Living your best college life in College Craze

Solo creator Pretty Ink proudly presents College Craze, an adult dating sim aimed at female gamers. The game is set in a college town, where you take on the role of a freshman enrolled into Sugardale University and are challenged to balance your income, social media followers and grade point average.

With each and every choice selected when exploring Sugardale, you’ll meet a variety of different characters and discover secrets to unravel about the town while deciding how you want to shape your main character, and what they want their future to look like. Everything depends on how you communicate with the other residents, your classmates, and every other character in the game’s always growing cast.

This results in a multitude of outcomes and consequences to explore even in College Craze’s current stage of development — even if it’s simply debating whether to study, party or work outside of campus during your free time.

Alongside all this is an ongoing mystery surrounding Sugardale, a small town that has quite a commotion happening in its background, plus your very own stalker whose identity and intentions are shrouded in mystery.

There’s a lot to unpack here for a game that is still under active development, which is pretty impressive. College Craze already offers plenty of hours of gameplay where you can familiarise yourself with a somewhat shady town, a diverse cast of characters, and a virtual university that will feel like home in no time — plus plenty of challenges and intrigue. Prepare to spent 14 hours or more discovering what this life simulator currently has to offer — it’s certainly going to grab your attention and get you invested in its future developments.

Mature, explicit dating sim content for women

One thing that should immediately be noted is that College Craze is only intended for those over the age of 18. There’s a generous amount of sexually explicit CGs to discover, with numerous kinks and sexual preferences explored both visually and in written text.

For those who need to know about such things beforehand, an exhaustive list of these considerations can be found on the game’s itch.io page, but the encounters with the characters usually give you a good heads-up of what each character’s preferences are before you get all hands-on with said individual. For example, if he happens to comment how lovely your ankles are, he probably has a foot fetish; if he’s very pushy, he’s probably going to be an extreme and unapologetically dominant sort of guy.

College Craze

The game never forces you to play it in pursuit of the sexy scenes, since its selections always make it clear that you’re the one taking the initiative. As such, those who are not in the mood for such content can back out of it without any concern. My initial playthrough inadvertently resulted in such a situation, since I had my eye on just one specific character — the older, jaded Grady — and I managed to not get laid at all due to missing my chance with him and ignoring everyone else!

The game grabbed my attention on my first play for proudly displaying a “body count” on the play screen at all times — “body count” as in sexy times, obviously — which provides quite the encouragement to see it go up as you experience as many steamy encounters as possible in a single playthrough. If you want to, of course.

College Craze stands out because there are not many other titles that cater specifically to female dating sim fans. Within the otome sphere, we have localised 18+ visual novels such as Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome, Fxxk Me Royally!! Horny Magical Princess and The Bell Chimes for Gold. Within the indie scene in the west, there are even fewer — titles such as Snips & Snails, Tailor Tales and Cute Demon Crashers! aren’t particularly well known.

And don’t even get me started on how any explicit dating sim with a college setting almost always only has a male character to play as — the well-regarded Being a DIK is just one of many similar games that can be found in Steam’s offerings.

Without going too much further off the rails, College Craze is important because it allows its target audience to experience a dating sim with an emphasis on sexual encounters from a female perspective. This is extremely significant, and deserves plenty of attention for catering to an underrepresented portion of the gaming market.

College Craze

College Craze is aimed at adults, but not just in its sexual content. The narrative features gun violence and drugs, and the game warns players from the outset that there may be triggering content including “stalking, emotional manipulation, dubious consent, blackmail, depictions of minor character death and minor physical violence between supporting characters”. The heads-up is certainly appreciated.

“Work hard, play harder”: the game

So let’s get into how College Craze provides this material in such an appealing way. The game doesn’t just hand you the goods — you have to work for them, as the game’s own motto goes. Discovering which selections to make and what decisions lead to the most satisfying outcomes provides plenty of replay value, even in this early version, so one can only image how jam-packed with content the final product will be.

