I’m not sure where I stand with games that have multiple endings, especially in the visual novel genre. On one hand having multiple endings can encourage multiple playthroughs, but I prefer the one-and-done approach with visual novels.
Arriving at a new school can be daunting, even more so when it’s a school of magic…
Fortunately you have found something that might increase your chances of successful entrance, a ritual that should greatly enhance your innate magical ability, but transforms your body. Now you must deal with the repercussions of the spell, as you begin your training to join the ranks of the Royal Academy of Magi.
Do you have what it takes to join the Royal Academy of Magi in a new highschool romance story.
Magi Trials is the sequel to Highschool Romance, which Gamuzumi released on the Nintendo Switch last year. While Magi Trials is a sequel, it’s a sequel in name only. Though the Nintendo Switch release doesn’t actually use the “Highschool Romance” prefix, the story shares some of the themes of the original game.
Instead of the highschool setting of the original game, this time the story takes place at a magical academy. Shaun, the protagonist of the story, has the same task of hiding his true identity and pretending to be a girl, though this time it’s more than simply dressing the part. Preparing for the entrance exam he accidentally transforms himself into a girl. With the aid of one of the Magi instructors who finds out about the accident, he tries to make it at the school.
Much like the first Highschool Romance game, the art in the game is all very well done. Though a departure from the typical anime inspired look to the characters in many other visual novels, the character designs are unique. I don’t mean that in a negative way though as it creates a nice charm to this world and helps set it apart.
Aside from the unique looks to the characters, the physical designs of the characters are just as appealing. Sexy characters are universal.
The story itself is pretty good. With Sophie (the female name given to him by his instructor) having failed the entrance exam, she is given a second chance to practice for a retest with Magi Shira. Shira takes Sophie on as apprentice to train her for the retest, along with fellow apprentice Charlie. The rest of the story goes through the ups and downs of the pair of girls training to retake the entrance exam.
The game presents multiple choices throughout the story. Not only are there small choices here and there in conversation, but there are also several bigger choices that occur during combat. The choices made eventually lead to one of several different endings.
While I like the idea of multiple choices leading to multiple paths, there are a lot of different times that you can make a choice. At the same time as a completionist, one of the things that I like to do in games are collect the collectibles, in this case CG images. With so many possible branching paths, it’ll be hard to collect them all.
I went back after finishing the story (there are 8 possible endings in total) to unlock more of the character galleries. I doing so and selecting different options I was able to uncover more of the overall plot and get a sense of the true motivations of some of the characters.
I would have rather had the full scope of the story revealed in one playthrough however. Skipping through already read story sequences on fast forward lessens the impact of the story when you see the same bit of story blur by multiple times, even if it does expand the story.
I did really enjoy the writing of the game, as well as the look and feel of the game. I would have preferred that the game had less choices and fewer endings in exchange for a longer main narrative.