School is out for the summer! Time to put away the notebooks, close the study guides, and sell those old textbooks online. While you’re bathing in the sunlight and eating ice cream by the pool, a gnawing feeling might creep up. While you may not be longing for all the homework, you may be missing the routine of school and all the good times that come with it.
Capture the ambiance and rekindle school vibes, while still enjoying the free time of summer vacation, with these academic-themed visual novels!
Blooming Panic: nightowl’s Route
Blooming Panic by robobarbie is a free visual novel that was originally released for Otome Jam 2021 and expanded in its Full Bloom edition. The visual novel is not inherently about academia. Rather than taking place in a school, the story happens on an online chat server. However, some of the members are students in high school or college. nightowl is a university student and one of the game’s four main love interests. As you get to know this creative and energetic man, you find out more about his struggles in college. The budding architect’s route will be relatable to many players who may have also spent late nights staying up all night studying, trying to cram in last-minute homework assignments, or even procrastinating.
While spending your late nights with nightowl, you’ll recapture the feeling of being a student again, all while never having to go back and do any of the hard work yourself, at least until summer is over! It helps that nightowl is a cutie with a heart of gold, so those late-night video calls will be sure to entertain you!
You can read about Blooming Panic in our review, or our interview with developer robobarbie!
Backstage Pass: Benito’s Route
Backstage Pass, developed by sakevisual, is a well-loved otome game featuring four main love interests and several endings. It’s a stat raising game which allows the player to influence the outcome by wearing certain outfits, raise affection with characters by asking them on dates, and of course maintain your work and school life.
You play as Sian, a celebrity makeup artist for your childhood best friend and newly popular rockstar Adam. You still have to navigate your college life, despite the glitz and glam your life may begin to bring! You’ll meet Benito, a young magician, on your college campus. In his route, you’ll be spending time getting to know Sian’s academic side as opposed to her more glamorous makeup artist gig. Sian will still have to attend classes, study, and make new friends.
This game is pretty faithful to the average college experience (minus the megastar childhood BFF), and there’s something fun and nostalgic about playing through it!
You can check out Backstage Pass on both Steam and itch.io.
I’m a Pencil
I’m a Pencil is a short, free visual novel released by Roomah Gaming for NaNoRenO 2021. The premise of this game is pretty simple—you’re learning more about the life of, as the title suggests, a pencil! What writing utensil do most people think of when their mind drifts to school? Even the game acknowledges the widespread use of pencils in the classroom from the beginning.
However, what makes this game rekindle the feelings of the school year is the art and UI. With lined paper being used as a textbox and the game art being colored doodles, the visual novel looks like it’s coming straight out of the pages of your very own notebook. There are doodles in the corners of the screen as well, which remind me of the days that I used to draw in the margins of my notes.
The game is short and the narrative is funny. Playing this one won’t be a waste of time!
What visual novels remind you of school? Let us know in the comments below!