College Craze is rather atypical compared to most visual novels, featuring so many possible choices that it absolutely demands multiple playthroughs, providing an impressive number of hours of gameplay for a game still in development.

For example, the game features an important component of managing your time throughout the story progression, where you’ll have to decide how and where you spend your time doing certain activities. This will give you more opportunities to deepen your relationships, understand characters’ motivations and hidden depths, and uncover more details about your new home and the unfolding events taking place there.

For instance, you can decide to spend time studying with your best friend Blair, who more often than not needs your support, or seek some quality bonding time with your newest buddy Ruby, who is a social media lover. These choices can affect future key events; for example, you might end up having to ask one of them to borrow money, and their responses will depend on who you’ve spent time cosying up to the most.

College Craze

There’s always a feeling that there’s a domino effect at play. Keeping your funds up as in the previous example can and will affect whether or not you get better outcomes when attempting to get out of trouble, or even just when attempting to impress another character.

Of course, you can always just leave both of your friends behind and explore Sugardale alone, hunting for more folks to add to your contact list on the PopMe app so you can potentially hit them up later on down the line.

These are just a few examples of what can be done in College Craze, with so many options handed to you no matter which route you’re taking through the story. To say there’s a lot to explore in Sugardale is an understatement, as there are so many variations on scenes, dialogue and new characters that appear according to your choices. This helps keep the game engaging and compelling — every scene has you making multiple selections to drive things along.

Play your way

College Craze does a fantastic job of putting you in the driver’s seat at all times. It’s completely up to you how you want to project and shape your main character. It starts off simply, with character customisation options including skin time, hair colour and hairstyle, plus the ability to customise both your first and last name.

It doesn’t stop there, however; the very way you play allows you to choose how you go about your time in terms of both education and sexual promiscuity — and the characterisation that relates to those factors. You can even choose whether or not your character is a virgin before the events of the story, which changes how the sexual encounters play out — particularly in terms of how long they can be. Yet another reason to fiddle around with the game’s options to experience even more of its material.

College Craze

There’s a consistent “good girl gone bad” feel to the entire game — perhaps due to being inspired by the game of the same name. You decide just how innocent your main character is — but you can also go right to the other extreme, fully embracing being corrupted, assertive and/or manipulative.

Reveal other characters’ secrets, set them up to fail and even be a homewrecker — either knowingly or unknowingly. Pretty Ink know exactly what they are doing by making everyone in the game — including exes, fathers, husbands and boyfriends — so hot that it’s enormously tempting to just completely throw your morality out of the window.

A bustling, diverse community

Sugardale is home to a wide variety of characters, with many locked into particular narrative routes. As such, in a single playthrough, some characters may go completely unseen or unmentioned, depending on which role you decide to play in its world.

You’ll typically have multiple run-ins with many of the characters you have the opportunity to seduce, and this situations are almost always dependent on you having correctly set things up in the lead-up to interacting with them. This once again solidifies that replaying this early version of College Craze is very much worthwhile, as you may encounter completely different characters in a subsequentl playthrough.

There’s a major branch point early on where you decide which club to join; this narrows down which characters you will encounter and bond with according to whether you join the Arts Association club, the Science club, the Investments club or take the “job” route.

The cast is believable and genuinely diverse, encompassing various ethnicities, social statuses and ages. For example, the seductive Gabe, Blair’s ex — one of many characters who will make you question your morality and respect for your best friend through his appearance alone — is locked into the job route if you want to experience run-ins with him that can turn sexually charged.

Then there’s Grady, the aforementioned older guy. He’s the hardest to track down as he is quite hidden and separated from the rest of the cast, but once you know he has a preference for drinking that should make him easier to find.

Within the Arts Association path, there’s the flirtatious Rafi, who leads the club but is also very much in the sights of your best friend. There are also plenty of female options in this path, too, including fellow club member Demi, and even a few spicy scenes with Blair herself.

