High School Daze: Junior Year Review [Indie Spotlight]

Full Release: October 2022

Developer: Hummingbird Games

Genre: Visual Novel

Platform: PC (Itch.io – hummingbird-games.itch.io)

High school; you either love it or hate it. I had a very strong love/hate relationship with high school. It was mainly my friends that I wanted to see every day that prompted me to keep going. Plus, about three teachers made learning fun. Now, I’m not ancient or anything but I’ve been out of high school for almost 10 years now. When I tell yall I avoid games that center around teens like the plague, it’s with good reason. Nowadays, I can’t relate to teenagers and their problems. I’m too preoccupied with crippling debt and depression/anxiety life.

However, within a few minutes of playing this game, I wasn’t stressed out. It didn’t cause me to relieve some weird or traumatic events during my younger years. I enjoyed it and had fun. It wasn’t too far off to where I felt like a stranger in uncharted territory. The characters really bring the game to life and even though we’re a decade apart, I found myself relating to them.

Before I get started I want to give a huge thanks to Hummingbird Games for granting me early access to the full game. The demo is currently available to play so I won’t talk about anything that the demo doesn’t cover and withhold spoilers!

Summary

The most stressful year of high school is also the most fun to be had if you can balance classes, extracurriculars, and the oh-so elusive social life. 

You’re a high school junior starting the second quarter, who until now has made decent grades, held your own on the girls’ weightlifting team, and been through thick and thin with your supportive best friend, Billie Stevenson.

But maybe it’s time to switch things up and cross a few things off your bucket list? After all, there’s more to life than straight As, and maybe old and new friendships can blossom into something more. 

There’s also the spot for future team captain and an annoying rival who can’t seem to take a hint. Maybe you’d be the better choice, or maybe you just don’t care enough to entertain her nonsense in and outside of meets.

And if that wasn’t enough to consider, what about the unresolved question of your ex-best friend? Years of history just don’t evaporate overnight, especially when it’s Lydia Barnhill, and maybe you’ve considered forgiving her. Then again, time doesn’t heal all wounds and you can move on just fine.  

…But it’s only nine weeks before winter break! What’s the worst that could happen?

via high school daze: junior year itch.io page

Features

  • 5 Romance Paths
  • 1 Friendship Path (aro/ace friendly)
  • Different choices lead to different outcomes
  • Unique dialogue and events each playthrough
  • Some snazzy background music
  • Creative backgrounds & visually pleasing character art
  • Customizable MC name

This game is rated 14+ for language.

Conclusion

As with any visual novel game with multiple routes, I always encourage more than one playthrough. Also, I do love the fact there is a route where you don’t have to focus on romance at all. This will definitely come in handy because after all, not everyone is interested in it! I’d also like to shout out the gorgeous artwork done with the backgrounds in various scenes. The watercolor style is so unique and pleasing to me. I’m quite glad the game starts you off in Junior year and am hoping that we will get a Senior year as well!

The main routes are so different from each other that it’s almost hard to pick a favorite. What really shines through is the way the MC is personality-wise. I love that she sticks up for herself and also has integrity. There are bits and pieces of her I saw through myself and it brings it to another level as she interacts with others.

It’s funny because I’m currently watching a show that deals with teenagers and their complicated lives so this was truly fitting for me to play. The witty banter between characters, the fact that the MC is in the weightlifting club, and of course the clear representation throughout the game are only a few reasons why I love it so much. For me, it was the little details. I highly recommend this game if you’re wanting to hop into a time machine and have a little fun.

About the Developer: Hummingbird Games

Hummingbird Games is an indie development studio focused on creating games that are fun, diverse, and combine a love and passion for storytelling with creating more content featuring Black people and PoCs in starring roles. 

If you’d like to show them support, please make sure to follow them on social media and also their itch.io page for updates on the game!

Once again, thanks for reading! Please like, share, subscribe, and/or leave a comment!

*A copy of this game was provided to me by the developer however all thoughts and opinions are unbiased and mine alone.

Posted by

My name is Tequila. My favorite color is blue, my favorite number is 5 and my favorite food is lasagna. I love anime and manga. I also enjoy a good game or two and I love talking about them with anyone who will listen. Do what you will with that information and enjoy my musings.

Leave a Reply