Follow TV Tropes


Visual Novel / Sweet Elite

Go To
A school of love and secrets.

Welcome to Arlington Academy, a prestigious boarding school for the highly ambitious, extremely talented and incredibly wealthy. Those who aren't from rich families but want to get into the exclusive school can apply for a scholarship, a limited number of which are offered each year. Only the most diligent and intelligent students are accepted.

Scholar is one such fortunate high schooler. Through a combination of hard work and determination, they managed to snag a spot into the school of their dreams. Unfortunately, their middle class upbringing earns them scorn from their peers; Karolina, the school's resident top model, is one such detractor, who believes Scholar isn't good enough for the academy. Neha, Karolina's friend and general fashion expert, isn't as hostile, but still rather cold towards the newcomer.

Thankfully for Scholar, not everyone at the school shares that elitist attitude. There's Alistair, a fellow scholarship student and down-to-earth athlete; Axel, a laid back, teenage rock star who's so mysterious no one knows his real name; Claire, a shy girl whose caring nature tends to overshadow her brilliant mind; Ellie, a part-time prankster with a passion for robotics; Raquel, an energetic, soccer enthusiast who's honest to a fault; Tadashi, the school's student body president whose tight-laced manner hides a softer side; Tegan, a tech genius who can easily hack into the most secure of databases but can't hack his charisma stat; and Tyler, a talented artist who loves nothing more than hanging out with his friends and sharing memes.

Not everything at Arlington is as it seems, though. Secrets abound within the academy, ones that could change the lives of its students. It's up to Scholar and their new friends to uncover the truth. They maybe even develop a crush along the way.

Sweet Elite is an online visual novel created by Dulcet Games Inc. Development began in 2016 before being opened to the public in June 2018.

For the sake of simplicity, the player character will be referred to as "Scholar/your Scholar/our Scholar" and with gender-neutral pronouns.

This visual novel provides examples of:

