Balancing school and your love life isn’t always easy, but with enough effort it can happen!
- System: PC, Nintendo Switch
- Publisher: Navila Software Japan
- Developer: Navila Software Japan
- Release Date: October 9, 2018
Who it Caters to
School life certainly isn’t easy, especially when you have a lot to prepare for in order to become successful. When romance enters the fray then that challenge becomes even more taxing, but of course the reward for having a girlfriend is that you can take her out on dates! Gaokao.Love.100 Days is the latest simulation adventure title from indie company Navila Software Japan, who may not be well known but be rest assured that this title will entice you. Anyone who enjoys visual novels and romantic adventures will certainly find Gaokao.Love.100 Days to be a worthwhile experience because it’s fun, quirky, and actually quite intriguing. You have 100 days to woo your high school crush before the two of you venture off towards the National College Entrance Exam, where there won’t be any time for hugs and kisses, just a lot of concentration and aiming for a high score. Just how will you learn to balance yourself to ensure that you can handle your studies and a girlfriend?!
What to Expect
One thing to note about Gaokao.Love.100 Days is that you’re only given 3 languages, and the voice acting is in Chinese. Many people by now are probably more comfortable hearing Japanese voice overs but to be quite honest, this provides a nice breath of fresh air towards the overall experience. While you may not understand what the characters are actually saying, the subtitles are there for you to keep up with so you don’t fall behind. What’s also quite interesting is how the game is based off of actual real school life in China, and how studying hard for success is a major requirement. This is perhaps more of an East Asian approach to education but it certainly gives players in the west a good idea of just how different the lifestyle is when it comes to schooling and romantic endeavors. What’s even more surprising about Gaokao.Love.100 Days is that, unlike your conventional dating simulators that have you work your way up the emotional ladder to eventually win that girls heart, you already start out in one and it’s pretty much your responsibility to maintain it while in school. It’s really cool because it reflects the real life aspects of life, where students who are in school must learn the ropes of not only aiming for a high test score but understanding the role they must play when in a budding relationship.
In Gaokao.Love.100 Days you play as the main protagonist who finds a love interest named Muxin, who becomes emotionally involved with you all while trying to prepare for arguably China’s hardest and most enduring examination named the Gaokao Exam. This exam determines what University or College you attend based on the score you receive on the examination and so you, Muxin and your childhood friends Xiaohan (childhood sweetheart) and Stom must work very hard to pass and hopefully continue to maintain long lasting relationships.
Gaokao.Love.100 Days looks splending on the Nintendo Switch and doesn’t disappoint in this category. The character designs look stellar and perhaps even rival that of the more Japanese oriented style, giving the game a very stylish look that stands out in its own way. It’s by no means perfect at all and it’s clear there’s some inspiration taken from Japanese illustration, but it definitely helps to create more connection between you and the game.
The voice acting we thought was really nice even though we weren’t able to really understand what was being said. It makes sense since this game takes place in China and so having another language like say Japanese in a game like this would be somewhat off putting, and would take away the authenticity of what the game is trying to emphasize. The background music as you play is well done and changes depending on the mood but also the results you receive throughout the game which again help to evoke more emotion.
As we mentioned earlier in the review, Gaokao.Love.100 Days starts you off in a relationship, and it becomes your sole responsibility to learn how to maintain it. Of course you’ll also need to maintain your study regimen since the more you slack off and simply give your attention towards Muxin, it will directly affect your overall test results. In addition, you’re also trying to hide the relationship from the public eye, most notably at school. Your parents are extremely strict and want only the best from you, and so mentioning even one word of a relationship and they’ll want it cut off immediately. This speaks to the actual reality of the current education system within East Asia, where young students must endure long hours of study in order to take an examination that ultimately decides their future in education but also society. It’s highly stressful and unforgiving at times, so students in this similar type of scenario find themselves doing exactly what we do within the game, pretend to not be in love and turn a blind eye to the idea of love being a part of your daily routine.
From a westerners point of view playing the game for the first time, you’re given somewhat of a new perspective on just how things are in other parts of the world, and how daily life is conducted for young people. While it certainly isn’t favorable by our western standards, it just goes to show you how education plays a major role in the livelihood of those outside of that western hemisphere. While playing through the game, you start to understand the feelings of the students as you become more emotionally involved, listening to the issues that other students have and how it’s affecting them. It’s a realistic day-to-day life that you’re simulating which is unlike any other dating sim we’ve ever played, and that’s a truly good thing. Oftentimes we’re thrown into a fantasy world where ultimately the end results in you falling madly in love, and the usual daily issues that are prevalent in society are non-existent. If they do exist it’s not really an area that’s in plain sight and much of the plot plays around it.
In Gaokao.Love.100 Days you’re thrown right into a real life predicament, and the more you become immersed in the story, the more fascinating things become. Not only do you need to maintain high scores in certain subjects like Math, Chinese, or English, but you also need to exercise and maintain good health to stay focused. Any sort of drop in one area directly reflects the other, all interconnected in some way and determines how your parents respond to you. Any drop in score and your parents will scold you frequently, whereas if you study hard and keep your score well above the minimum, their reaction changes entirely. This sounds perhaps too real for a video game but, to be honest, it paints a picture for us that totally brings down any sort of preconceived notions prior to playing, and truly teaches you something.
Not many games tend to leave a lasting mark on you where after playing, you actually start to look at life differently and show gratitude for what you have. What’s ironic however is that, despite this game taking place in school, where grammar plays a role in your study, Gaokao.Love.100 Days has quite a number of spelling and grammatical errors that create some odd moments. The way in which you and other students communicate is thrown off by the consistent punctual mistakes and at times, some of the phrases didn’t make much sense to us. In spite of all of this though, we still had a good time with Gaokao.Love.100 Days and its realistic approach to dating as well as teaching us just how hard it can be at times for students to succeed in such a highly competitive society.
Anyone looking for a fresh new take on dating simulation and adventure should definitely give Gaokao.Love.100 Days a shot, because its unique approach to how you play is very stimulating. Making sure to balance out your love life and school life are challenging but it really puts you in the driver's seat, and the outcome all depends on how well you cope with the stress around you. It’s not a very long game to play through but it’s a worthwhile one that will have you coming back to do another run through each to see just how things change if you were to slack off more, or perhaps ignore your relationship. We’ll leave that to you to discover with its 10 storylines!
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