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Video Game / Science Girls!

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From Left to Right: Jennifer, Heather, Andrea, Missy and Nicole

A Ren'Py-based indie bishoujo RPG (with a few Visual Novel elements) by Spiky Caterpillar and Hanako Games.

The six members of the science club have gathered to repel the alien invaders attacking their school. Hilarity Ensues.

Available at this finely crafted link.

This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Level 19 is reachable at a minimum, and even that is only due to using the Respawning Enemies.
  • Academic Athlete: Nicole, a member of the Science Club, but also on the track team, as narrated when she joins the party on entering the fourth floor.
  • Action Girl: The six members of the high school Science Club.
  • Actually Four Mooks: The Pre-existing Encounters in the alien world are represented by sprites of only their most numerous member, but hold up to four enemies.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Multiple:
    • Coffee, with its Flavor Text of:
      A can of cool caffeinated goodness!
    • Missy, and her Profile, with its almost Alliterative List of her likes:
      Milkshakes, Anime, Millipedes
  • Adults Are Useless: You see some teachers at the beginning, but they disappear without doing anything helpful. The girls briefly encounter another teacher hiding in the school, but he panics and shoos them out to face the monsters, due to his belief that they'll call the aliens to his hiding place. He thinks Mars Needs Women, which is why they're attacking an all-girls school, and why they've ignored him so far. Actually, they're after hair, so he's not been attacked because he's bald.
  • Algorithmic Story Branching: The Relationship Values with each of the five girls at the end of the game determine which one of them gets taken over by the Chive Mind and becomes the Final Boss.
  • Alien Sky: When the player character enters the alien world, they remark on the "shifting discharges in the sky", and the sky is black.
  • Alliterative List: Subverted with Missy and near Added Alliterative Appeal profile having her likes list of: Milkshakes, Anime, Millipedes, especially how in the All There in the Manual cast list, the order is: Milkshake, Millipede, Anime.
  • Always Accurate Attack: Heather's Better Slingshot deals un-reducable, unavoidable low levels of damage, to all enemies.
  • Ash Face: Nicole's Big Bang has her plug two cables together, creating a huge explosion, and then her face is covered in ashes until the animation ends.
  • Auto-Save: There is a section of the save slots called "auto" that are sometimes filled by the game at specific points, though it seems semi-random and the game never tells the player that it's saving.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Heather's Exponential Explosion power can deliver obscene amounts of damage, but it takes so many uses for it to start doing serious damage that it's completely useless in anything but a long boss fight... and if Nicole or Missy have sufficient investment in their damaging skills, it's still not going to help much.
  • Badass Bookworm: All of the girls, given they fight the alien invasion using nothing but science.
  • Bag of Sharing: For all items, they go into a single item slot for the whole party.
  • Bizarre Beverage Use: Diet soda is used as thrown weapons due to its lack of nutrition making it useless for restoration.
  • Blob Monster: There are slimes that are fought in the Alien world. They come in Palette Swaps of Red, Yellow, and Purple, and can split off or merge together to gain new abilities.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall
    Player: What do we need to do before we explore another world?
    Missy: To save the game?
  • Catching Some Z's: Stunned characters are given a Forced Sleep, given that they have blue Zs above their sprite and the un-stunning is described as "wake up", with more than 3 Zs meaning that they're asleep for longer,
  • Cap: Multiple:
    • Skills start at Level 1, and can only be upgraded 4 times, to a max of level 5.
    • In the inventory, Doughnuts are cappped at a max of 13, a.k.a, a baker's dozen.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Early on, when crossing a bridge of interwoven grass, the party will talk of how the plants are interlinked together; Missy makes a pun on "Chive Mind" that leaves everyone groaning, and they leave it at that. It turns out that the Chive Mind is the Final Boss, and the true leader behind the alien's attack.
  • Chromosome Casting: The titular science girls are the protagonists and are the only people who matter to the plot. Every male shown is a teacher and just used to establish the setting; only one even has any dialogue, and it's just for one short scene. It's a Justified because it's a girls' school.
