There are elaborate April Fools’ Day jokes, but making an entire dating – er, FRIENDSHIP simulator for April Fools’ Day, complete with a credits song, is several cuts above what is even remotely normal.
Seriously, what the heck?
As a joke game, this certainly doesn’t take itself overly seriously, and yet at the same time, it has about the same production values – if not somewhat *better* production values – than your average visual novel, even if it is quite short.
You are a student at Aether High, and tonight is the HOMECOMING DANCE. And you don’t have a date yet! Fortunately for you, there are twelve characters in this game for you to chat up and try to befriend in the homes of getting in their good graces and going to the dance with them.
This game is completely ridiculous, seeing as it recasts the main characters of Rivals of Aether – a fighting game – into high school stereotypes out of some sort of silly Japanese high school slice of life anime.
This is not a great dating sim, nor is it a work of high art. But the way it spoofs various tropes seen in such high school settings, as well as the general absurdity of a bunch of fighting game characters being deliberately awkwardly recast as high school students, made it work.
Most of the characters are pretty shallow, but because the game is so short, it doesn’t really matter – everything is in service to the gags, of which there are many. The game definitely leans a bit on the randumb side, and it was one of those “I did it for the lulz” things, but at the same time, it was kind of fun seeing all the silly dialogue that the game’s creator decided to put in here. It actually made me laugh out loud several times, something all too many games that are trying to be funny fail to make me do, so I definitely had some fun with this.
However, not all of the characters are equally funny, and this game certain is very much spray and pray with its humor, trying just about everything from anti-jokes to random plot twists to characters being so awkwardly shallow that it wraps around and becomes funny again.
Aesthetically, I have no complaints – the characters are all well-drawn, as are the environments, and while there aren’t all that many of them, the artist did know what they were doing. Oddly for the genre, the characters are not overly sexualized, with only one real (and surprisingly male) exception – and that exception is a running gag about steroid abuse. The game even has a song that you can play at the end of it! How many games have such things, let alone April Fool’s Day joke games?
If you’re hoping for an in-depth dating sim… well, you’re looking at the wrong game, this is an April Fools’ Day gag, albeit an elaborate one.
But if you’re into absurd comedy, this might just be up your alley.