Santaluces High School

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Santaluces High School

The Tribe

Santaluces High School

The Tribe

Goodbye Volcano High: A Comprehensive Review

Spoiler Warning

Goodbye Volcano High has to be one of my favorite interactive games I’ve played in forever, and it’s incredible how the game touches on and draws attention to all of its themes. Goodbye Volcano High has a pretty simple story, but how it tells that story is very impressive. The game focuses on themes of personal growth, appreciation, and acceptance, all being pushed along by the threat of time.

You play as a high school senior named Fang, and she has some serious talent for music. While I played as Fang, the game immersed me more and more in Fang’s situation. You feel the strain of nurturing a rising band while trying to keep the ones you hold dear close. As I played the game, I began to think like Fang. But soon, through the other character’s responses, I realized that I was being selfish in trying to achieve Fang’s dream while ignoring the interests and priorities of others. I honestly felt sorry for the characters that suffered as a result of my choices.

At first, my selfishness completely flew over my head. I got too attached to what Fang wanted without batting an eye. However, once the asteroid is put into the mix, Fang’s aspirations soon seem pointless. The game really gets you to change your perspective because suddenly Fang will never have enough time to make it in a band, and neither could Fang’s friends achieve what they wanted. By the end of the game, you learn to appreciate Fang’s friends and loved ones, and the game ends with all of Fang’s friends and family setting up one last concert to spend their remaining time on Earth.

All the great plot-related things aside, the game as a whole is actually kind of fun. It has some interesting and deep choices as well as some rhythm game segments that can be powerful at times and carry some of the game’s most emotional moments. Not to mention that the game’s soundtrack is actually really good, and you get to write some of it. On the other hand, I found the game’s D&D sections boring at times, despite the deeper meanings they had to them.

The game featured several D&D sections where some choices shift to be luck-based, and the art style almost completely changes to fit the new fantasy theme, not to mention the designs for the characters and environments in these D&D portions are really cool. Now the bad: the D&D sections are played before some of the game’s most important events (they even make you play through a D&D section right before the game’s final concert), and this placement just feels like a buzzkill. Not only have the characters been talking about this event for the last 30 minutes of gameplay, but now you’ve got to sit down for another 30-40 minutes to play through a slow D&D section that feels drawn out. I’m not saying that these parts of the game were terrible, but rather that it was hard to focus on what the characters were doing or saying in their D&D world.

During my 7 hours of playtime, I found a few minor glitches (most of which were visual), and only twice did I find a glitch that didn’t allow the game to proceed in its dialogue, forcing you to replay the sequence. Other than that, the gameplay was great, and I enjoyed almost every second of it.

Looking back on Goodbye Volcano High, I’m really glad I got to play it. At first, I didn’t bother to try it (not with the $26.99 price tag), but it was a pleasant and humbling surprise. It even made me shed a tear by the end of it, and I would consider myself a tough-as-nails gamer mentally. Its message and how it conveys it is special to me because it applies to me, you, and all of our Santaluces Chiefs. Our high school years are precious, and for most it only clicks once its over. Take the time, even if it’s just for a moment, to appreciate and cherish every second of these years because now is when you truly have time to discover who you are before your time in school is up. But most importantly, you’ve got to sit down and appreciate the people you know around you for who they are and what they want and believe in. And that kind of stuff is enough for someone like me.

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    Ed SteeleSep 18, 2023 at 6:00 AM

    Minor minor nitpick, Fang is NB and uses they/them pronouns.