  • Combat Medic: Jennifer is the primary healer, but has a nasty combat move in Nerve Pinch, and has a Finishing Move like all the girls do.
  • Common HTTP Status Code: For both 403 and 404:
    • Classroom 403, the Forbidden's code number, has a blackboard that says: Entrance Forbidden - This means you".
    • If classroom 404 is entered while Missy is in the party, as the Science Club member who's focus is Computers, she says:
    404 monster not found!
  • Control Room Puzzle: When falling into a pit, 5 Slirrup tongues must be pulled or left unpulled to bring down the wall blocking the exit.
  • Cool Gate: The gate to an alien world.
  • Counter-Attack: Spiked Ball type Stealth Balls have a Retaliate attack that hits their attacker, immediately after being attacked by them. They use it a number of times based on how often they were attacked, so Missy can get murdered by them fairly easily if she hits them with her Spam ability, which hits multiple times (and thus triggers multiple Retaliates).
  • Curtains Match the Window: Played straight in the case of:
  • Cute Little Fangs: Andrea.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Missy's Spam attack, which hits with several weak, unable-to-miss blows. They can possibly do 0 damage, but can also do progressively more damage as the ability is upgraded, along with more hits, meaning it can be a very reliable power attack late game.
  • Did Not Think This Through: The party destroys the power source of the gate home... while on the alien world. Heather even lampshades that she could easily have built a time bomb that would go off after they had escaped back home.
  • Easier Than Easy: After complaints that the initial release was Nintendo Hard, an update made the original difficulty, "Graduate", and added two, progressively easier difficulty levels: "Standard", which adjusted the amounts of damage done to make things a bit easier, and "Elementary", which was "Standard", but it refills your health at the end of every combat as well as adding a Gradual Regeneration-style of Regenerating Health, during combat.
  • Economy Cast: Outside of the party, the only other character you interact with is one teacher who shoos you off after, because he's scared of the party attracting monsters.
  • Enemy Scan: Missy can pull one of these, and scanning makes it easier to dodge and hit enemies. It gets more useful as you level it up, by having the Hit Points measurement stay above the monster's head, instead of having to be memorized for that battle. It also has the unusual function of acting as a debuff, lowering enemy accuracy and dodge percentages when used on them, which isn't a normal function of Enemy Scan abilities.
  • Enemy Roll Call: When the game is won, at the credits end with a Defeated Monsters section listing all the enemies the party defeated by name, and how many of them were defeated.
  • Experience Points: Awarded after defeating enemies.
  • The Faceless: The nameless main character also wears a mask throughout the game. Apparently it's part of her ongoing science experiment.
  • Feminist Fantasy: It's about an all-girl party kicking butt, so it's got this element to it. This is further enhanced by the fact that the party are all interested in STEM topics, traditionally male-dominated.
  • Fight Woosh: The background of the scene right before a fight, pixelates to form the background of the battle screen.
  • Final Boss: With a twist! Whichever girl the main character has the highest relationship value with will be kidnapped and used as the Chive Mind's puppet, using their abilities against you. Pray it isn't Nicole.
  • Finishing Move: At Level 6, the girls each get a Finisher, which gives extra experience when used to defeat a monster, with the bonus amount being larger with stronger monsters. Most of the finishers target one monster only, but some don't. The three most prominent:
    • Heather's Ballista, which unusually is the only one of the Finishers actually discussed in-game during the story; she finds parts for it in a storeroom and constructs it herself.
    • Nicole's Big Bang, which hits all enemies, while consuming all her SP and getting stronger if more is consumed over the minimum. Add on the XP bonus, and Nicole can rapidly outstrip the rest of the party in levels.
    • The Player Character's Psycho-Analysis, a single target attack. Alone of the Finishers, this is the only move that has a different animation if it kills the target; if it won't kill, the animation is very fast, but if it will, it gets the single most complicated animation in the game.
  • Fixed Damage Attack: Multiple, all from Heather.
