In the world of anime and fiction, you are bound to come across a few fan games, especially when it’s a huge franchise. On the one hand, you have the latest mods on virtual games such as Skyrim or GTAV. But, on the other, we have full-fledged fan games like Pokémon’s own Pokémon Uranium.
Either way, fan games stand to show what kind of impact the series/game has had on a particular fandom. While these games are a dime a dozen, international games and series such as Pokémon can be considered a global juggernaut.
Therefore, it can be safe to say Pokémon is no stranger to fan games. It’s had its fair share with RPG games and even a few pre-existing games in which gamers took a new direction for exciting adventures. Some of these fan games have even been acknowledged by Game freak and Nintendo themselves! They have even gone on a venture trying to take down the games that plot on making a profit from them!
The bright side here is that even in the face of all this chaos and drama, Pokémon’s fan games are still alive and thriving within the gaming community. One good example of this is Pokémon Academy Life.
Before You Step Into the Guide
Pokémon Academy Life is not like the other fan games. This one stands apart from the crowd because it is the world’s first visual novel game that has been created by Pokémon fans and for Pokémon fans.
This visual novel game was first created and launched on June 22nd, 2016, by the lead designer Visual Jae. However, they shut down the novel after releasing four episodes on June 30th, 2016. From then on, the status has been on hiatus mode.
The good news is while there are no regular updates, the creators still take to their official platform to reassure the fans that the game is underway and still being developed. If you are a Pokémon fanatic, you might want to wait for this one to release again because this game is definitely worth the hype. But if you are new here, don’t worry!
In this guide, we walk you through everything there is to know about Pokémon Academy Life and what we can expect from the game creators from this point onwards.
What is Pokémon Academy Life?
In simple terms, Pokémon Academy Life is a creative visual novel made by fans who love and adore Pokémon. In this novel, you will be transported into an alternate universe where the ten-year-old characters do not wander off to fight for themselves. Instead, our beloved characters are seen in a more realistic setting inside a high school.
In the actual series, Pokémon’s Red can be seen attending regular high school classes like every other young ten-year-old. Until this point, Red has no idea about the world of Pokémon. Instead, he learns about it all in his school.
If you are an avid follower of the things that go on in Pokémon world, here’s some news for you. While the prior knowledge of the actual cast might be helpful to you, it is not an absolute necessity to know them.
In the virtual novel, you will be spending most of your time in the region of Kobukan. The meaning of Kobukan is “feeling” and “inspiration.” The idea behind this name originated from the ancient Japanese Kanji. In total, there are six regions in this novel.
As mentioned earlier, Pokémon Academy Life takes place in a high-school setting. Therefore, you will also be taking on the role of a normal student who attends this school. Your day-to-day activities will also include interacting with your classmates, talking to them about your studies, subjects, exams, taking part in other extra-curricular events, sports, and other similar activities.
While these are the kinds of interactions that happen inside the school, there can be a lot of scripted and unscripted conversations that take place outside school. If you decide to play as Red (or any other custom character), you will play the vital lead protagonist role. Therefore, you will also be connecting and interacting with plenty of unique and interesting characters.
Keep in mind that you will also be in charge of leading the direction of the game. Therefore, every move you make counts for something. For instance, who you choose to befriend or who you choose as your romantic interest will affect the game and take it in a unique direction.
However, at its heart, this virtual novel is considered a socially stimulating game with a slight hint of dating and romance. Because you play the role of the main protagonist, you will get your portion of opportunities that will allow you to participate in the story actively.
To better understand how the game works, we will go through the main characters in this section. They are as listed below:
The default name of the main protagonist character in Pokémon Academy Life is Red. Based on the storyline, the entire visual novel revolves around Red’s perspective and point of view.
When you first start playing the virtual novel game, you will see that Red is a fresher enrolling for his first year at Kobukan Academy. He gets into this university thanks to Professor Oak and his pristine letter of recommendation.
Before Red moves to Kobukan for his university, you should know that he does not leave Pallet Town, his hometown, very often. Therefore, at the start of the game, Red is very excited and open to all the new opportunities and experiences that Kobukan Academy has in store for him.
