The title of the game various characters can be seen above the game title including teachers and students

Valthirian Arc: Hero School Story 2 Review

Game: Valthirian Arc: Hero School Story 2
Genre: Adventure, RPG, Simulation, Strategy
System: Nintendo Switch (Also available on Steam (Windows & Linux))
Developer|Publisher: Agate Games | PQube
Age Rating: EU 12 | US E 10+
Price: UK £16.99 | US $19.99 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: June 21st, 2023

Review code provided with many thanks to PQube. 

Back to School

Ever wanted to run your own school in a fantasy setting where you train up your students and then send them on dangerous quests? Then Valthirian Arc: Hero School Story 2 might be the game for you. I always had the original game on my radar but didn’t end up getting around to it, so I am jumping on this series as a newbie. (However, you can read Yvonne’s review of the first game here)

Luckily it doesn’t appear you need any prior knowledge of the first game to get into this one. The game combines management sim with turn-based jRPG to create a casual but addictive experience that will undoubtedly perk the interest of those looking for a long gaming time sink. There is a lot to like about this sequel, although I will caution against picking it up on launch as I encountered several glitches and a game-breaking bug which will hopefully be fixed soon.

The game has a Fire Emblem: Three Houses feel to its narrative. There are four schools which unite to keep the monsters at bay yet, strangely, keep their schools separate from one another. As a new principal, you take on the leadership of a new school to train the students up to graduation and hopefully venture on to do some good in the world. Or maybe they’ll just end up working at some fantasy coffee shop. Who knows?

Pick Your Principal

You’re able to pick between a male and female principal sprite, but you can’t customize their appearance. You can, however, choose your school logo and even name your establishment. I went with something otter related, but on reflection, I kind of wish I called it ‘Buzzsaw Approved’ since I haven’t used that joke in a while. For the record, I did not encounter buzzsaws in this game. The game will regularly interrupt gameplay with story segments presented with text. These drive the overall story forward with some moments allowing you to choose between two dialogue choices, most of these have no noticeable impact on the story but sometimes decisions will determine what rewards you get to help your school.

The story is the expected formula of students talking away to each other about their feelings, much of which I didn’t feel too invested in. A bit of a problem I encountered is that some story segments are presented out of order. In one instance, I had three students at the school, but a story segment played where a student complained he was the only student. But that’s just the start of the glitches I encountered… we’ll get to that.

A story segment screen. The character Rodno is saying 'anyone getting bored of these lil blue guys? Can't we fight something else?'
Better than math lesson

Manage the School

Gameplay is split into two segments: the management side of the school and the exploration segments which feel like a jRPG. Starting with management, here you can select students and train their ability across four different skill trees. To be able to do this, you need to build specific buildings on the school grounds to be able to carry out lessons. Other buildings can also be built to generate more resources. Paying attention to students’ strengths and stats is important. For example, a knight generally favours training on physical strength and a mage with mana. Although, you are given the flexibility to do as you want with each student. By training them up, you can unlock new abilities to use out on quests. You need to be wary of students’ stamina. They are only human, after all, and can’t go questing and studying relentlessly.

All actions cost stamina. Once depleted, the student will need to rest for a few months and, during this time, can not go on quests or errands. The game uses two currencies: gold and arc stones (don’t worry, no micro-transactions). Gold tends to be gained through quests, while the arc stones act as the student’s tuition fees. More of each can be accumulated by sending students on errands. This can be a bit of a gamble.

Send Students on Errands

The more students you send on an errand, the higher chance it will be successful. If you send them on an errand, you won’t be able to send them on quests. The other four schools play in the game. It’s in your interest to maintain good relationships with them by sending them gold and arc stones, which will reward you by keeping the threat levels of explorable areas low. Lastly, you can upgrade buildings and put money into research projects to generate more resources and generally improve your school. Of course, your resources are not unlimited, and you will need to pick and choose where you sink your resources into.