    • Her Better Slingshot deals a small, fixed amount of damage that can't be block and isn't affected by Damage Reduction.
    • Her Exponential Explosion deals damage based on the Powers Of Two, going up by a power with each successive use, but can have its Damage Reduced, but that DR only does up to blocking around 3 points of damage even for bosses.
  • Flavor Text: For items and some skills, depending on if it's inside or outside battle:
    • Items:
      • Mandarin:
        A small, tart orange.
      • Doughnut:
        Sugary, deep-fried yumminess.
      • Banana:
        A curving, yellow fruit.
      • Kumquats:
        A handful of tiny citrus fruits.
      • Cake:
        Let us eat cake!
      • Jelly Doughnut:
        This unholy doughnut is filled with raspberry jam.
      • Coffee Milkshake:
        Combining the best of coffee and milkshakes, this will fill you with energy.
      • Blood Orange:
        A large, reddish orange.
      • Incomplete Slingshot:
        Heavy, stretchy bands and plans for a slingshot. Heather wants them.
    • Skills:
      • The Defend Command, in battle:
        Hide behind your hands. Monsters will do less damage to you, and you will regenerate 2 extra SP.
      • Lightning, outside of battle:
        A powerful electrostatic discharge fries one enemy.
      • Nerve Pinch, in battle:
        Pinch a sensitive place to damage one enemy and possibly paralyze it for a round.
      • Affirmation, in battle:
        Increase self-esteem to boost attack power and defense.
      • Ballista, out of battle:
        Torsional springs hurl massive bolts at enemies.
  • Forced Sleep: What Stunning is, given that it's visually indicated by Catching Some Z's, and enables an attack called "Nightmare" from Dreamworms. The main character can do this with Hypnosis, and unlike in most video games, pretty much everything is vulnerable to it- though any damage wakes the character up.
  • Gradual Regeneration: In multiple ways:
    • In Elementary Difficulty, Regenerating Health happens at 1 Hit Point per round of battle.
    • SP is recovered by 1 at the start of every turn.
    • Walking around on the maps, restores SP at around 10 steps per SP point.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: A few of the battle voice clips are in Japanese, despite no evidence the game takes place in Japan (beyond all the anime).
  • Healer Signs On Early: Jennifer gets a First Aid skill to restore Hit Points, on her second Character Level, which can be reached after two battles in the starting location.
  • Height Angst: Andrea, when she's introduced, is said:
    she hates being teased about her height.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: The club leader is the only one whose name you can choose, and if no name is chosen, "Player" is used.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Averted. Jennifer tries to get Missy to hack the alien transport device, but Missy makes it clear she can't hack a device that may not be a computer in the conventional sense, much less one she knows diddly-squat about. Even her Enemy Scan doesn't work on these principles; while it's hard to figure out how she's using spam or deleting enemies from existence, her Enemy Scan ability clearly shows her using a computer to analyze and record info about her targets, making it the most realistic of her abilities.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: You can restore Health and SP with the food items available. In an interesting twist, characters have different tastes; certain items are *much* more effective in replenishing stats than others on some characters, simply because they like that kind of food. This is most useful for Andrea, since the food she favors is Doughnuts, and they're the most common items in the game; getting all of them does require the party to go into the adjoining school and fight a miniboss, but it basically sets up Andrea to use her skills willy-nilly for the rest of the game.
  • Hypno Pendulum: The player's Hypnotise skill, which stuns enemies for a time; its animation has the main character taking out a gold pocket watch and swinging it a bit.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: In order of difficulty:
    • Elementary:
      A relaxed setting, where losing is unlikely.
    • Standard:
      A normal adventure.
    • Graduate
      For RPG fans seeking a challenge.
  • Idle Animation: Spratlings jump up and down even when the player's activated window isn't the game window.
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: Invoked and discussed by Missy after the Suspicious Video-Game Generosity.
  • Kick Chick: Jennifer, whose basic attack is called "Kick". Missy also has the ability to "Sweep", which seems to be her making a sweep kick.