Red was also one of the first characters introduced into this novel, and he comes in the Red, Blue, and Green renditions.
The next major character in this virtual novel is Leaf, a vibrantly optimistic young girl hailing from the Kanto region.
Red first meets Leaf only in his third year, when he gets into Relic Hall’s women’s dorm. Although Leaf is considered the novel’s heroine, she can also be played as a side character. However, this is decided by the gamer.
At heart, Leaf is an extremely reliable character who is quick-witted, quirky, and quick to act. However, she can also be extremely elusive and unreachable. This prevents her from meeting and getting to know people, including May, her roommate.
While Leaf was introduced in the usual Pokémon Fire Red rendition, she can also be seen in the Pokémon Leaf Green rendition.
In the game, Brendan is an enthusiastic and energetic individual who is rarely seen in a bad mood. He has the potential to be Red’s roommate. At the start of the story, May and Brendan are found dating, and both of them belong to Littleroot Town in the Hoenn region.
Calem also holds the potential to be Red’s roommate. In the game, Calem is an intelligent character originating from the family of Pokémon Trainers. He is intellectual, academic, and diligent. There is a perpetual conflict between Calem and his childhood friend Serena. Red is bound to be trapped in between if he tries to intervene.
Cheren is another potential roommate of Red. In the later stages of the game, he becomes the president of the student council. Cheren is a tough character in the game and is driven by principles and logic. He is difficult a person to deal with and expresses very little. He comes across Hilbert, Hilda, and Bianca and becomes their best friend.
Tierno is a character that has a deep inclination towards music. One of Tierno’s goals is to set up a Pokémon dance crew. Trevor is one of his closest friends in the game, as both have been seen together most times. Tierno is infatuated by Serena and yet shows no signs of expression, as he prefers to stay away from conflict and drama involved in the pursuit.
May is a friendly and enthusiastic person in the game. Being an extrovert, she easily befriends any female in the academy. Before the start of the visual novel, May is the girlfriend of Brendan. If Brendan becomes Red’s roommate, May will play a critical role in the whole story.
Hilbert, Cheren, Hilda, and Bianca share the same background. They settle their homes in Nuvema Town of the Unova region. Hilbert is a disciplined and determined student and has a strong desire to pursue accomplishments. Hilbert’s introduction occurred in the Pokémon Black and White versions.
Hilda shares the same personality type as Hilbert. She is serious and dedicated to the tasks at hand. She is one of the closest friends of Cheren and Bianca and is often seen monitoring Hilbert.
Serena is a highly feminine girl in the story. Many consider her a snobby socialite, which makes it challenging for her to socialize with her peers. Like her mother, who was a Rhyhorn racer, Serena wishes to pursue a career in racing. However, Serena is confused about pulling off her mother’s life and starts fresh at the Kobukan Academy.
Trevor and Tierno are inseparable friends in the story. Trevor is a short and stout character that doesn’t go with his age. On the other hand, Tierno is a tall and large character. Compared to Tierno, Trevor is timid and gentle in his behavior. When Trevor is on his own, he spends most of his time in photography outdoors.
Misty is a strong and independent girl in the whole story. She is immensely stubborn, which makes it difficult for her to trust other people. Often, Misty is agitated when others offer help or assistance in her tasks. Having a tomboyish outgo, she doesn’t invest effort in mingling with people and spends her time at local shopping districts on weekends.
Shauna is shown as Serena’s roommate before the story. She is a people person and is grateful for having known so many people and Pokémon in her life. She is one of those characters who would place others’ happiness over hers.
Sabrina is known for her inclination to the Psychic Pokémon in the story. She is innately introverted and cares very little about public acknowledgment.
Jasmine is shown as a first-year student at the beginning of the novel, although her age is more than that of the class. She’s been through a lot of health issues that made her attend college pretty late. The history of health issues also gives her a frail appearance and a meek nature. She is a lover of nature and loves to spend most of her time in solitude.
Whitney is a positivity machine with talkative and upbeat nature. Whitney is a sportswoman and is the ace pitcher of the baseball team of her college. She is Flannery’s roommate.
