The people who said that we only get to go through high school once must never have heard of Electronic Arts' (EA) role-playing adventure game, Surviving High School. This game was first developed for mobile phones in 2005 and it wasn't until a few years later that EA finally brought the game to the iPod OS. Because of it, text-based role-playing games have never been the same since (in my humble opinion).
Surviving High School takes you back to the good old high school days where you encounter the jocks, the cheerleaders, the nerds, the goths, and the drama queens all over again. The game runs like a television show: there's a new episode each week and groups of 20 or so episodes comprise one season. The first episode comes bundled with the game when you download it so it's also the first one that you get to play, naturally.
The game's premise is pretty simple. Each episode presents a different theme and storyline and you take on the role of a highschooler who's right smack in the middle of all the action. It follows the concept of those Choose Your Own Adventure books where you get to decide what your character will say and do in every situation with a simple tap.
There is a specific goal to achieve or a situation to be resolved in every episode so it's important that you think first before making any choices. After all, nobody wants to end up with a bad ending, right?
There are mini games peppered all throughout each episode as well. For example, you can try out and train for the football team (which consists of a simple game of tapping the right icon from the four that you're presented with really fast) or attempt to get out of sticky situations (which consists of a word-search game where you just have to trace the word from the grid within the allotted time limit.)
If you play your cards right, then you might just get to view an extra scene that isn't made available to those who played a less than perfect game. Note that you don't really need to get everything right in order to get to that good endingm, but sometimes you will end up having to replay the entire episode if you keep choosing the wrong options.
The best thing about Surviving High School is that it gives you more bang for your buck! A new episode, which technically translates to a whole new storyline to play with, is released every week and you can download it free of charge while it's "now airing." The graphics are wonderfully done and the gameplay is so smooth that hours can literally fly by before you get tired from playing. Another high point of the game is that the episodes run with the seasons: you run into some homecoming drama in late September, experience some holiday capers during the Christmas season, and get some lovey-dovey storylines when February rolls around.
Surviving High School probably won't be the game for you if you're not a fan of text-based role-playing games because it might seem to drag on and on without some "real" action happening. You also won't like it if you don't like to read because I assure you, there is a lot of reading to be done with this game. A minor downside is that you can only save your game progress one episode at a time. You will also have to make an in-app purchase if you want to play the older episodes that were aired in the previous weeks or if you want to play special, never-before-aired mega packs.
I was actually nit-picking back there to find some cons for Surviving High School because I think that it's a really fun game with amazing value. Maybe you didn't get to be homecoming queen (or king) in real life but who knows? You just might get a shot at it in the virtual world.
Download Surviving High School for your iPod here: iTunes App Store