When a company puts out two games that are enjoyable, accessible, and entertaining then you want to take a good hard look at everything that company has to offer. This week, we're going to give you the in depth scoop on the Choice of Games Library!
First of all, if you want to see any previous reviews we have one up for Choice of the Dragon
, and Choice of the Broadsides
. That means I won't be covering them here, but for the sake of completeness we've added the links to them.
Also, the games pretty much play the same. They are all choose your own adventure type games with stats that the system keeps track of. Unless something is of particular interest mechanically I'm not really going to talk about how the game play is. It's a radio option and a Next Button.
Wow. This game is Epic. I mean that in the best possible way. In Choice of the Vampire you play through the naissance of a young Vampire during the War of 1812, and continue to play this vampire through the other side of the American Civil War all the while dealing with the political machinations of Vampire Society. You will fall in love, get revenge, flee in exile and plot and scheme over the course of generations.
This is perhaps the longest out of the Choice of Games library, and I mean that in a good way. Sometimes the game seems to be padded because they've promised a certain amount of game play, and there's nothing like a good fetch quest to be a time sink. This game, doesn't have that. You are engaged with decisions that will impact you one, two, three or four dialogue choices down the road. The characters are all well defined and when you decide to explore down the various character paths, you can really get an understanding of those characters and how your choices impact them.
This is the first game where decisions you make will cut you off of some of the dialogue options. It's a nice feature, one that I'm glad they finally implemented since it allows you to kinda of keep going with your previously held positions. For instance, if you're a member of the clergy in this game and you've expressed a deep devotion then the options that are full of blasphemy aren't going to be available to blasphe-you.
The game does have some blood and violence, direct and immediate violence, so if that's going to bother you then I would recommend that you check out some of the other games. However, if you can handle it, even if Vampire tales aren't really your thing, then I would tell you to check out this game. It's well worth it.
Recommended?: Yes, very yes, totally yes, and in all ways yes.
If there is room next to Choice of Broadsides, Choice of the Vampire, and Choice of the Dragon for a Choice of Games game that people should play, it would be Choice of Romance. In fact, I think I like Choice of Romance even more than I like Choice of the Dragon. In Choice of Romance you play the child, again daughter or son is up to you, of a noble family who has come into hard times and you are the one hope for you family as you debut in society.
Your options for what you want to do are three fold, do you marry for money, love or power but they don't feel as limiting as that sounds. The only complaint that I have is that the love option seems to be the weakest of the three. It doesn't get the same screen time as the other two, though that just might be my own misguided desire for power. Every time I played I ended up getting the ruler to love me, and only me damn it! There will be no one else and there is a way to keep your character from one chapter to the next, when it gets published.
That's another thing the game does right. It avoids the whole "This is what would happen in a Medieval setting!" nonsense that a lot of other fantasy games espouse when they talk about same sex relationships. The game doesn't blink regardless of who you choose to love, it's just accepted as something that happens. Because this is a fantasy game, that's something a positive that needs to be pointed out considering how many other games in this genre just kind of either gloss over the subject, or reinforces the hetero-normative firmly.
Recommended?: Yes, and send what you can their way. We need the sequel!
Paranoia published by hostedgames.org
This one is a doozy. First of all, the name of the game is Paranoia. Now I know that many other games have used this as a title
before, but it's still incredibly problematic. When you feel the need to name your after a mental illness then you're going to cut out a lot of people. This game didn't feel like that was enough. It felt like it had to really drive out people, so the game is basically you trying to uncover a mystery while not getting taken away to a mental hospital. Seriously, that's the game. You have to decide if you take the pills that your therapist gave you every morning, and you only get one action before you have to think about doing that again.
It's got a tinfoil hat question for crying out loud.
Out of all the Choice of Games, this one would have to be the most disappointing because it's got the lowest level of accessibility.
Recommended?: No. Absolutely, 100% not.
What happens when you take a company that has a high reputation for listening to gender issues, and sexism in their games? Well, sometimes they miss. What Happened Last Night starts out with the good old stand by, the woman in a refrigerator and works it's way from there. In this game you wake up without any knowledge of what happened the previous night, a la The Hangover, and you have to figure out what happened to the dead person, who is again always a woman regardless of your gender.
Along the way you can commit various crimes to try to discover what happens. You can be nice, or you can be not so nice. The quickest description I can use of this game is Hobbes' Leviathan. This game is "nasty, brutish, and short." You can get through it in about five minutes, and while the games says that there are lot of choices, there really aren't that many. You go through all the various threads really quickly, and the reply value of this game is pretty much nil. I mean you can replay Choice of the Dragon, just because it's kind of whimsical and even if you've gone through the game kind of the same way, the choices you make really influence what's going on. Not so much with this one.
Please note that the game has an in game warning about the level of violence and choice that you can/have to make in the game. If that's something you're not to keen on, this will turn you off this game as well.
Recommended?: Meh? It's not bad, it's just quick and kinda unpleasant.
There is an argument that can be made, though I don't necessarily agree with it, that says a choose your own adventure game, and a short one at that isn't complex enough to be a 'real game.' Most casual games get that a lot in general. The Land of Three Classes tries to do some things to make the game a little bit more challenging, and a little bit more stimulating and that's a very honest and desirable goal. The execution here left much to be desired.
In The Land of Three Classes you play a student trying to pass a placement exam to be a full fledged member of the TriCla society. The TriCla society being the one that venerates the three heroes that freed them from the tyranny of some evil priests who ruled the land with an iron fist. The three heroes being the warrior, the thief, and the magician. No names, just Warrior, Thief, Magician. Don't worry, they tell you many times that it's more than thiefly qualities that they appreciate and not actual thievery.
Anyway the amount of preamble before the game was almost enough to turn me off the game entirely. The writing felt, well, kind of lazy and when your game is entirely text that's the one thing you can't afford at all. The text is the only vehicle you have, and as such it needs to be at the quality that it is for Choice of Broadsides and Choice of the Dragon.
The game play itself is rather predictable? Not in the, "We know that this is fiction and we understand how fiction ends" kind of way. More in the, "Wow, there is a large gate in front of me, I wonder if what I need to do to get past it, I know I'll just gobble down some strength potions!"
Again, pretty great concept but the execution didn't work.
Recommended?: Buzz! Not really, no.
Since there are a lot of Choice of Games games, I'm going to split this up into two parts. The next post will talk about Imprisoned, Marine Raider, The Nightmare Maze and Popcorn, Soda ... Murder? Because if it's got an ellipses and a question mark, then it's gotta be good ... right?
As always, feel free to have at it in the comments. If you have a suggestion, let me know below and I'll do my best to get on it!