer just got a major overhaul, which warrants a re-review. I am morally obligated to drop everything when NEO: The World Ends With You comes out in July. And if I don’t release Psycho Bullet Festival 2222 by February 2022, I’m going to walk into the lake with a cinder block chained around my neck.
…So, yeah, I am not going to promise anything regarding a Part 9 of these Scenario reviews. Still, feel free to recommend any Scenario to me, and I’ll add it to the list.