  • Achievement System: Each chapter has a specific number of achievements that can be unlocked. Some achievements can be obtained just by playing through a certain scene and others are only obtainable through replays.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Most of the characters have nicknames, ones that they've been given by each other or by other students; Ellie has "Tinker", Tegan and Tyler as a duo are referred to as "TNT", Scholar has "Arlington's Sweetheart", Ellie will often call Claire "Claire-bear", and so on.
  • Almost Kiss: After the power goes out, Scholar and their LI are stuck in the chalet's basement while the situation is sorted out. While they're waiting, Scholar and their LI have a conversation that leads to them leaning into each other for a kiss. They're abruptly interrupted by Raquel (if you're on Ellie's route) or Ellie (if you're on anyone else's) before they can lock lips
  • Animesque: The April 2020 update included revamped character sprites that were inspired by the anime aesthetic, mainly the exaggerated facial features. Averted with the previous sprites as they leaned more towards realistic proportions. For a comparison, this is Neha's current look and this was her previous appearance.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Every unlocked illustration will automatically change to reflect any alterations made to your Scholar's appearance. This means that if you become dissatisfied with your Scholar's look at any point, you can change their appearance without having to re-unlock any illustrations.
    • Characters will appear in predetermined locations. This removes the potential of getting stuck in the middle of a chapter because the character you're looking for just won't show up.
  • Audience Surrogate: While there are some things about Arlington that they're already familiar with, Scholar still has a lot to learn about the academy, such as how it's run and who inhabits it. This allows the player to learn about the school, and the universe it resides in, at the same time Scholar does.
  • Author Avatar: Serena, who's a stand-in for the game's manager/head writer. Serena is a senior at Arlington who helps you become acquainted with the game's mechanics and any chapter-specific content.
  • Bait-and-Switch: During the prep for the FAXION competition, it's mentioned that a student from the Performing Arts Department will assist Scholar in applying their make up. You'd expect Axel to show up, but there is one other character who's also in that department: Andy, the senior student from the tutorial chapter.
  • Bland-Name Product: Whenever there is a reference to a household name, the name is altered slightly, leading to sites named "Tweeter" and "Boogle", games named "Fortday" and films named "Titenic".
  • Boarding School: Arlington Academy is a prestigious boarding school for ambitious and talented teens. It's also incredibly exclusive: you either have to be supremely wealthy or incredibly hard-working to get accepted.
  • Breather Episode: After each story arc, there is a chapter where the characters get to relax a little from the previous chapter's events; after the tense, emotional turmoil of Tadashi getting out from under his father's iron grip, there's a chapter about the Main 10 getting ready for a Halloween party.
  • Character Customization: You can choose what your Scholar's name, gender, sex and appearance is as well as what they wear. Your Scholar's look will be reflected in illustrations, though they will mostly be shown wearing the school's uniform.
  • Character Portrait: On the left side of the game's dialogue box, there's a small portrait of whoever is speaking at the moment, be it Scholar or one of the other characters.
  • Cliffhanger: Most chapters that lead into a story arc end with some sort of hook. Chapter 10, in particular, ends with Karolina fainting, her and Neha's relationship in uncertainty, and Tadashi revealing that he's known about Karolina's crush for some time.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Each of the academy's departments has a specific color associated with them: blue for Business, Commerce and Politics, yellow for Performing Arts, gray for Pure and Applied Sciences, green for Health Sciences and Biology, red for Athletics, purple for Fine Arts, and black for Fashion. Students can wear a pin that resembles the school's emblem, in the center of which is a colored gem that shows which department that student belongs to (e.g. Alistair wears a pin with a red gem since he's in the Athletics Department).
  • Content Warnings: Chapter 10 opens with Serena warning the player that certain scenes will deal with eating disorders and mental health. Right before one of those scenes, another warning will appear with the option to view or skip. Skipping these scenes don't affect the overall flow of the chapter.
  • Difficulty Levels: The love interests pose different difficulties in terms of how easy it is to get know them and how some of them have an easier time opening up to Scholar than others. From easiest to hardest, it goes Claire, Alistair, Raquel, Tyler, Ellie, Tadashi, Axel, Tegan, Neha, then Karolina.
  • Dramatic Drop: Lady Arlington drops Scholar's paperwork once she lays her eyes on them, complete with Jaw Drop.
  • Effortless Achievement: Some achievements can be unlocked by simply playing through a scene; the "Rude Awakening" achievement is automatically unlocked towards the end of Chapter 3.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Tadashi is sometimes called "Tadashit", courtesy of Axel. Raquel also refers to him as "Dashi" at one point. Tadashi doesn't appreciate either nickname.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Your Scholar can date any of the Main 10, regardless of their sex/gender.
  • Fictional Currency: Arlington Coins can be used to buy clothing. They can be obtained by exchanging a certain about of Diamonds for a set amount of Coins.
  • Fish out of Water: Scholar soon becomes overwhelmed by just how different Arlington is, both in operation and atmosphere.
  • Freudian Excuse: During Scholar's heart-to-heart with Karolina in Chapter 11, she explains that she grew up basically friendless due to her parents strict control over who she could and couldn't befriend. While she did try fighting against her parent's control, what few friends she was able to make didn't. She views Arlington's abysmal graduation rate amongst its scholarship population as a reminder that, no matter how hard she may work at keeping someone in her life, she'll never be good enough to keep that person around.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Karolina recognizes that the way she was treated by her parents and fickle friends in the past in no way excuses her treatment of the academy's scholarship students in the present.
  • Halloween Episode: Chapter 9 is set during the last week of October. Half of the chapter is about the Academy setting up Halloween decorations, with Scholar assisting one of the main ten. The rest of it takes place during the Academy's Halloween party and each of the main cast gets their own costume, Scholar included.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: In Chapter 0, after Serena explains how to access the game, a pop up will appear where you can type in whatever name you want to give your Scholar. The name will appear whenever Scholar is talking to themselves or others, and characters will refer to Scholar by name every so often.
  • Info Dump: By virtue of doubling as a tutorial, Chapter 0 contains a lot of information about the game's mechanics, all of it delivered by Serena. She'll also pop up whenever a chapter includes a particular quirk, and explains what the player needs to know through a repeatable monologue.
  • Jaw Drop: Upon seeing Scholar for the first time, Lady Arlington looks aghast. Scholar notes that it seems as though she's seen a ghost.
  • Liar Revealed: During the FAXION competition, one of the judges deliberately lets it slip that Neha is a scholarship student. Neha didn't tell anyone due to Karolina's feelings about them. To say that their friendship takes a hard hit after this revelation is an understatement.
