Another week and another Ratalaika Games visual novel is published. This week it’s the turn of Roommates. Remember the days you could go to college/university and enjoy Freshers week and the usual university activities before the pandemic? Well, this is what Roommates offers, a glimpse into the life and trials of further education living with fellow students.
Roommates starts off at the very first day of your college life. You get the choice of choosing between which character you want to play Roommates with. There is wannabe rock star Max, who’s somewhat in your face and has a very high opinion of himself and the other option is Anne, who has gone to college to actually learn something, she’s the ying to Max’s yang as she is a much more timid and reserved personality. After making your choice you then take part in what could be described as a dating simulation, very similar to what you have experienced before in visual novels, you progress the story and try to romance one of the many characters you come across.
At the start of each week, you get to choose how you plan your week. You choose the activities you want to take part in the morning, afternoon and evenings of each day. This adds some micro managing to Roommates which some will enjoy. There is a range of activities to choose from such as going to study, taking an early night, going to the pub, work experience in an office, play chess and so on. Each activity improves one of your attributes, these attributes affect how your story in Roommates progresses and also the likelihood of getting romantically involved with someone else. Some activities require money so you need to take on some part time work, the more money you have, the more you can do, but you also need to make sure you get enough rest and do enough story.
There are a few characters you can try to get closer to. Max and Anne can actually romance each other, but there are several others whose affections you can try to attract. There’s Isabella, who’s a party animal, Rakesh is the classic eccentric artist, Sally is your standard girl next door type and there is also Dominic. They all come across a tad on the generic side, but the general gameplay and story of Roommates is more positive than most, so you get some happy enjoyment trying to get these characters to fall in love with you. You build up to Spring Break where you choose who to pursue and try to follow through as you approach the summer. Roommates is one of the more interactive visual novels. You will end up making a lot of choices, but you can also skip many of these “events”. Obviously skipping these events means you will miss out on some of the experience whilst also reducing your chances with certain characters depending what you are skipping. There are several different endings for Max and Anne, so there is a lot of replayability in Roommates.
Roommates comes across like an American College/Teen sitcom in both appearance, subject matters and musically. The intro is very catchy and most of the characters are over sexualised but the stories in general are quite upbeat, there’s very little in terms of any dark subject matters. Visually Roommates is very vibrant and over the top in its design and appearance, it’s definitely has one of the more positive and softer stories you will find compared to the average visual novel. There isn’t much depth to the story, nor will you get particularly engrossed into it, it’s just a nice story to be part of that doesn’t really push any boundaries.
Roommates is a reasonable visual novel that is quite upbeat, it just lacks an interesting story to take you past what is effectively a dating sim with some micro management. If you enjoy visual novels, then Roommates is one to add to the list more from an experience point of view, if you don’t or haven’t tried one yet then Roommates is probably not one to play first. Roommates is a pretty looking title, it’s just unable to pull you into caring enough about what happens to any of the characters unfortunately, it’s definitely more friend zone than passionate love.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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Gameplay - 6/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
User Review( votes)
Play as Max or Anne as you try to find love on campus whilst maintaining your education in Roommates.