Gamer’s Paradigm – School 26

Posted on May 10 2011

Canada’s first entirely female owned and operated video game developer, known as Silicon Sisters Interactive, is out to create “games for girls” games made by females, for females.

The way Silicon Sisters Interactive operates is not by painting current games pink, they actually do research and stuff and make games girls want to play.

And no, cooking mama doesn’t count.

The studio’s first game, School 26, was released on April 21st on Apple’s App Store for your iTems for the low price tag of $2.99 USD.

Title Screen

The game has been engineered for young girls, aged 12 to 16 and focuses on the school life of a young girl trying to find her place in a school she has just transferred in to. As a 23 year old male who only ever went to private schools, I find that I am the best person for the job of reviewing this game.

The game begins introducing you to who you’ll be playing the role of, it is strongly suggested that her name is Kate.

I decided otherwise

Brie has embarrassing parents, because who doesn’t at this young age? But her’s are a special breed of embarrassing, according to our backstory, her parents are either very attuned to the spiritual world, or they’re crazy. We’re going to go with the first one, as our protagonette is working on developing her own empathic abilities.

Because of her parents’ job she’s been to 25 different schools, and she’s intent on not being the social outcast this time, and making school 26 her last.

Oh, I see what they did there.

Her parents promised that if she can make friends, build social links, take responsibility for her actions, and awaken to her persona, all within the timespan of one year there will be no more moving around.

You begin the game at the start of the school year, there are no specific instructions on controls or your current goal, but assuming you’re not the type of person who likes to just sit there and wait for the game to tell you what to do, the controls are fairly intuitive and simple: touch the screen to make stuff happen.

You make your way over to Mr. Aziz who bears a striking resemblance to a certain dashing treasure hunter. His rugged good looks aside you engage him in conversation.

We quickly learn that the title Mr. stems from the fact that he is your English teacher.

Not only that, but we learn that he is a pretty straightforward guy.

He reinforces this point by telling you that his classes will probably not be boring.

He then proceeds to make a lighthearted joke and winks.

As this is a game that centers around your choice of how you wish to deal with your relationships with people, I have decided that this act of flirtatiousness is uncalled for from a professional such as Mr. Drake, who at this point is now contemplating the error of his ways.

He quickly tries to change the subject to hide his obvious blunder, but I see through his ruse. You will not get the best of me, you or your well defined chin.

As a reward for not succumbing to his advances I am given a star.

He is obviously not dismayed by my lack of approval of his now seemingly belligerent behavior, and seems to assume I am merely playing hard to get. I must watch out for this man, as he will likely become a stumbling block in my journey to the status of social butterfly.

With very little tact he continues his advances by trying to impress me with his high-stakes lifestyle of gambling, women, and pleasure.

He then admits to me that he more than likely routinely gambles away the paycheck my parent’s tax money funds.

Mr. Aziz, if you are trying to impress young girls with your wiles, it would do you better not to mention that you are married.

He tries to laugh off his misfortune by implicating that the money my parent’s pay him is of no value. Yet I am certain that if he were to suddenly find himself living in a world where his income was cut off, he would find that money has great value when it comes to keeping your house.

Apparently to this man, his circle of students he engages in this sort of relationship with are what is really of value to him. I am filled with mistrust

After telling me that the best kind of love is unconditional love from people such as “future partners” I again express my distaste.

As a reward for my deduction I am told that I have insight into this man. It would seem I have figured out his poorly disguised ruse.

He tells me he wishes to give me an exam, and without warning asks me how adept I am at managing my relationships.

Not gracing his question with a vocal response, I simply narrow my eyes.

I am now brought to a mini-game where I am to manipulate the man’s emotions to stabilize his irrational thinking. Psychonauts never covered the kind of ground that this man surely has lurking in the depths of his mind.

After toying with his emotions, he sends me off to meet my classmates.

From here I am able to return to my locker, which acts as a central hub for the game. Here you can view the status of your relationships with your classmates, take fun quizzes, check your text messages, play with the settings, or take on relationship missions.

Let’s do that last one.

Ignoring the fact that this school apparently has co-ed bathrooms, we begin to crack open the fragile shell that is Thomas. The basic method for relating to your friends is emulating how they feel, and doing your best to empathize with them.

Or just pick the same color circle they are and you’ll do alright.

Breaking this game down into its core components, it’s a fun, casual game where you can mostly just sit back and learn new things about the somewhat typical, yet endearing characters. It sort of reminds me of a dating sim, but from the oft overlooked female perspective. The music is catchy and the art and animation are fun.

Plus it’s a nice distraction from flinging irritated foul at discolored pigs.

Whichever way you look at it, at a price tag of $2.99 it will support a good studio filled with good people out there to make a difference in the way games are made, and that enough is worth every penny.

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  • Bryant Drew Jones | Spry Bry May 11, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    […] A delightfully charming review of School 26 🙂 […]

  • EagleEyes May 11, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    Ohhh cooking mama, how you scare me so.

  • toyNN May 11, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    I’m not in the demographic, I not own iThing, but the game has a great look and play looks fun.

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