Goodbye Volcano High was a game that I had on my radar since its announcement back at a PlayStation Conference event in 2020. It’s been a long road of development for the team at KO_Op studio since then. COVID happened and a new writer was brought in to reboot the whole game’s narrative direction which resulted in the team delaying the game until August 29, 2023. Despite the lengthy delay, this game stayed on my anticipated games list, and now we can finally see if Goodbye Volcano High was worth the wait.
Let’s dive into it.
In Goodbye Volcano High you play as Fang, a teenage non-binary dinosaur who is excited to be finished with school and pursue their dreams of making it big in their band Worm Drama. With the rumor of an asteroid coming the game’s central group of teenagers grapples with their futures. They question what to do when they finish school and what if the rumors are true and they is no future for them.
The narrative is intriguing and one that I can honestly say I’ve never seen before in a video game. The characters are easily the best part of the part of the game.
They feel real, featuring relatable personalities and dilemmas. They face loss towards what might have been if the world is ending in a mourning type of way. The characters make you often forget that they are dinosaurs instead of actual people.
You’ll find this game is a visual novel filled with dialogue options and choices to make and, Guitar Hero-esque musical mini-games where you press the button displayed on the screen at the right time to play the game’s musical tracks.
The musical mini-games demands that you keep up with several different button inputs with both the directional buttons and the face buttons having their own mini-games going on simultaneously. It sounds much more overwhelming than it actually is.
One of my favorite aspects of the game is it’s artstyle. It features animation that is filled with a vibrant collection of pastels that really fit the teenage-themed narrative. The details on each character is remarkable. You can tell what they are feeling in the moment. Despite the fact that they are Dinosaurs the art style humanizes them in a profound manner.
The music in the game is a perfect match for the game’s tone and artstyle. It is a Synth pop soundtrack that feels like it belongs in a modern day teenage movie.
Another aspect that deserves praise is the game’s cast. The voice acting was well done, as it sounded like a cast of teenagers versus older adults pretending to be teenagers. The voice actors also had good chemistry with one another as it genuinely felt like an actual group of teenagers hanging out with each other talking about the band’s decisions and their life choices.
One of the few disappointing aspects of Goodbye Volcano High is that it presents an illusion of choice. Sure you can choose what your character days and how they react, but those choices have little effect over most of the story except for the ending. Despite whatever course of action I choose over a couple of playthroughs, the other characters in the game used the same dialogue and did the same course of action minus the final 10 to 15 minutes of the game.
Overall/Should you Play Goodbye Volcano High:
Over the years games have become more than just something you play for fun. Many games now feature narratives that are on the same level as TV shows and movies.
Goodbye Volcano High with it’s relatable characters and impactful narrative feels like a well-written modern show based around teenagers. While it’s not perfect this is a short, but bittersweet entry into the visual novel genre.
Where Should Goodbye Volcano High fit in your video game backlog:
Here at the ProNerd Report and on the Single Player Experience Podcast, we practice the 10 games backlog rule. In this practice, you log down 10 games, those games are gonna be your video game backlog. To be as productive as you possibly can be, we recommend that you only play three games at one time. One single player narrative game, one game that’s gonna be your chill and relaxed game, and another game that’s going to be your palate cleanser game, which is a game that you play when you’re not in the mood for your other narrative. When you complete or get tired of one game, it leaves the backlog list. Then you decide which new game is added to the list, and which game on the list advances to your active three games.
Goodbye Volcano High– If you are fans of teenage stories or visual novels then you should have Goodbye Volcano High in your video game backlog. This is for sure a game that should be in your narrative slot. I don’t even think it fits in any other slot.
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