The Class of '09 - PC Review

The Class of '09
by developer and publisher SBN3PC (Steam) review written by Richard with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Sociopathy is an antisocial behavior characterized by the use of manipulation, deceit, and controlling behavior to get what they want, coupled with feeling little guilt or empathy for others. Now that we have the clinical definition out of the way, I'd like you to keep it in mind as we take a look at The Class of '09, not a dating sim, but a rejection sim.

The Class of '09 is, well, a bit difficult to pin down, but I'll do my best. The Class of '09 could be called an analysis of the sociological impacts on children in the early 2000's, if you want to be technical. If you're looking for a less technical view, it's about a girl who has an incredibly shitty family life, witnesses her dad commit suicide and blame it on her, and then decides she's no longer going to give a shit about people anymore. Now, I'd like to point out that, technically, you need to be over 18 to be a sociopath, but don't let that stop you from enjoying this work. Nicole, our protagonist of sorts, is fed up with life and fed up with people. She has choices to make in her life at high-school which will determine her future. Oh boy though, is it tough when your school teachers are composed of pedophiles and racists, the student body has a collective IQ of 4, and your mom cares more about the person she's sleeping with than you. So yeah, like high-school as I remember it.

Like pretty much all Visual Novels, the Class of '09 consists of text to be read/listened to, with the occasional choice thrown in. These choices are pretty varried, but mostly consist of stuff we've all wanted to say at least once, but never had the guts to. These choices can lead to…interesting consequences, such as getting a teacher fired, or a student killed, or the principal fired. Your choices will also dictate what Nicole decides to do with her life, and let me tell you, of the endings I got, I think I now know more about myself than I'm comfortable knowing.

As a whole, The Class of '09 is a lot of satire that, for the most part, will probably hit closer to home than a lot of people are comfortable with. Some of the scenes are pretty funny, and some of them are quite serious, but what you take away from it ultimately speaks more for your own character. Seriously though, of the first three endings I got, I think I may be a fairly horrible person.

While the artistic representation isn't much to write home about, the game is fully voice acted, and with some pretty substantive quality. There are the occasional issues, where the text won't always progress at the same speed as the audio, but you can return one line to fix that. If you're speeding through text though, you'll find this happens a lot, especially on subsequent playthroughs when you want to skip all the text you've previously seen.

In order to see through 4 different endings, it only took me about 40 minutes, so at about 10 minutes per ending it isn't very long of a game. That being said, it certainly doesn't overstay its welcome, and covers the wide array of potentially traumatic experiences for Nicole in rather quick succession. And yeah, it can get pretty dark and traumatic, so just be aware of that if you're sensitive to that sort of media. On the subject of endings and plot flowcharts, I would like to point out that, while The Class of '09 markets itself as "not a dating sim, a rejection sim", it's uniquely neither of those, closer to a, well, not really Visual Novel, more like short choose-your-own adventure? You remember those Animorphs books when you were a kid? The ones where you selected what animal the protagonist turned into, and then had to go to a certain page? Yeah, this is more like that.


Overall, I have to say that The Class of '09 is an extremely unique title. With very well done voice acting, and a script that is both humorous and impactful, The Class of '09 is definitely quirky enough to draw your attention, while also delivering a healthy dose of realism to your face. While those who have gone through high-school around the time period this is set in will relate more, there's still something you can take away from the title regardless.

Score: 8 / 10