The Nothing-In-Particular Club
You start the game and are immediately met with...
...some blonde with glasses telling you, the player, that you suck.
Immediately afterwards, you meet three other girls, who basically say the same thing: that you have done utterly nothing with your life thus far, and for that reason, they need your help. So far, this doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but you can't fault the devs for knowing their audience.
Wait a minute...
And not even two minutes in, to boot!
And the only way they can help you is by sending you to high school (i.e. the Typical Dating Sim Setting), so that's where you're going to go.
You end up in a classroom, where some voice is calling to you from the whiteboard.
It's...a catgirl? No, not even that, a drawing of a catgirl. And why is it calling us a "mortal?"
Anyways, she gives you another platitude to take in about luck and choices, then it's off to the next scene.
Wait...is this the Backrooms? Well, now we know that this is no ordinary dating sim; otherwise, we wouldn't suddenly find ourselves in 4chan memes.
"Life Purpose Generator?" Are you serious? But on the other hand, I should have expected these "ironic" dating sims to be on the nose like this.
After using the machine a few times, it finally spits out something vaguely coherent: the word "Japan" in kanji.
...You know, if you keep going "haha look, we're a normal Japanese dating sim," it's going to make whatever meta twist you have in store lose its impact.
Anyways, Nana here complains that we've been sleeping through class, and in a pretty weird position. Our character explains to her the weird dream he had, which consisted of the events of the intro sequence.
It is then that we find out the real purpose of the class (besides aping DDLC, of course):
The girls from the intro go on to have a perfectly normal conversation, as though they weren't just ranting about my life choices minutes before. Eventually, the conversation turns to the cat pictures on their phones, and they ask my character which one is the best of them.
However, while I expected to have to choose myself, my character had a different idea.
...it doesn't quite work out.
After this, the school day begins in earnest, and we're given our first choice.
I'll go with Marta for now.
Our character tells her about the dream he had, and wonders if it wasn't a dream after all. Her response pretty much confirms that it isn't, given that she specifically mentions his "life story being empty."
After that, our first class begins.
This game isn't even trying to hide its inspiration, aren't you? And moreover, isn't it convenient that Miss "We'll never amount to anything" is teaching us?
We're then introduced to Ermy, who might be the only person in this class who hasn't shown up in the intro, and the one thing separating this game from being the DDLC knockoff that I initially pegged it as.
The teacher asks us if we like reading, and we're given another choice.
I pick yes, and Nana pops up to whine about how it's boring and useless.
Please. Stop with this meta crap. We've barely started the game, and it's already getting on my nerves.
I said stop!
Disregarding the unpleasantness that we have just witnessed, the teacher asks us to choose a book to listen to a speech on.
Naturally, I choose Catcher in the Rye, as it's the only one of the three that I've read (Even if I don't remember any of it).
I'm given a speech from Marta that just makes me feel like I'm back in English class.
We're then given a choice for a second book. I pick Crime and Punishment.
Anyway, the main thrust of her speech is the differences between how Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy approach writing characters.
The discussion then moves to the teacher's favorite book.
Then, all of a sudden, Ermy chimes in.
Unfortunately, no one seems to care about his deep tastes in literature.
The class ends, and we meet up with the teacher again. We ask her a couple of questions.
Well, that's not suspect in the least.
After one class, the school day seems to be over, so we meet up with the girls once more.
Naturally, Ermy decides to join in.
Sorry kid, but it seems there's only room for one guy in whatever club this is.
He turns to my character and hands him a flash drive that he says contains the demo for a game that he's been working on.
With that out of the way, we start our first club meeting.
Unfortunately, nobody here seems to have any idea as to what the club is about.
Of course, it isn't long before my character is put on the spot again.
The group then suddenly gets the idea to bake a cake, but we have neither the ingredients or equipment to do so.
That is a terrible idea, and you know it.
With that, my character is asked to make a cake for them.
It doesn't work out very well at all.
The club meeting ends, and I meet up with Marta. She actually mentions the club having few people and the teacher somehow being qualified to teach every subject at school. Since we live close to each other, she decides to walk home together with my character.
On the way home, she discusses what motivates her. Since she has never been particularly good at any subject, she set out to become the best so that it will be easier for her later on.
That, at least, is understandable.
We finally go home and meet our roommate.
For whatever reason, she's drawn in a completely different style to the rest of the game.
She directs our attention to a scroll that the catgirl gave us.
Yeah, I got nothing. What's this have to do with her little speech about luck from earlier?
We then have the choice to play through Ermy's game. Guess it wouldn't hurt to give it a go.
To be continued...