  • Kill Enemies to Open: The floors of the school, lower floors are unavailable until all the rooms are explored, meaning, all the enemies inside them have been killed.
  • Kill It with Fire: Nicole's Fireball skill.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Nicole's Inertia skill, uses a giant magnet to pull an enemy toward her, then another enemy is used as the target. Shooting them together, and dealing damage to both.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: When encountering an alien grass bridge, a pun on Hive Mind is made:
    Nicole: Are you saying that the grass is a single giant creature?
    Missy: A sort of chive mind!
    Nicole winces at the pun.
  • Lazy Backup: Averted; only your front row of girls can take actions during combat, but you can swap characters in and out of the front row at any time, and if a front-row girl is knocked out, a back-row girl will automatically step up to take her place. Only if the whole party goes down will you get a game over.
  • Level-Map Display: In areas where the party walks around and is larger than a single screen, a.k.a the Alien World and the Wormhole, there's a MAP button at the top of the screen that opens up a map of the whole area, except for areas like inside the mountain tunnel, where the area is so big, just a little bit is cut off.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: For both HP and SP.
  • Magic-Powered Pseudoscience: All the techniques of science, none of the bulky equipment. The one exception is using Vinegar to kill Base Squishes; the party actually is carrying the bottles of Vinegar with them, and use one up every time they kill a Base Squish with it, meaning it works like it would in the real world (no free Vinegar for SP here).
  • Magikarp Power: Inverted with Heather's Exponential Explosion. Leveling it up turns it from Awesome, but Impractical into completely useless, before the update that allowed access of every level of a skill up to the highest level, and it's still more efficient to keep using the lowest level, as using the skill locks the cost of repeats at that same level. Such as LV 5, costing 25 SP. Want to use it twice? Get at least 50 SP over the course of the battle.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Some of the enemies you fight qualify as this, using the move Engulf to steal a party member and began chowing down on them; any damage releases them, thankfully.
  • Mind Control: Mindworms, implied by a few lines of dialogue to be the alien's leaders; there's a particularly weird and nightmarish variant after defeating the Treeman boss where the main character narrates the experience of being taken over by a giant one on the Alien Planet, which prompts her to order the party underground to avoid its further attention.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: When Andrea's stunned by the Mindworms' hypnotism, her eyes lose their pupils and become a foggy brown.
  • Money Spider: Averted. There's no currency at all, which means the player doesn't have to wonder why invading alien plants would bother to carry Earth cash.
  • Motor Mouth: Andrea:
    • Remarked with Andrea as O.O.C. Is Serious Business, when she's encountered and isn't saying anything:
      She's not saying anything. That's strange. Usually Andrea talks a mile a minute.
    • Andrea's first converation has her speak for 6 text boxes straight, each of which at least start their second line.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Well, cute, anyway.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Averted when the two Missys meet up in the wormhole. We never find out if the second, two-levels-higher Missy is from a different part of time or another universe or whatnot, though.
  • Nintendo Hard: The original difficulty version of the game. Averted in the newer versions, as the difficulty is now adjustable between three different levels.
  • Non-Damaging Status Infliction Attack: The "Hypnosis" attack, which just puts enemies into a Forced Sleep, taking away their turn.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: The last line of the game.
  • Party in My Pocket: The player's character is the sprite that represents the whole party when moving places on a map.
  • Point Build System: As you level up, you're given points to allocate to different skills and stats. It is possible to put yourself in a bad situation by leveling up your skills too high without leveling up the SP needed to fuel them.
  • Pre-existing Encounters: In the alien world, you'll be able to see enemies on the world map, but it changes right back to random when you return to the school.
  • Plant Aliens: The invading aliens are plant-based.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: After escaping the alien world, you still have to fight the alien boss after you return to the school.
  • Punny Name: Some of the enemies' names are puns:
    • Power Plant, a power-generating plant
    • The Worm series of enemies:
      • Mindworm: A worm that attacks the mind.