If all this juggling feels a bit overwhelming, don’t panic. The game does a good job taking you by the hand through each of its mechanics’ step by step, thanks to a handy checklist on the bottom left of the screen. Even after you’re taught all the tricks to the trade, the checklist will remain if you need a gentle reminder of what you need to focus on.  After a month is complete, your resources replenish. After four months, the seasons will change, and the game will even trigger a fun little mini-game, such as an eating contest or building a snowman. All of which are optional. There are a lot of games here to keep you busy for a long time. Something you can dive deep into or just dip in and out of casually over the weeks. 

A overhead view of the entire school. Students can be seen running around with there mood displayed on a menu. Various buildings can be seen
Another school day

Quest Time 

After you’re finished with your management, you can choose to go on a quest or just end the month. If you decide to go questing, you can take out up to three students. Quests tend to be these simple bite-size missions, such as defeating a specific number of enemies, like blob monsters or collecting a number of resources, like wood. It does come across like pointless busy work, but it does quickly become quite addictive in terms of the game’s combat. Enemies can be seen on the map, and if you hit the attack button just before engagement, you will enter the battle with an opening hit.

Turn-based Battles

Battles are turn-based, and unlike the norm, when it’s your turn, you can choose any character you want. So if you have three turns, you can, in theory, use one character to attack three times. This is especially useful as each enemy has a specific weakness displayed by small icons with several possibly stacked. If you attack with the right character to the specific weakness, say the knight to the physical shield, it will wear them down, and if you break all the shields, it will stagger the enemy, making them weak. It was a fun and engaging system, helped more by the various abilities you can equip each chapter with. I found it especially rewarding taking out levelled-up chapters and destroying enemies in an opening hit without even needing to worry about the weaknesses. 

In terms of difficulty, I found things a bit steep in the questing to start with. The enemies seemed a bit overpowered for my poor newbie students, not giving the most welcome impressions. However, once I overcame these initial hurdles, I really started to get into the flow of things. I did appreciate that the game doesn’t demand perfection to enjoy it. Mistakes can be made with ample time to correct them, with the only severe penalty being the extra time needed to build up resources. 

The battle screen. Three unusual enemies can be seen facing off against three heroes in a turn based battle
A typical school trip out in the forest

Graphics and Glitches 

Graphics are a bit of a mixed bag. It has that pleasant fantasy setting with cute chibi character modes in the game. Then in cutscenes, it makes use of detailed art images. It’s nice to look over your school and see your students wander around the grounds. Out questing, you’ll experience a mixture of biomes from beaches to forest-like settings, all filled with various original enemy designs. The enemy designs are probably the most unique feature, whereas the rest of the art design feels like familiar territory.

In TV mode, the game looks acceptable, but it looks very foggy in handheld. Feeling like someone smeared the screen with Vaseline. This is probably to maintain a good frame rate, but it’s hard not to notice, which is a shame as many will probably want to enjoy it in handheld mode. This is probably another example of a sign the Switch is due for a hardware revision. The soundtrack is okay though I quickly became tired of the clarinet tunes during battles which didn’t gel for me.


By this point, I was ready to give this game a solid recommendation. But, I encountered a lot of glitches which gradually built over the time I played it. I had an instance of an extra student that appeared in my school who seemed to duplicate one of my other students, yet I could not control them. Yet, somehow they graduated. Student information didn’t display in mini-games.

When new students arrived in cutscenes, my principal was clipping into the stairs at the entrance to the school, which I just found funny. But the one that broke them all was when my students graduated, and the game just crashed. I attempted a reload multiple times, but the game continued to crash in the same place. A shame, really as I was getting into the flow of things. I had invested so much time into the game at this point I just didn’t have the will to restart to see if it would fix the issue.

Students can be standing round a lake engaging in a fishing mini game
Enjoy a spot of fishing.

Conclusion: Schools Out

I like Valthirian Arc: Hero School Story 2, but I can’t recommend it yet based on the bugs and glitches. The game has been in Early Access on PC, so I wonder if some problems have just transferred over to the Switch. I do hope all its issues get ironed out because bugs and glitches aside, this is an addictive experience once you get your head around all the mechanics. An experience that will clearly keep you busy for months and possibly longer to enjoy in small or long bursts. It’s clearly a good fit for the Switch, but it’s just not there yet. I’ll look to update this review once the bugs are ironed out. For now, keep it wish-listed.

Final Score: I Don’t Know

I'm not sure

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