  • Mini-Game: When the site first launched, a dog walking mini-game was available. Its objective was to chase down a dog that managed to get free of its leash while avoiding various obstacles. The closer you managed to get to the dog, the more Coins you'd receive, with the max being five. The mini-game could've been played an unlimited number of times, but it would only give out Coins once per day. This feature was later removed as part of the April 2020 update.
  • Myth Arc: Since the beginning of the game, there are hints that there's something going on behind the scenes of the academy.
  • No Bulk Discounts: The Bank has set prices for Keys and Diamonds. Larger bundles do include an additional amount of Keys or Diamonds that are credited upon purchase, but the prices remain the same regardless.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Louise Vuitton, one of the judges for the FAXION contest, is the Sweet Elite universe's version of Louis Vuitton.
  • Nominal Importance: The judges for the FAXION contest are all given names, but not any sprites.
  • Noodle Incident: When Raquel learns that the pre-competition interviews will be live streamed to the public, she freaks out about her parents finding out that she did... something before rushing to find Tadashi. There are some hints regarding what that something might be (Tegan mentions that it would've made for an interesting graduation display) but what she actually did remains unclear.
  • Orwellian Retcon: Chapter 0 got a soft rewrite as part of the April 2020 update. Among the changes was the replacement of C and A with Andy. C and A aren't referenced at all and their position has been completely replaced with Andy's. In fact, if you lowered or raised C and A's infinity before the update, Andy's meter would reflect your original choice, even if you haven't interacted with her since the update.
  • Penny Among Diamonds: Scholar is a teen from a middle-class family who attends a private school predominately filled with rich students. This fact is brought up a lot, mostly by Karolina in a derisive way.
  • Play Every Day: The Daily Gift is a claimable reward that can only be obtained once per day. Said gift includes five Keys, a currency that lets you unlock and replay chapters.
  • Player and Protagonist Integration: While some aspects of Scholar's personality and actions can be defined by the player, Scholar is considered a character in their own right. As such there are some actions and personality traits that can't be changed no matter your playing style.
  • Player Character: You're placed in the shoes of an ordinary high school student who attends a not so ordinary high school. Much of Scholar's appearance and personality can be chosen by you.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: What sex/gender your Scholar is doesn't affect who they can date or how the story plays out.
  • Relationship Values: A love interest's feelings for Scholar is measured by an infinity meter. A LI's infinity can be raised, lowered or left unchanged by picking certain dialogue options. Sometimes before or after a dialogue choice, two buttons will appear, one for friendship (handshake symbol) and one for romance (heart symbol). The friendship option can be used on any LI that the player doesn't want to pursue and the romance option is for those who want to date a specific LI. Each LI will act accordingly based on your choices.
  • Scholarship Student: Arlington offers only ten scholarships per year to students who can prove that they're hardworking and ambitious enough to make it through the school's grueling curriculum. Alistair and Neha were part of last year's batch with Scholar being one of this year's.
  • School Forced Us Together: Each of the love interests have different backgrounds from each other and at least one of them is in a similar situation to Scholar's. Since they're in a boarding school, it's inevitable that they'd end up interacting with each other frequently.
  • Score Screen: At the end of each chapter, the game's screen will change to show you how many pages of dialogue you read, how many illustrations you've unlocked, and so on.
  • Scoring Points: Players can score infinity points with the various love interests throughout each chapter. The character page tells you how much infinity each character has via a percentage.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Axel and Tyler don't appear until Chapter 2. It's explained that Axel just got back from touring and Tyler had an... unspecified thing to take care of.
  • Shall I Repeat That?: After describing a particular game mechanic or chapter quirk, Serena will often ask Scholar if they understood what she said. The player can choose to repeat the explanation verbatim or continue with the chapter.
  • Shout-Out: During the Halloween party, most of the love interests are dressed up as a character from another work.
    • Ellie, Tegan, and Tyler are dressed as Alice, the Cheshire Cat, and the Mad Hatter respectively from Alice: Madness Returns.
    • Axel is wearing a version of the Phantom's outfit.
    • Karolina is dressed as Cruella De Vil from Disney's 101 Dalmatians.
    • Tadashi is forced into a Pikachu onesie.
  • Status Quo Is God: In Chapter 8, right after Tadashi's plan to prove his father's criminal guilt works, one of the consequences of his father's actions results in Tadashi's role as Arlington's student body president being revoked. However, it's pointed out by Tegan that there's no precedent that prevents him from running for the presidency again, a fact that he considers and ultimately agrees with. This results in Tadashi winning the race and regaining his status as student body president soon after he lost it.
  • Story Arc: Each of the main cast gets a story arc that showcases a deeper side to them, such as a familial problem or a personal issue. Chapters 4 and 5 are about Scholar trying to figure out how exactly they fit into Arlington Academy, Chapters 7 and 8 are about Tadashi and his controlling father, Chapters 10 and 11 are about Karolina dealing with an eating disorder, etc.
  • Suspend Save: Your progress is automatically saved while playing, though you can force a save.
  • Tournament Arc: Chapters 4 and 5 are about the Department Competition, an annual event at Arlington Academy in which each department showcases a massive project that its students collaborated on. While the main event takes place in one day, there is a pre-competition interview with each participating student.
  • Two-Teacher School: Averted. There are eight teachers who show up at least once in-game. Each one has their own unique appearance and one of them is also the President and Dean of the Academy. Custodial staff are also mentioned several times.
  • Under the Mistletoe: During the end-of-semester party in Chapter 12, Scholar and the love interest with the second-highest infinity are targeted by a fellow student who holds a sprig of mistletoe above them. They, as well as a couple other students, pressure Scholar and whoever they were chatting with to kiss. However, they're caught by Scholar's crush, who quickly becomes jealous and leads to a temporary distancing between them and Scholar.
  • Unbroken First-Person Perspective: The entirety of the main game is told through Scholar's point of view.
  • Video Game Objectives: Objectives are given throughout each chapter, usually of the "find [character]" or "go to [location]" variety. Objectives pop up onscreen first and a list of them can be viewed underneath the game's screen.
  • Video Game Tutorial: Chapter 0 follows Scholar as they're taught the ropes by Serena, one of the senior students. She breaks down the main mechanics of the game before introducing them to Lady Arlington, the school's headmaster.
  • Visible Silence: Sometimes during character interactions, ellipses will be used to signify that a character is processing information or is simply choosing not to speak.
  • Webcomic Time: Time does move within the game, just at a slower pace than it does in real life. For example, about three months have passed in game from chapters 1 to 9 while almost two years passed between the release of those same chapters.
  • Wild Teen Party: Raquel hosts a homecoming party in her dorm. Cue loud music, some underage drinking, dancing and a few students keeping a lookout to make sure their party isn't discovered.
  • Year X: The story takes place during the year 20XX.