|Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble|
|Genre||Mystery Parlor Board Game|
|MtAMinutes to Action||3|
|Score||7 Gameplay: 8
Fun Factor: 6
Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble! is an indie PC game released this year. It's a computer board game at heart with lots of puzzles mixed in and a mystery to solve at high school. DHSGiT (I think that's the only time I'll use that acronym, ever) is a period game set in America's roaring twenties and features a large cast of funny and well written characters. Tons of original art and gameplay is promised by the developer, Mousechief, who actually emailed me back in July and requested I give their game a review (and yes, I do take requests).
This is my first review of an independently made game, and I think I'll do more of them in the future. They typically offer such a unique experience that is simply not found anywhere else. I have a few other in mind that I think are worthy of a one hour go. But for the game at hand, let's get into the first hour of Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble!
(minutes are in bold)
00 - I select Start Game and the first hour of Dangerous High School Girls begins. First things first, pick out the Queen of my gang. There are a bunch of cards laid out with different portraits on them. As I highlight the girl, her stats are shown underneath. The four stats are popularity, savvy, rebellion, and glamour.
01 - I select Myrtle, who's not particularly grand in anything, but looks kind of like a slut. "My bounty of love mustn't ever fall into one person's hands." Point proven.
02 - Recruit three more girls is my first task. Then we'll investigate the mysterious nurse.
03 - I enter the Art and Music room, Gladys is inside. She has taunted me!
04 - The first one to lose all hearts loses, so the point is to dishearten each other. Ouch. I insult her social status and she goes down quickly.
06 - Gladys joins up! Time to proceed to another room. It's the Stoolie Girl in the lunchroom. She quickly insults me, but Myrtle is one tough harlot.
07 - All right, I think I have the basics figured out about the taunting game, it's pretty much just like the insult sword fighting from the Monkey Island series! Throw out a taunt, and get a response. If they don't know the correct retort, then they lose hearts, otherwise, they defend and you do. It's pretty simple, but the goal is to win AND collect the insults/retorts, as you have to get zinged first before you can fight back.
09 - Stoolie mentioned something about blackmailing the nurse, so now I'm able to try an Expose tactic against Deborah in the gym.
11 - That was an interesting game, basically Deborah had a secret sentence for me, and I could reveal only a certain number of words to it, then I had to guess the last two. Her secret to getting good grades is to put extra efforts to certain teachers... sleazy.
12 - I'm told to follow Deborah, as she has cornered the Stoolie Girl. I get lucky and click on the Shady Tree, that's where they are! You can tell where people are by the tokens on the board, but one token doesn't necessarily mean one person.
13 - This time I get the choice of Exposing Stoolie with Myrtle, or insulting her with Gladys. I'm going to stick with Exposing.
14 - I'm left with about 10 words to guess... no way I can get this.
15 - All right, the words that were presented to me actually made it pretty easy to guess. She says "I hope you have the next accident!" I wish I knew more about what was going on. Deborah has joined up.
16 - Helen is next on my recruiting list, we play a game called Fib.
17 - Okay, that was weird, the game told me which buttons to click and I won... I may have more trouble doing that one next time around. Helen joins up while Bully Girl approaches. She asks what I know about the fire this morning. I'm going to taunt with Deborah.
18 - I destroy her in one turn, but of course didn't learn any retorts!
19 - Heh, the game throws up the Buy option, I'll keep doing my first hour for now, see how it turns out after that.
20 - Myrtle and the gang approach Liar Girl on the patio, time to expose her truths!
22 - Ouch, my first loss, guessed the wrong word. Not sure if I was punished any way though. I take it to the hallways where Liar Girl is also stalking. Ah, seems to be the same expose!
23 - Beating Liar Girl and gathering some more information about the fire was much easier the second time around. I now have the option of boosting Myrtle's talents. Like she needs any help. I'm going to increase my popularity, which will help my taunting.
25 - The girls decide to have a Pow-Wow, where we discuss everything we've learned.
26 - We decide we need to talk to the new maintenance man. We enter the administration office... Inside is the nurse *gasp* and the secretary. They both have Trouble cards.
27 - I decide to take on the nurse with Myrtle. Oh, time ran out for the day, too much investigating for one afternoon! Ah, there's a little time keeper in the top left corner. 8 AM now.
29 - Helen parleys with the secretary, a scroogy looking old guy. He says to meet the new janitor, we need a hall pass, and will have to take him on a fib, expose, or taunt. Guess I'll try fibbing with Gladys.
31 - I'm thinking I'm getting the hang of that, basically you have five cards and you try to "fib" about how good your hand is. I lost though, outsmarted by a secretary.
32 - Oh no! Gladys went away and won't be back for five hours! Sore loser. I decided to expose with Deborah.
