I played X-Change when I was probably too young to be allowed to. My memories long faded, when I heard that JASTUSA was releasing the X-Change – Complete Collection with a remastered version of the games, I was intrigued. On hearing that it even included X-Change R, with a bunch of new content, I decided I had to play it.
X-Change R follows Takuya, a member of the school’s infamous chemistry club. When he gets into an accident that turns him into a girl, no one is that surprised. It’s not the first time that the chemistry club has done something crazy.
The tone is set quickly; The first thing Takuya does is ‘Exploring’ his body. X-Change R is certainly not an introspective analysis on gender and sexuality – it’s a 90’s hentai game and very much a product of its time. The focus on very much on the sex and despite being quite short, there are tons of sex scenes. It’s filled with hentai logic, such as being raped as a girl and becoming addicted to it, along with all the guys (and a number of the girls) suddenly wanting to have sex with him as a girl. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it’s what you’re looking for, but it’s important that you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Be a Man
Takuya’s story is essentially asking the genius chemistry club president to make a cure and then living life as a woman in the meantime. He’s incredibly passive in most cases and just takes whatever life throws at him with a bit of complaining; this includes sexual situations, as well as being experimented on and only acknowledging bad situations but not doing anything about them. He doesn’t seem willing to do anything towards his goals.
There are a couple of exceptions to this. He ends up as the aggressor more than once, one of which is particularly surprising.
Relatively often you’re presented with choices. These lead you to one of about ten endings, most of which would be considered ‘bad ends’. It’s worth noting here that this is a very short game, so you’ll come across one of these endings quickly.
In a lot of cases, they don’t really give you much of a clue on which options will lead where. It’s mostly trial and error. To actually find my first good ending, I had to experiment a lot. It’s really different from a lot of the more modern visual novels I’ve played in that way. I found it refreshing in a way, but not everyone will agree.
One nice feature – you can actually choose which version to play at the start. Either the classic version or the new. That said, even the new doesn’t come across as modern.
Despite X-Change R being a remake, it does show its age in many ways. The options are basic, missing functions that would be in newer engines. You might think that you can’t even hide the text window, as the only way to do this is by press ‘H’; I only found this out from a JASTUSA employee.
The aspect ratio is still 4:3 too – in other words, it’s sized for an old-style monitor.
The most obvious change in X-Change R is the update to the graphics. While the classic style has been kept, some parts have been redrawn and aspects like the lighting and shading are a lot more detailed. I’ve included a simple graphic that I’ve put together as an example.
The entire game is now voiced too. Even ‘Girl A’ has her lines voiced. This certainly improves the game significantly. That said, I did feel the audio mix was a bit off with music overpowering the voices. The levels can be adjusted in options if needed.
There are even new characters like ‘Kate’ the exchange student. This also means there are new choices and scenes.
This is all topped off by new text and translations. Aside from one issue where I noticed some repeated introductions for a couple of characters when certain choices were made, this all seemed to flow well.
X-Change R is certainly an upgrade to the original. With improved graphics, the addition of voice acting, and new content, it’s certainly the version to play.
The game itself is quite short and has a few issues, but the price is relatively low with $20USD getting you the full collection of X-Change games. The sheer amount of endings will keep you exploring this for quite a while too. I can’t say it’s a standout amazing game, but it’s a fun distraction if you’re looking for a ton of sex scenes with flimsy reasoning.
X-CHANGE R IS RECOMMENDED
If you are looking for another more sex-focused visual novel, perhaps Harem Kingdom would be worth checking out. We have also covered a wide variety of visual novels both original to English and localized from Japanese, which you can check out here.
Many thanks go to the publisher JASTUSA for a review code for this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.