LongStory by Bloom Digital Media is now available on the Nintendo Switch! Learn more about this visual novel dating sim title in our LongStory review!
LongStory puts us in the shoes of a high school student that moved out to Paris for a year and just came back to their hometown, having to start over a social life from the ground up, as you don’t know anyone in the school, other than the bullies from your past. On your first week at school, you meet new people that you can become friends with, which is great, but you also find some strange notes in your locker surrounding a mystery that everyone knows bits of, but no one really wants to talk about. Will you focus on your personal life? Or will curiosity get the best of you?
Although this game is labeled/advertised mainly as a dating sim, you can expect to find more similarities with a story-driven visual novel with integrated dating simulation elements. There are plenty of choices to pick from through the playthrough, the first being yourself! You get to pick a name, a portrait and the pronouns you will use for the rest of the game. You will be faced by with a variety of dialogue choices during the story that will affect things such as like routes, relationships, and scenarios, as is the case for most visual novels, and that is as far as gameplay goes.
Now, the key points for games like this rest on two pillars: story and characters. It is a nice surprise to find that the game does a great job for both! The characters feel fresh and realistic, and the story touches on modern subjects, issues, and themes that are on point with more up to date high school experiences, especially when compared to more standard and, ironically, games that go for old-school high school stories. This game manages to draw from reality while not alienating older audiences and by avoiding “cringe” representation of the current generation.
The game does have many characteristics classic to the dating sim genre, but it doesn’t fall on a tiring and mindless “samey” action grinding like in many others in the category. The routes and relationships feel much more natural, as they affect the story and are affected by it. With five available routes and countless dialogue combinations, you are bound to find a way to play the game just the way you like it.
As previously mentioned, having more than one route means the game shines with some welcomed replay value. Each route can take about six hours to complete, maybe a bit less if you want to skip the parts you already saw in previous routes, which you can do thanks to the forward option. But what if you accidentally forwarded too much and you have missed some important text? Fear not, as the game also includes a back button, taking you back to the last time you had to make a choice. Comes pretty handy when you want to experiment around with different dialogue options!
The art style shines through, giving the game a special and identifiable feeling, definitely achieving a memorable style that feels fresh and helps it stand out in its genre. All and all, LongStory has a lot to offer if you like narrative-driven games, visual novels, or dating simulators. I would definitely recommend it as a more player-friendly introduction to the genre, as it brings enough content to hook you in, but it’s not too overwhelming. It is a great pick for people looking for a casual game to spend a handful of evenings with as you play through different routes.
This LongStory review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by bloomdigital.to.