We reviewed the adult visual novel games College Kings. The game was released on Steam on Mar 5, 2021 by Steve the Undergrad. The first part of the game is free, but you need to purchase a DLC to play the second part. Here, we did a review by playing both parts.
College Kings review
Your female romance options are pretty much on the edge, so far, in terms of overall game mechanics. We’ll get into character building in a moment, but while they’re all interested in the protagonist on some level, not all of them want the same thing from him. Depending on your choices and personality, some are pretty easy to romance and some aren’t for you.
This reflects much more current romantic and sexual relationships than seeing a relationship as just an endgame goal. This definitely doesn’t have to be an adult/porn thing. I think it makes perfect sense for romance games to use similar mechanics and update the usual romantic tropes.
College Kings gameplay
I also really enjoyed the fact that you can’t just go to bed without others finding out, as this is so grounded in wish fulfillment. A prime example is a girl named Aubrey we met by crashing into the hallway from your dorm room.
When we meet him in real clothes, his interest is more of a sneak peek than an open relationship, so he usually invites you to have sex when he can guarantee no one is watching. No matter how careful you are with your connections, someone will find out eventually.
I also liked the meta-narrative underlying the game. All you have to do is decide. College is a strange time when students are all adults, but in many ways shielded from all responsibilities of adulthood in the name of education. This means that the decisions made by students are often unimportant and they themselves do not emerge years later.
College Kings story
A psychological exam with one of your romance options, and a well-done dating scene with a college-educated woman we met by chance. Age is something in the game, and the difference between students and adults is the triviality of the choices they make every day.
I quite liked this dynamic and how it frames the game both positively and negatively for the cast. Most of the issues you deal with, especially those that lead to sexual escapism, are not serious. There is a freedom in what fuels many nostalgic impulses and youthful worship in popular culture. However, you also enjoy a lot of negativity. Toxic environments that reward negative masculine stereotypes, criminal behavior excused or ignored in favor of a corrupt university code of ethics, and the controversial subconscious of the entire game: sexual harassment and male chauvinism.
Problems arise when the protagonist tries to date older women. Clearly, this punk has nothing to offer other than an illicit, momentary thrill to most women outside of his age range. Other than the women you meet while shopping, the possible age difference with your teacher and Julia doesn’t help frame their romance.
College Kings graphics and sound
At the core of the story is this inter-fraternity fighting competition, where the protagonist can rise up as the Alpha Male of the university and establish himself. The idea is essentially a Quick Time Event where you recognize an opponent’s defense or offense and react accordingly. The problem is twofold. First, there is no prompt for when to react, so you need to time your action perfectly to record the action.
Secondly, this is a 3D Visual Novel, so animation speed and fluidity can be bad sometimes. Stuttering and pauses are okay in other scenes where they portray sex or show the characters going to kiss (although it can be awkward and contrived). Some fights you will hope for the best. It is obvious that the game will improve over time.