Game Review: Roommates

Roommates (Winter Wolves) Artwork

Roommates is a Ren’Py based visual novel and dating/romance game from Winter Wolves, a game developer, I was lucky enough in fact to get an interview with Celso Riva the person behind Winter Wolves and Roommates which you can check out here. Anyway, Roommates, as I said up top is a visual novel, it was released on the 12th February 2014 and is available for Android, Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS.

Roommates lets you simulate the college experience, and lets you experience romance as well, you can play as either Max or Anne and romance one of four people, with the opportunity for same sex dating as well, for a truly well rounded college experience. As whichever character you choose to play as you decide how to spend your day, and what to do during each segment of the day, a surprisingly novel feature, if you’ll pardon the pun is that you can actually schedule events a week ahead of time, although these can be interrupted by story events that serve to drive the plot forward.

I’ve always enjoyed a good visual novel and this is a strong addition, both to the plethora of games already released by Winter Wolves, and also broadly the larger industry of visual novel design. Something this game has that I quite enjoy even though it does complicate matters is a stat system that helps to build your relationships, so there’s more to this game that just blasting through dialogue and reacting, there’s an element of finesse to it that gives it more of that valuable replayability that game designers are always trying to put in their games.

Another strong element for this game are the characters, that’s not to say that all of the characters are good, quite the opposite, instead what is appealing is that each character is largely different and reacts to things in a specific what that flows organically from their established character, it also makes each romance route fairly different, at least as much as the game allows which also gives the game more replayability. Also the diversity is a plus, both in terms of gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation, it means that regardless of the player they can find something that is expressive to themselves. 

The dialogue itself is sharp and entertaining, and you actually want to get to the end of it so you can get a satisfying conclusion to the story, although I do have to admit that at times some of the dialogue choices felt less than intuitive, by which I mean sometimes you’d click an an option and be unsure what was going to happen. But personally for me that wasn’t a negative as it gave the game some unpredictability, because who wants a situation that telegraphs exactly the outcome of your actions, I mean real life isn’t like that and a good game shouldn’t be either.

While it doesn’t particularly break any new ground in terms of aesthetics, the visuals are appealing, and something that also caught my eye is the diverse character designs, which help to give everyone both representation and something nice to look at. But overall it just looks like a visual novel, and considering that’s what it is, it really didn’t need to reinvent the wheel.

So overall Roommates is an engaging visual novel that has numerous routes to take and allows you the freedom to express preferences, it has an enjoyable story and is well worth playing. So if that all sounds good then you can pick it up on Steam for £18.99/$24.00 or get the Deluxe Edition for £20.99/$26.53.


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