Nefarious Plans, 1920’s Glam, and Teenage Flimflam
Dangerous High School Girls is a highly unusual game; set in a rather forbidding girl's high school in the 1920s, you lead a team of girls investigating a series of accidents, and surviving the often-nasty hazing you get from other girls. It is, thus, a story-driven game, but the actual gameplay is almost boardgame like; indeed, the graphics are purposefully designed to look like a vintage game board, and overcoming opponents doesn't rely on combat, but instead on a series of minigames that represent, in some sense, fibbing, taunting, exposing secrets, and making power plays.
Each girl has four attributes –- glamor, rebellion, savvy and popularity -- and each helps with certain techniques to expose the town's corruption "like layers of spoiled paint hidden under fresh."
The storyline guides your exploration, and most events trigger a confrontation –- your girl's skills against her opponent's. Your girl will snag up to three allies among her classmates, each with a different distribution of stats. When you're in a confrontation, you'll select the appropriate girl to deal with the situation, advancing the story if you win. If one of your girls is defeated, though, she's retired from your party for a fixed period of time. In a particularly nasty twist, the gals can pick up "boyfriends," which essentially take the hit for the young lady so that she can stay in the party if she's defeated.
Your girls can flirt, taunt, fib and expose, just like real high school girls, and the allocation of her statistics will make a girl more successful at one type of attack than another. The "expose" game involves guessing a sentence after revealing a fixed number of symbols; the "fib" game is basically a version of Liar's Dice; and both flirting and taunting require choosing the right comeback. With taunting, your girls can only choose comebacks they know, so in this case, the more they're exposed to, the more likely they are to be successful in the future.
From the scandalous adults to the multifaceted molls on offer, there's a delightful level of sophisticated detail on display for what is, essentially, a casual game. And as an alternate take on the old RPG chestnut of a powerful character party, DHSGiT is a hearty success. Those high school days were our crash course in conflict, after all, a time when teens bear up under some of the most vicious aggression campaigns they'll ever experience in their lives –- the idea of importing these types of "attacks" for a PC game mechanic is a stroke of genius. In many ways, more dangerous than a haunted ruin, more lethal than the blade of a sword, and more terrifying than the shambling undead is a high school girl, and this charmingly stylish, elegantly macabre title takes a spot-on snapshot, preserved like a sepia photo, of the creature in her natural habitat.
"Most Innovative Game", Casual Game Association, 2007