Flannery is known for her short temper and random instances of outrage. She is often mistaken as a naturally rude and impersonal person. Even Red, for some time, considers her mean but is soon proven wrong. She is Whitney’s roommate.
Pokémon Academy Life: Background
Many Pokémon fans love Pokémon Academy Life for its appealing storyline and gameplay. The central character of the story is Red. After receiving his acceptance letter from the Kobukan Academy, he marks his journey with his ally Pokémon Pikachu to the academy.
Red’s mother is proud of him for being selected to the academy and sends Red off on the note that “every man has to leave the house someday.”
Pokémon Academy Life is a visual novel that is a non-profit and fan-made interactive game. The entire story and the game’s proceedings are based on a high school setting, with many interesting twists and turns.
The visual novel has a high relatability factor. Red, who is the game’s core character, attends high school at the age of 16, like many of us. He goes to the academy, makes new friends, and learns about the world of Pokémon.
For many of us, high school accounts for the best times in our memories, and hardcore Pokémon fans watching their favorite characters in high school is an overwhelming experience. It is highly engaging for the players. During every instance of the game, they get a chance to relive those high school days or relate to the instances if they’re presently high schoolers.
Pokémon Academy Life: Main Character Orientations
The central character ‘Red’ in the storyline is never shown as having anything extraordinary in him. However, it remains a mystery why Professor Oak sends him a recommendation to join the Kobukan Academy.
Red originates from Pallet Town and has had a relatively uneventful life. Although, Pikachu, his Pokémon ally, is very fond of Red. The interesting part about Red is that he seems ordinary. However, he has great potential to excel in the world of Pokémon that only Professor Oak has seen till now.
Red shows diligence in making the most out of the strange opportunity he gets. At the age of 16, he sets on his journey to the Kobukan Academy. He meets his future roommate for the first year. He attends assembly for the new students and registers himself for the classes. Red acts diligently, considering his opportunity a once-in-a-lifetime one.
Red also has a rival called Blue, who is Professor Oak’s grandson. Understandably, Blue receives the recommendation letter by virtue of being Professor Oak’s grandson. Many of his skills originate through Professor Oak, a world-famous Pokémon researcher, and teaches at the Kobukan academy.
In the beginning, Blue is shown as an arrogant and selfish player who has a plethora of accomplishments. He is extra competitive and is often driven by outdoing the other mates around him. However, as time passes, he learns to cooperate with his team members and tone down his arrogance out of mutual respect.
Leaf is the third protagonist of the game, and Red casually jokes that she is impossible to approach. However, behind Leaf’s cheerful and mischievous appearance is a history that’s quite dark and deep. Red recognizes this feature of hers’ as both of them get closer.
One of the focal points of the game is Leaf’s history. Leaf is the ideal feminine character that any male player desires. When an opportunity presents itself, she can be daring and flirtatious. She knows how to take a stand for herself. Some of her behaviors may be repetitive and irritating, but overall, she’s good-natured and caring.
Pokémon Academy Life: Gameplay
The game starts with Red standing at the front gate of Kobukan Academy. He is thrilled and exhilarated to know that this is the beginning of his Pokémon journey. He is also slightly afraid about how all of it might work out.
As a player, the game is entirely interactive. From receiving the recommendation letter, meeting random people at Kobukan, encountering Blue (your rival), and meeting guides, everything proceeds through a well-scripted storyline.
Although it’s not merely a visual novel, there are many instances where you’re presented with options to choose from. The selected option will decide your path in the story.
Finding a Roommate
After the primary encounter with Blue, Red realizes that he’s late to the academy and would need a roommate for the first year. Blue, the arrogant person, shames Red by saying he’s ahead of him, as he has already found a roommate.
At this point, Red faces a dilemma, which requires you to solve it for him. Red can either ask Blue to be his roommate or ditch him. Both the characters have been rivals ever since their childhood days, and keeping them under the same roof is not the greatest idea.
Since Blue is competitive, he has already found a roommate before Red. Red now watches across the assembly hall and sees many students. Mostly, girls are talking to girls, and guys are talking to guys. A blueprint-like choice spurts in front of you, and you have to choose between the four of them for your roommate.
