Roommates is a dating visual novel game developed by Winter Wolves. These kinds of games can be unique and clichéd at the same time. Roommates was just that. Let’s see if it was worth it.
You have a choice of playing one of two characters: Max or Anne. I played as Anne for my first playthrough. I like it when dating sims allow you to date whoever you want regardless of gender. In Roommates, that’s almost the case. You can choose your character’s sexuality by going after who you want, but the game gives the other character their own sexualities. For example, playing as Anne, I couldn’t go after Sally because she’s straight but I could date her if I played as Max. I thought this was a nice touch. It made the characters more real.
My character was a freshman moving into a housing unit at college with five roommates. Each character has their own distinct personality and, for the most part, they got along well. A lot of the scenes were pretty crazy with stereotypical college student behavior (partying, drinking, etc.) but the writing was funny for most of it so it was enjoyable.
This isn’t the first visual novel dating sim game I’ve come across in a school setting. This game isn’t just about talking with your friends and making decisions based on who you want to date. There’s a bit of strategy involved.
Roommates lasts about 21 weeks, each day of week consisting of three parts: morning, afternoon, and evening. You get a schedule you’re able to fill at the end of each week. Depending on your activities, you’ll earn different stats.
This is where the game got a bit annoying for me.
Each character starts off with a friendship level of zero which can get up to 100. You gain or lose points depending on your decisions throughout the game. They also have certain stats they prefer as well. For example, Dominic has organized and rational stats. In order to boost your own organized and rational stats (if you’re focused on dating Dominic) is to put certain activities on your schedule such as tabletop role-playing or working at the bookstore.
You need these stats to get up to 100 or 150 respectively in order to unlock a romance scene with the person of your choice halfway through the game. Then it doubles to 200 and 300 respectively to unlock the romance scene at the end of the game. This was extremely difficult and I had the game on the easy difficulty.
Unless you know what you’re doing from the get-go, this forces you to play multiple times because it’s hard to get any sort of ending with the person of your choice during your first playthrough.
Of course, it’s a dating sim with multiple endings so you’re bound to want to play this game more than once. However, it depends on how much you like the story and the characters. The story was just okay for me. I won’t say too much due to spoilers.
I did like the characters though. I liked each of them in their own way. However, the relationship stats didn’t always make sense to me. You’d gain or lose points depending on your choices or sometimes the status wouldn’t change at all, so I assumed there were neutral options. These didn’t always make sense, as did some of the scenes that took place throughout. Some scenes were funny while others had me scratching my head wondering what the point was and why it was added to the game.
I assume some scenes felt incomplete based on past decisions I’d made. I might not have had enough stats or relationship points to unlock certain parts. You wouldn’t know though unless you played through again. Again, this is fine, but during the first playthrough, this is quite jarring.
Overall, the visuals were appealing. The colors were crisp and the character and background designs were well done. This isn’t the worst dating sim I’ve played but it’s also not the best. I still had a good time with it though.