WAGAMAMA HIGH SPEC
Narumi Kouki, the protagonist of Wagamama High Spec, is a man with a lot on his plate. Not only is he still a student, but he is also the author of a weekly manga for a magazine. Since the manga is somewhat risqué only Kouki’s lazy, spoiled sister Toa and her friend Mihiro knows about his involvement, which is the way that he wants to keep things. Unfortunately for Kouki, he loses a notebook full of his work at school and it is picked up by Kaoruko, the president of the student council. In a weird twist of fate, Kaoruko turns out to be the illustrator for Kouki’s manga and she talks him into joining the student council as their first male representative. Kouki immediately gets off on the wrong foot with Ashe, the vice president of the student council, but when Toa and Mihiro joins as well, he finds himself having to juggle school, work, council duties as well as all the girls in his life.
With the overabundance of visual novels that uses a Japanese school for a backdrop, it would be easy to dismiss Wagamama High Spec. It is true that the setting is rather cliched and the slice of life story can be somewhat slow at times, but it is hard not to be charmed by the characters. Kouki is at least a bit more hardworking than the typical highschool protagonist found in many visual novels and his struggle to get everything done on time is rather amusing to witness. Wagamama High Spec features four different routes, so you can choose whether Kouki becomes involved with Kaoruko, Mihiro, Ashe or even Toa. That last one is particularly interesting as Toa is Kouki’s younger sister and it is not often that we see a mainstream visual novel tackle such a taboo scenario. Of course, none of the relationships can be described as particularly realistic, but the humorous writing ensures that interesting scenes along the way.
In addition to the four girls, there are also a couple of other people who Kouki interacts with on a daily basis. These include his rather violent teacher at school, Yukari, his editor Chitose, as well as some goofball friends. However, Kouki spends most of his time with the four girls and, depending on your choices, the story will shift exclusively to the girl you like the most. Although Wagamama High Spec is quite a lengthy visual novel, there isn’t a whole lot of choices, so it is rather easy to pursue the girl who you want to end up with. The girls all have unique personalities and quirky character traits, such as Mihiro who is apparently irresistible to animals and Ashe, who has an appetite that far exceeds her slender frame. Their routes are also very, very different and while you will encounter a few scenarios that are mostly the same, the rest will be totally different depending on who you choose. This gives the game a lot of replay value and while not all of the routes are equally entertaining, it is definitely worth playing through all of them. There isn’t a whole lot that can be said about the story as Wagamama High Spec is a slice of life visual novel where nothing earth-shattering ever really happens, but the writing is good and the humor keeps things engaging.
One of the standout features of Wagamama High Spec is the detailed and polished art style. It is clear that a lot of hard work has gone into drawing the sprites as even the minor characters look great. All of the characters have different poses and facial expressions for their emotions and the game features a ton of great CGs as well. It is also great to see that just as much attention has been lavished on the backgrounds of this visual novel and that there is plenty of variety in this regard. Most of the story takes place at Kouki’s home or in the student council room of Ousui Academy, but the characters also sometimes venture out into town or visit places like the shopping mall or restaurants. From a technical side things look good too, although the resolution seems to be capped at 1280×720. The interface is very straightforward and everything from the text and skip speed to window transparency can be tweaked to your liking.
Wagamama High Spec also excels in the audio department with full Japanese voice acting for all of the characters apart from the protagonist. The voices sound great, but you also have full control to adjust the volume separately for each character or even mute them completely. The volume levels for the background music, sound effects, system, and background voices can also be adjusted independently. The soundtrack is mostly upbeat, but there are also a couple of tunes that lean more towards the melancholic. With close to thirty music tracks there is plenty of variety, so you won’t get tired of the songs despite how long the game is. Completing the game once also opens up the “Special Contents” menu where you can check out the CG gallery or listen to the music tracks.
The game is available in two different versions, one of which is censored on Steam and the other that includes some CGs with sex and nudity that is available from Denpasoft. The prices are roughly the same for both versions, so it depends on how much you want Steam Achievements and Trading Cards versus adult CGs. The lack of h-scenes in the Steam version isn’t too detrimental to the story, but you can definitely tell that they were cut. There is unfortunately also no way to simply patch these scenes into the Steam version.
Overall, Wagamama High Spec is an entertaining visual novel with a lot of polish, but nothing that really makes it particularly memorable. The characters and setting aren’t very unique and the storyline is well written, but not particularly innovative. Despite this, the characters were charming enough that we completed multiple routes, so value for money is definitely not an issue. Even just completing one route can take many hours, but we recommend trying out all of them as they each have their own highlights. Unless you are tired of visual novels set in school featuring a protagonist who finds himself surrounded by beautiful girls, Wagamama High Spec will provide a few hours of solid entertainment.
- OS: Windows 7 or above
- Processor: 1.2 GHz Pentium 4
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: 1280 x 720
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- Storage: 7 GB available space
- Sound Card: DirectSound-compatible sound card