Hey everyone, and welcome to our next edition of Android Amusements. As you probably know by now, each week Jeremy or I go through an Android app or game that we’re really digging at the moment. This week, I’m going to talk about one of the more recent Kairosoft Android releases, Pocket Academy. Sound familiar? It should. The app has already been available on iOS devices for a while, but has only just recently made the jump to Droid.
Like all Kairosoft games, Pocket Academy is a simulation. In this instance, you’re a headmaster running a high school. You have to make it incredibly appealing by hiring good, experienced teachers, placing rooms near each other to create appealing “spots” and spending the appropriate points to ensure all students are well educated and prepared to handle their dream jobs. You have to be really careful with money though, as you have to pay maintenance fees at the end of every month, as well as teachers’ salaries. Fortunately, you also get tuition from students each month, which is dependant on how advanced the school is, so it all works out. As you can guess, it’s a simulation more similar to World Cruise Story or Hot Springs Story than Game Dev Story or Dungeon Village.
The high school envisioned in Pocket Academy is based upon the Japanese high school experience, so prepare for some minor culture shock. For example, high school covers grades 10-12 there, so you only have three years to prepare kids for their dream jobs. All students also wear uniforms and there are both vegetable gardens and animal sheds to help raise money. Some of the biannual events may seem a bit odd as well, as you can send the kids off on a hike or to hold a school-wide poetry contest. Still, they’re minor adjustments and you shouldn’t be too flumoxed by any unorthodox behavior.
So basically, here’s how the game proceeds. A school year begins. If you’re first starting out, you’ll probably get only one or two students, with more transferring in later in the year. However, if you’ve been playing for a while you can start a year with at least six new students. These kids’ base stats are very low and you have to make sure you have good teachers at high levels ready to work with them. You can also click on the classroom to use three kinds of accumulated points to teach supplemental classes that will boost their English, Math, Spanish, Science and Social Science aptitudes. The higher the stat for each, the better grades the kids get and the better chance they have of getting their dream jobs. Higher overall scores for your school increase your rank among other schools and earn you bonus cash each semester. Likewise, kids who get their dream job will leave a donation when they leave. High placement scores and grades also influence what kind of students will want to attend your school.
Of course, there are other things to manage as well. You can also have clubs in your school, which can boost popularity of students participating and lure in new students. The “spots” mentioned earlier can also boost interest in certain areas of the school, make them more effective and convince new students to join. The fact that students don’t roam as far as teachers do also means you have to plan the layout of your school in such a way that every facility you add will actually get used.
It’s all very strategic and odds are you will end up often being low on cash, but after about the seventh in-game year things start pulling together. That’s when I hit my Pocket Academy stride.
Pocket Academy is pretty reasonably priced at $4.99. Still, if you’re unsure about the app there is a free Lite version available. That one only limits you to a few years of play though, so you’ll only get to see one class of students graduate. It is enough to give a good taste of the full game though and help you determine if you should pick this app up.
Product Page [Google Play]