Fun fact about my life: I recently got contacted by a creator of an Otome.
The lovely Dr. Kathleen Lieu, known as Nummyz all those years ago, dropped me a “thank you” for looking at all her old games. As thanks, and to express my adoration of this lovely woman, I highly suggest everyone go check out her blog Phil And Mama. She’s an amazing lady, so please send her some love.
Thanks again, Dr. Lieu
The real funny part was that I planned to review another one of her games. Just wanted to get that out there, because it otherwise looks like pandering. Now, without further ado, let’s talk about animal-people.
We as a species have a strange attraction to characters with animal characteristics; namely, we like girls with cat ears, maybe boys with dog ears, and so on and so forth. Maybe it awakens some nurturing instinct in us, but you can bet your junk that people will latch onto media surrounding them. To harness that love is the simple but adorable Purra Academy, where the player gets the chance to form a sweet relationship with various animal spirits. It was one of Nummyz’s first games – back when she was called Bomey – and still stands pretty strong.
So, you know how a lot of early games don’t have much in plot, basically because they were made on a shoestring budget? This is one of those cases.
You are a girl named Air. One night your dreams are disturbed by a sexy-cute cat lady. She informs you that you have been transported to the land of Purra, inhabited by various animal spirits. Every full moon, the magic of the land grants a wish to someone who has found true love. The next one is in fifty days so, if you wish to remain in this beautiful/frilly land of sunshine and bunny-ears, then you need to get a partner and get them to fall for you in fifty days time. Will you stay and find love, or go home?
What was always really great about Nummyz’s titles was their accessibility. Gameplay was never really all that difficult and allowed for new arrivals to sorta ease their way in. Purra follows suit by giving the player some simple goals and plenty of time to accomplish them.
You have a nice little hub world to explore, with four different datable darlings, a school, a shop, and your hotel (home base). To get things started, ya just click on a house and meet the occupant.
Once you have selected the Purra animal spirit of your dreams, you get the option of “talk”, gift,” and “date.” Your best option will be to chat to start building points, which you do by selecting the proper response to each statement. One response will get’em mad, the other will earn you points. Cycle through enough of the dialogue and they will quickly realize that they have fallen in love with you. And once you reach 300, it’s time for a date.
But hold your horses there, cowpoke. Before you hit the town you better make sure you bring the right gifts! Thankfully, Nummyz has made things super easy by outright telling you what you need for a successful date with the “gift” button. They each want ten of a specific fruit, a portrait of themselves, and a delicious cake made from that fruit. If you ever thought that other games had some serious gold diggers, you are in for a shock.
To get the gifts, you need the currency called “shells.” You get shells by working at the shop, but things are thankfully super cheap. You gotta buy flour, a paintbrush, ten pieces of fruit, and a dress for the date. Then, get your butt over to the school, make your gifts, and get back to that date (btw, you’ll need even more shells to bake the cake and paint the picture.) If you made all the correct moves, you’ll get a kiss and the game is over.
As per standard with anything Nummyz, the art is free-flow and loosey-goosey. The bright and glossy flash drawings are very anime-esque, but thankfully easy to identify when it comes to the animals. Basically, while everything is stylized, you won’t have any problems figuring out what you’re looking at.
Excepy this chick. I still don’t know who or what this is.
All in all, the style is very cute and fits the atmosphere of the game. It isn’t fancy, but it works.
Yuu is a Bunny, a Moon Spirit more specifically. He’s our cold and distant specimen, still reeling from the loss of his mother. He has a firm belief that humans are only capable of violence and destruction, so don’t be alarmed when he expresses a deep hatred for you on first meet up. If you’re kind of heart and sharp of tongue, you’ll see a bleeding heart romantic inside that cold and stony face. In short, step on this guy’s toes only a tad and be gentle with your words, and you’ll get someone loyal for life. This could very well have been where my love of the “cold jerk type” started all those years ago and I don’t regret it.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have the over-zealous playboy: Helios, the golden-dog spirit. He’s our Casanova, believing that love is meant to be shared with as many people as possible. The problem, however, is that he doesn’t quite understand that love as an emotion is strongest when given to a single person. Maybe the new human in Purra can teach him the ways of true love, and maybe explain why he’s felt so empty despite the sea of people around him. I personally don’t like to spend too much time on this type, but he’ll tickle the interest of someone.
But maybe animal spirits aren’t what you want from here. In that case, head on down to Red, the Vampire-Bat Spirit (or just a vampire, hard to say). He’s been chastised for most of his eternal life because those without fur are seen as evil (and living off blood doesn’t help one’s image in a place like this.) Furthermore, he lost a human very precious to him a long time ago, a human who gave her blood to him so he could survive. Will Air be able to bring that happiness back, or will she fail the one who needs her help the most? Red’s story is very unique and sweet. I’m always appreciative of some gothic/emo options, so this was a favorite.
Speaking of lost loves, Allity the fox girl long ago lost a loved one on a venture for a rare herb. After his death, this master chef used food to fill the empty void in her heart. Then comes the darling Air, who’s cute face and plucky personality slowly draw Allity back to her old self. But lo, she knows that no one in Purra would accept a love between two girls. But it’s clear that Air is willing to try anyway.
It’s always wonderful to see Nummyz put in an option for same-sex couples. And while we see games include same-sex options almost all the time now, this was a rare and progressive move back in the day.
Purra Academy was a very simple game, even for its time. With appealing, cute graphics and really easy mechanics, it’s a good time waster when you have a few moments to spare. It won’t keep you entertained for hours (not anymore anyway) but it will leave a happy impression on you whenever you are done.
Next Time: Dragon Essence – Color My Wind