You can strike up a conversation with any of the four characters. It will be your first socializing event that will be set up via dialogues and choices. You have to choose the most optimal question to ask, and lead to the point where you can ask them if they can be your roommate.
The four characters will be either Brendan, Tierno, Calem, or Cheren. If you’re seeking a roommate, Brendan is an ideal choice because he is known to be dating May before the storyline. You can be friends with May as well if you make Brendan your roomie.
Why Brendan Is an Ideal Choice?
Brendan is an enthusiastic and positive character who is bound to blend well with Red. Brendan comes from the Hoenn region. As we know, Red has had a pretty uneventful life in the past. Partnering with Brendan will bring all the elements that are missing in Red’s life.
Different roommates will open doors for Red in different ways. However, early in the game, one decision will not rob you of any collective experiences like the student council.
For example, if you pick Cheren as your roommate, it is evident that he will run for the student council. But the developers have made sure that players do not face a situation where they see that something like a student council option is available. Simply because they’ve selected Brendan or Tierno as their roommates, they cannot experience it.
However, if you intend to be a part of a student council, you must go for Cheren or Calem as your roommate. Cheren or Calem will enable you to be a part of the student council with less friction. Partnering with Brendan or Tierno will propel you to work hard to be a part of the council.
Red and Leaf have been portrayed in the game with a bit of chemistry. When Red is supposed to attend his first class, on Leaf’s beckoning, he follows her to Class 1-B. This becomes his first homeroom class for the first year. The classroom has massive interiors, and there is an abundance of chairs and desks than required. Leaf soon finds out that May is in the same classroom as her.
Red ends up in Professor Oak’s class, while Brendan, May’s boyfriend, gets classroom 1-A, where Professor Birch is the teacher.
Red, Leaf, and May reveal their inclinations to Professor Oak. Red is interested in Ghost and Electric-type Pokémon, May is inclined towards Fire and Fighting, while Leaf wants to explore Grass and Electric-type Pokémon.
Question: How Many Pokémon Are Going to be Implemented?
Answer: The developers have revealed that across seven generations, approximately 500 Pokémon will be implemented. However, not all Pokémon will be available, as some are dedicated to specific characters.
Question: Is the Story More Important Than the Gameplay or Vice Versa?
Answer: Pokémon Academy Life is not merely a SIMS social-like game where romance and socializing are the focal point. In this game, you’re in an elite Pokémon academy, where you will be tested for your Trainer abilities. Raising and training your Pokémon will count as much as socializing with the characters.
Your progress in the game will depend on how well you balance time and efforts between interacting with friends, training Pokémon, enhancing your traits, acquiring new Pokémon, and more.
Question: How Do You Study for the Quizzes?
Answer: The most realistic part about this visual novel is that quizzes require the players to study in real life outside the game. Professor Oak says in the game, “Make sure to look over the readings online tonight.” He means that you should do it in real life.
Acquiring information in real life and online will assist you in answering random general questions. The players can use exploration periods to study rather than socializing or other activities. By sacrificing other activities, you’ll get new information about various upcoming quizzes.
Question: Why Did the Developers Revamp the Opening?
Answer: The developers have revealed that the original prologue was not so satisfactory to them. They had issues with the hook of the story and some parts that were over-extended.
Although, early feedback of the game was more positive than critique-based. The developer only detected the bottlenecks after Game Grump did their walkthrough of the visual novel.
Question: Is the New Blonde Girl You Meet in the City an Important Character?
Answer: Yes, the blonde girl will have a role to play in the future. However, what her role would be is still undecided.
Pokemon Academy Life Game Guide: Final Words
Now that you’ve read the article, you’re bound to be excited to explore the visual experience of your favorite characters and Pokémon during their academy days.
The game is an interactive visual novel with multiple characters, each unique and story behind them. Red is the central character of the story, and as per the progression, you have to make the best decisions for him to move smoothly.
If you’re looking to join the student council, choose Cheren or Calem as your roommate. However, student council can be accessed at later stages of the game as well.
Good gameplay will revolve around balanced attention towards all areas – socializing, training, studying, finding Pokémon, and beyond. Don’t divert too much focus on any one aspect. It will erode the overall fun. Are you ready to catch ‘em all?