The Investments Club mostly involves your stingy roommate Trish and her boyfriend Bryce, a guy who flirts with any attractive women around despite being in a relationship. There’s also the “no strings attached” option of his bro Chad, who is exclusive to this club selection.

The Science club, meanwhile, includes Blair’s stepbrother Thomas, who has quite the tumultuous relationship with many people — including Blair herself. There’s also your fellow club member and rival for club presidency, Shaun, who is a popular student. And this route also features an exclusive encounter with walking red flag Samir. We love to see it.

There are also plenty of scenes that err on the side of teasing or even provide all-out smutfest scenarios outside of the club events. There are scenes with your own science teacher Professor McGregor and the town’s police chief Officer Helms, along with influencer buddies Pierce and Luke, plus your new friend Ruby, of course.

Easily the highlight of these supporting characters is Jace, a super-endearing and laid-back student who provides one of the earliest sexual encounters in the game — and one that left me wanting to learn more about him as a person.

College Craze

Whilst not everyone in the game has a smutty encounter as of yet, there are already plenty of characters to get better acquainted with for what they bring to the overall story.

Teacher Dean is certainly of great importance since he seems to play an integral role in its storyline, and many supporting characters allude to more information on other more major characters.

The street smart, bad boy heartthrob Jay already shows how much of a true gentleman he is — we respect the duality of a protective thug — and Triggs, a contact of his, is an endearing knucklehead. There’s also the human Goddess of a teacher, Dr. Gray, who is surely going to be pursuable based on her alluring looks alone. If I’m wrong, this is the ultimate game of teasing its players.

All of this makes College Craze worth following in the long term as it continues to get updates. It’ll be interesting to see how certain encounters influence the main story, since right now these run-ins function more as side additions to our body count.

As of now, there are plenty of side characters to familiarise yourself with and see where their relationship with your main character will end up. Run away from Courtney, though; she’ll only bring you trouble — though you’ll miss out on a full unlocking of the CG gallery if you don’t fall for her chaos at least once.

It’s worth playing each route multiple times in order to learn more about each character. Appealing solely to one specific character in each run opens up more selections to explore their character and add depth to their own personal conflicts and relationships. This, in turn, opens up the scope of the world, links between characters and provides the possibility of developments in future updates.

It’ll be particularly interesting to see how dating will be implemented with characters you can already bed in the current version — and only time will tell how the relationships you make will shape your character and future.

Presentation and performance

While College Craze’s music and UI are both more than serviceable, particular kudos goes to two presentational elements.

For starters, there are numerous sprites for each game to illustrate their characters in various situations and changes of appearance — a particularly important detail to commit to when said characters are removing their clothes as often as they do here for both parties and naughty times. These sprites are very expressive to indicate shifts in mood; the main character’s angry face always gets me for how legitimately mean she looks!

On top of this, the CG proportions and quality are consistent, too, and the writing that complements them — even during the sex scenes — being believable, engaging and really well-written.

The pages on top of pages of save slots are a welcome feature that comes in handy for your numerous re-runs — though there is an occasional hiccup where you’ll have to click on the interface a few times to get it to register for some reason.

Aside from this occasional issue, I’ve not had any real problems with the game aside from a couple of minor grammatical errors (most notably a case of a character’s name being uncapitalised) over my playtime. And those keen to replay the game will be pleased to hear there’s a quick and helpful skip function!

Conclusion

There’s no denying how many hours it’s possible to sink into College Craze, even in its current state of development. With its newly added gallery feature, you can see how much material you have yet to find — including 109 CGs (not including multiple variations in some cases) — plus the sheer number of choices throughout provide a variety of outcomes from even the most seemingly throwaway of selections. College Craze already surprises me by being free in its current state.

With the game’s major appeal being its numerous steamy scenarios and explicit CGs for a female audience, we’re being encouraged to live our best university life with no condemnation by fully embracing our wild and promiscuous side. The future looks bright for College Craze, so download it now from itch.io to try the 0.31 version for yourself and consider supporting Pretty Ink via her Patreon for early access to version 0.4!

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