Game Title: Longstory
Company: Bloom Digital
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 4 – 7 hours
Cloud Save Support: Yes
Download: 358 MB
There are a few ways a game description can immediately get me into a game. Horror, Simulation, RPG, Romance, Dating Elements, the list goes on. There are a lot of things I absolutely love in games and when I see them written in descriptions, the game goes from “This looks interesting” to “So, I need to play this”.
One such game is a little VN/Adventure sort of game from Bloom Digital that promised to have options for a lot of different kinds of people and the moment I dating options, I was in. I adore dating sims and games with romance elements.
So, after having played through and been given a torrent of emotions, here is my review of LongStory for the Nintendo Switch!
Long Story is about you, a student in middle school having just moved back to their old town. You head back to your old school to encounter old enemies and to make new friends and spark new relationships, along with all of the drama and impulsiveness that comes with it.
The thing about Long Story is that all of its characters are very charismatic and they really fit with the setting. Across the entire game, all of the MC’s impulsive decisions I was constantly face-palming at and vocally remarking “No, don’t. Why. You Fool!” and always thinking on each chaotic dramatic decision and realizing just how each decision fits with someone in that age group and going through all of the feels and changes of that part of life. Similar to how impulsive and embarrassing I was when I was that age.
In this way, the game’s subtitle of being a “real world” dating sim really does fit. The protag’s rash decisions and the inclusion of recent-day issues for students like learning disabilities and gender identity really brings out the realism and modernism, even for someone like me who’d graduated before all of that really got mainstream in school.
However, there is one nitpick I have, and it’s the fact that this is advertised as a dating sim. Yes, you can go on a character’s “route” through the game, but the actual dating part is a fairly small part of the game. I won’t spoil it for you, but by the game’s end, it doesn’t really feel like you’re playing a dating simulator, but more of a story about middle school with some dating elements.
LongStory is like a Visual Novel, where you go through story scenes and enjoy the story along with having many dialogue choices that can change how the story progresses and what cutscenes you do and don’t see as you play through the game.
The first order of business is the fact that this game is advertised as an LGBTQ+ friendly game. What this actually equates to is the fact that you’re not limited to heterosexual protagonist or dating partners. You can make your character identify as male, female, or they (like some transexuals choose to identify) and you can date any character you want, no matter which gender you are and they are.
The main goal of LS is the same as any VN: enjoy the story and change the story with choices. There are loads of dialogue choices that will change what character’s “Route” you get for main story events and what cutscenes and events you can or can’t get as you travel through the game. A single choice can change whether you see two friends fighting or you getting ganged up on by the local bullies.
Though Routes are something we should talk about. When I think of VN Character Routes, I think of Endings around that character, and that’s not what you get here. When you choose to crush on Abby or Nora or Colin, it affects events in the middle of the game, but not the end of the game. The end happens mostly the same way no matter who you choose or what you do, which is also why I mentioned earlier that this feels much more like a VN with some romance elements than a full-on dating sim.
Outside of reading and dialogue choices, that’s about it for the game. But that’s not to say the game doesn’t have a lot to it. There are a lot of optional events and 5 different routes, so completionists will get a good 5 treks through the game before they find everything.
For the rest of us, let’s talk play-time. I spent around 6-7 hours my first time through the game, though a bit of that was fiddling around with different dialogue choices to see how different events turned out, but I’d still say you’ll be spending over 6 hours on the game before you reach the end of Chapter 8.
There’s a lot of versatility in controls as you’ve got button controls for docked mode, but have options for using the touch screen in handheld mode. The touch controls work the same as they do in the mobile version, from double-tapping dialogue options to hitting the “send” button on the on-screen phone to send texts.
As far as buttons go, truth be told, not many of them are used. The – and + buttons are used for settings and saving your data and the L/R triggers are used for reversing events and using the Auto-Skip feature.
The only face buttons you use are A and B for select and cancel, and the Left Analog and Arrow Buttons are used to cycle through dialogue options.
Visually, the game looks very colorful and pretty. It’s got a very unique and cute art style that really helps it stand out and give all of the characters that extra bit of charisma to make them really interesting, even outside of just their personalities in the story.
Performance-wise, everything is good. I never had any problems with freezing, crashing, frame-drops, or anything of the sort. The only hiccup I had was the A button a couple times not functioning normally. I got to a couple areas of the game where the A button didn’t work while navigating dialogue until I’d saved and reloaded a save file. Never happened in the same place, though.
Bering a VN, I expected a lot out of Battery Life. Here are my times, from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 34 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 06 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 6 hours, 21 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 6 hours, 54 minutes
As expected, you get quite a bit.
In conclusion, LongStory is a VN-like game that showcases a very realistic modern take on middle school life. On the downside, it’s got a strange bug with the A button and it doesn’t really feel as much of a dating sim as its description and subtitle advertise. Still, if you like story-based games that touch on school life and romancing outside of the typical boy and girl spectrum, it’s a very good adventure.
Final Score: 9/10