      • Dreamworm: A worm that attacks through dreams.
  • Randomly Drops: Played with, it gives the appearance of such, like a Doughnut or a Pizza Slice, at least on Elementary Difficulty, being given right after the fourth floor Greater Slirrup battle, but that's a one time event, more due to entering the fourth floor than defeating a Greater Slirrup.
  • Regenerating Health: By Gradual Regeneration, in Elementary Difficulty, at happens at 1 Hit Point per round of battle.
  • Regenerating Mana: By Gradual Regeneration. SP is recovered by 1 at the start of every turn.
  • Relationship Values: They exist, but they've a minor impact on the game. Specifically, who gets kidnapped by the aliens before the final boss.
  • Save-Game Limits: The number of save slots appears to be effectively infinite, being listed in groups of 6, with more than 100 possible groups. Saves can be made almost anywhere, other than mid-battle or in some cutscenes directly following a battle. It is possible to effectively make a save in a battle, by making one during the Fight Woosh, or around then, where loading will be loading into an unescapable battle start.
  • School Setting Simulation: Aliens are invading school, and the titular group has to fight them off.
  • Science Hero: Each of the members has her own specialty. The unnamed head of the science club specializes in psychology, Jennifer in biology, Nicole in physics, Heather in engineering, Missy in computer science and Andrea in chemistry.
  • Science Marches On: In-Universe, when the party finds a "textbook on geology old enough that it doesn't mention continental drift", in a stash of hairballs in the alien world.
  • Shock and Awe: Nicole's Lightning skill:
    A powerful electrostatic discharge fries one enemy.
  • Shout-Out: Multiple:
    • To NetHack of all things. When you find Missy, she's playing it.
    • Missy also compares the spacetime gradient difference in the wormhole to an improbability engine.
    • To You Have to Burn the Rope, when during the optional volcano section, the girls try using a safety rope and it burns up. Andrea grumbles:
      Andrea: This is STUPID! Why did we have to burn the rope?
  • Shows Damage: The Power Plant's orbs darken as it takes more and more damage. All of them are dark when it's close to death.
  • Solid Gold Poop: The invading aliens are after our hair.
  • Starter Equipment: The party's inventory starts out with 3 Mandarins.
  • Status Infliction Attack: All about making the enemy not take their turn:
    • Nerve Pinch:
      Pinch a sensitive place to damage one enemy and possibly paralyze it for a round.
    • A party member being devoured deals Damage Over Time and removes their turn.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: The game is generally sparse on items, but you get a crapload of them from a nearby pit just before the boss fight with the tree creature. it's actually a Hopeless Boss Fight setting up the next part of the plot, so the items aren't actually useful.
  • Tech Points: You get one each level. They're used for upgrading abilities and stats.
  • Throw the Book at Them: When the teachers are being attacked, one of them uses a textbook as a weapon against the Plant Aliens:
    Ms. Bullfinch swings her full-size Teacher's Edition textbook at the carrot - and it moves to dodge her blow!
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Things get weird during the wormhole ride back home, but nobody decides to worry about it in the end, figuring the universe can handle a little paradox or two.
  • Title Drop: Just after the girls return to Earth.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Andrea, who's the shortest of the Science Club and has Height Angst.
  • Underground Monkey: Multiple monsters have different variants:
    • Slirrups: Slirrup, Greater Slirrup (is bigger), Spitting Slirrup, unfought Giant Slirrups.
    • Worms: Mindworm, Dreamworm, some unfought Giant Mindworm.
    • Balls: Stealth Balls, Spiked Balls (Look like Stealth Balls, until they Uncloak)
  • Useless Useful Spell: Averted. Bosses are just as susceptible to status effects and stat decreases as any other foe.
  • When Trees Attack: One of the boss enemies is called a "Treeman".
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Missy makes a joke about this if you rescue her from being brainwashed by the Chive Mind.
  • You Watch Too Much X: The main character accuses Nicole of reading too many science fiction novels early on when she's still denying the plants are invading aliens.