33 - So many words left to guess... and I fail on the first one. Deborah is gone for two hours now. This guy is tough.
34 - Taunting with Helen failed too, badly. Though I did learn a new retort and taunt. She's also gone for five hours, leaving only Myrtle with the fib game.
35 - NOOOO! We lose, crap. Start a new game or load a saved one, well, I never saved. My loss!
37 - This time I'm going with Clara, she has a high popularity but looks like a boring book nerd.
38 - Clara proves to be an excellent taunter, I bring Hazel down to size and she joins up.
40 - Stoolie Girl goes down in a wave of nasty taunts and retorts. What is a Stoolie anyway?
45 - I go through the process of recruiting more girls, Deborah and Helen again, and confronting the bully and liar. Time to go head to head with the secretary again! Same conversation with him before our battle, too bad.
47 - I lose a game of exposing but get a full house in a game of fib... this could be it!! He says he has four of a kind, I call. I got him!
48 - The maintenance man is in the basement, here we go.
50 - Ugh, I lose on the last word of expose. He didn't have much time for what??? I chose Deals but another option was Mounting. Sounded way too sexual when he was talking about the woman he loved.
51 - Oh, time for "her." Should have known.
53 - I chat with him about the fire this morning and the improvements he made on the school, but didn't learn very much. Now the game instructs me to interview some boys. I figured this was an all girls school.
54 - Under the Shady Tree are three people, Lucille, the bully girl (DANGER), and a rebel boy (TROUBLE!). Well, the boy seems like a good target. Haha, he has an eye patch on. This is a weird school. I decide to flirt with him.
56 - Flirting is another mini-game where the boy has a "pattern of desire". He throws out a heart and you have to return a particular suit back, such as spades. Do this five times and you've got him hooked!
57 - Whenever you beat someone at their game, a quick message flies by that is always gone before I can read it. Kind of annoying.
58 - It's time to challenge Mildred at the bleachers, she says, "Down with mass production! Support proud craftsmanship!" Kind of a weird thing to shout at a high school. I also have the portrait of the rebel boy in my corner, wonder if he will help somehow?
59 - Zing, she beats me handily at the taunting game. Seems like Mildred's antics have incited a rebellion within my ranks. Nothing seems to come of it though.
60 - It's the dapper boy on the patio, Hazel will flirt this one down from his pedestal. They flatter and flirt back and forth as I guess his pattern, I end up figuring it out pretty easily and now he stands with Hazel! Well, that's the end of the first hour of Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble!
Time for some scores out of 10.
Minutes to Action: 3
Being a board game, Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble is pretty simple to play. Select a person to confront, talk to them for a bit, and then challenge them to a game. Obviously playing the games is the meat of the game, and there's a decent variety of things to keep the game interesting, at least for its first hour. They're balanced quite well that some of them I found pretty challenging. I'm really able to appreciate that, especially knowing that it was developed by such a small studio. I'm mostly curious on whether or not there's more games to be had, as I was still encountering them near the end with the flirting game. I think that if I knew there were more, I would definitely be interested in going on. Either way, the first hour is pretty good.
Fun Factor: 6
Not sure if this is really the genre for me, but I did enjoy an hour of it. Dangerous Girls is pretty much just a collection of fun mini-games with a loose story connecting them, so if you're into parlor games and 1920's intrigue, you will probably really get a kick out of it. I will admit that things didn't really draw me in like I expected them to.
Graphics and Sound: 7
I'm not sure how much I like the isometric view of the school in Dangerous Girls. It's at such a dramatic angle everything looks stretched. Fortunately, the focus is typically on the character cards and the current game at hand, and that looks pretty good. The characters are well detailed, especially the non-player characters. While playing the games, things can feel a bit crowded but I looked for something that didn't belong and couldn't find anything. I think it's just that feeling from the stacking graphics that you don't see that often these days. The music is a collection of snippets of well known parlor songs from the period, nothing lasts too long and you're usually in silence. Not that big of a deal though.
I'm kind of confused about this one, as far as I can tell, Dangerous Girls wants to tell a mystery story, but you're pretty much given nothing to start off with. Why do you want to ally with these other girls? Was there a fire in the kitchen? Do I care? I was never really provided with a reason to connect, and I think that is the biggest thing missing in the first hour of the game. Though that's not a huge issue, because the mini-games really drive the game in my opinion, and if you enjoy them, it probably won't be much of a challenge of continuing.
It may seem a little unusual to review the first hour of what is essentially a board game, but I've never reviewed an indie game and it was a special request, I would never have known about it otherwise! I had a good time but I'm not sure if it's what I would enjoy playing for a developer's estimated 20 hours. But if you like playing virtual board games with lots of humor and some great art, then the quirky Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble is the right game for you.