Surviving High School is a text-based game set in a contemporary high school, named Centerscore High. The player can play two different modes, one as the player as an avatar who has just joined Centerscore High, or another revolving around the students of Centerscore High. This mode is presented like a sit-com, with free downloadable content that is updated weekly for the mobile version and the iPhone version, as it follows these characters.
The game is primarily touch-based on the iPhone version and DSi versions, and use the key-pad on mobile versions, and gameplay is very similar like other games of the visual novel genre. However, the player can make choices which can affect the game, and also features mini-games , which is incorporated into the game.
Whilst featuring mostly the same characters and personalties, the story featuring the player as a avatar and downloadable episodes are independent in the sense that the player's avatar does not exist within the fiction of the downloadable episodes. However, the player will control the different characters that exist within the world of Centerscore High.
The downloadable episodes also are much more linear compared to the avatar storyline as the story follows down a set-path, with choices usually boiling down to the 'right' decision and the 'wrong' decision. If the player gets all the right decisions within an episode, he or she is treated to a bonus scene after the episode has ended.
Downloadable content is updated weekly, usually featuring the newest episode of the story of Surviving High School. The latest episode is free, with past episodes also downloadable for a small fee as on-demand. The DLC is presented as a sit-com, as the player follows the students of Centerscore High in a episode format.
The game also offers premium content, which is either more character focused or extends more on the player's avatar storyline. These are referred to as 'Mega Packs' by the game, and they offer longer gameplay to the player in comparison to the episodes.
The DSiWare version of the game does not feature downloadable content.