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Roommates review for PS4, Xbox One, Switch


Platform: PS4
Also on: PC, Switch, Xbox One
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: WinterWolves
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: T

Roommates doesn’t exactly put its best foot forward. Right off the bat, you’re welcomed to the opening menu by pop-punk that simultaneously manages to be incredibly generic and incredibly annoying. Even as someone who loved the genre back in its heyday — and who still has strong nostalgia for the likes of blink-182 — I was scrambling for my remote to turn down the music because of how terrible it was. It doesn’t get any better once the game actually begins, since you’re subjected to the same blaring guitars on repeat. The small mercy here is that at least you don’t have to listen to the vocals for the entire game, but the music itself is still lousy enough that I soon decided to just keep it muted, for my sanity’s sake. So that’s strike one.

Strike two is the fact this is a game about college roommates is a school called Liberty University. There’s a real school called Liberty University and…well, it’s a little controversial. Admittedly, seeing as Roommates is a visual novel/dating sim about pairing one of the main characters off with one of his or her roommates, and that one of the dating options is same-sex, it’s quite possible that the choice of school name is meant as a big, trolling wink on the part of the developers. While that’s kind of admirable on some level — particularly seeing as the developers boast on their main Twitter of having a second, much more NSFW Twitter — it still gives that school much more attention than it deserves.

Strike three takes a little while longer to reveal itself, but it quickly becomes clear that Roommates is a pretty abysmal visual novel. The characters are all obnoxious stereotypes — one’s artsy, another’s a rocker, one’s slutty, and so on — and nothing they do or say makes them remotely interesting. Given that the game is all about directing either the nerdy Anna or the rocker Max to find their loves, and they do that by getting to know their housemates, you can see why that’s a bit of an issue.

Roommates just also isn’t that interesting beyond the story. Visually, the characters are even less interesting than what you usually see in visual novels: they only have couple of facial expressions and poses, and even when the settings change, the expressions and poses stay the same, with the outfits changing occasionally.

Even worse, for some reason the developers think that establishing daily routines is a key part of what makes visual novels interesting, so you have to set your character’s schedule for each week. It’s about as thrilling as you’d imagine scheduling would be. On top of that, if you want to see multiple endings, you need to play through the game several times; I can assure you, it gets no more interesting the seventh or eighth time, particularly since nothing changes all that much from one playthrough to the next.

To recap: the characters are bad, the story is dull, the visuals are uninteresting, the music is awful, the gameplay is repetitive even by the standards of the genre. Basically, there’s nothing good about Roommates, and there’s no reason whatsoever to play it.

Ratalaika Games provided us with a Roommates PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: D