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Crème de la Crème

by Harris Powell-Smith profile

Episode 1 of the Crème de la Crème series

Web Site

(based on 16 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

Climb to the very top of the class at your exclusive private school for socialites! Will you study hard, find a perfect match, or embrace scandal?

"Crème de la Crème" is a 440,000-word interactive novel by Harris Powell-Smith, where your choices control the story. It's entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Gallatin College is a "finishing school" where young people must learn social graces, surrounded by their high-class peers. When your parents fall into disgrace, the rest of high society rejects them. It's up to you to enroll at Gallatin, to secure your future and restore the family's good name.

At Gallatin, you'll dance with royalty, impress decorated officers, and perfect your etiquette. What will you prioritize: a spotless reputation, a prestigious social network, or a pristine report card–and who will you backstab to achieve it? Your year in this sparkling, brittle world is about to begin. But are you a rake soaked in scandal, or a perfectly proper socialite? Sneaking out of class or polishing your ballroom dancing, either way: the road to high society starts here!

• Play as male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, or bisexual; monogamous or polyamorous; asexual and/or aromantic.
• Make a match with an aristocrat or royalty, develop a romantic connection with a fellow student, or fall for someone below your social standing.
• Enjoy a no-strings-attached fling, or propose a marriage of convenience with a friend.
• Join a clique–officially sanctioned by the college or decidedly not–and build its strength and standing.
• Distinguish yourself by achieving a place at university or on a competitive internship.
• Sabotage your classmates, or build friendships.
• Repair your family's reputation, or grind it into the dust.
• Uncover Gallatin College's dark secrets and reveal them to the world–or keep them under wraps.

Will you be the crème de la crème?

Game Details


Winner - Tie, Best Game; Winner, Best Writing; Winner - Tie, Best Story; Nominee, Best NPCs - 2019 XYZZY Awards


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Number of Reviews: 2
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
One of the best of Choice of Games. Huge, exciting, and strategic, July 23, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours

This game has been at the top of the bestseller charts for Choice of Games since it came out last November. I've been interested in it for quite some time, and it exceeds my expectations.

The best Choice of Games stories are those which allow your decisions to matter with meaningful branches (like Choice of Robots), which have a strong narrative arc (like Slammed!), have a lot of customization (like Hollywood Visionary) or which invite strategy (like Choice of Robots again).

This game excels at all of these features. Set in a fictional, more open version of Europe some decades past, this game features you as the scion of a disgraced family, sent to a finishing school to redeem their failures. At school, you can attend to any number of activities, including academic studies, meddling with teacher romances, witchcraft, leadership, and quite a bit of romance (with 9 possible romances and 10 possibles marriages, including marriage of convenience and a royal).

The last few chapters can really throw some gears into your plans. I planned on restoring my family's honor and marrying the headmistress's child, and achieved both of my goals.

It really captures the essence of the boarding school story, like Jane Eyre's early chapters or an ethically-sourced version of Harry Potter. This game allows quite a bit of customization with regards to genders of romanceable characters, and your own appearance and personality.

It's also very long. While it has a smaller wordcount than the enormous Tally Ho, my playthrough length was longer than any Choicescript game I have played, lasting several hours (although I read everything carefully).

In a way, it was a lot like epic fantasy. Not the Hero's Journey (it's not rigidly in any tradition like that). Instead of a hero from a destroyed village, you're a student from a destroyed family. Instead of gaining experience through battles and sages, you engage with rivals and teachers. And instead of facing Mt. Doom, you face the truth behind the school, which is just as destructive.

I was provided a review copy of this game.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A Substantial Achievement, August 15, 2021
by ccpost (Greensboro, North Carolina)

I played this game several months ago, curious to try out Choice of Games for the first time. I fear this may have ruined other Choice of Games for me, though, because this one may be difficult to top. As I became familiar with the mechanics of the Choice of Game format (a story driven every few paragraphs by a set of multiple choices that impact the trajectory of the narrative and also affect various stats), I could see how masterfully Powell-Smith utilizes these features. Every choice feels meaningful, and the stats help you to see how you're making progress (or not) to a wide range of goals. I found myself truly strategizing as I made choices, checking my stats and considering how one choice over another may help lead me to a desired outcome.

In the game, you play as a character starting at a prestigious finishing school where your main goals include finding a suitable marriage and/or securing a social station that will help to clear your families troubled image. Though the genre of the game is not in my typical wheelhouse, I immediately became hooked.

What really makes the choices, stats, and achievements/goals feel meaningful is the enormous size and scope of the game. With 10 NPCs that you can develop relationships (both romantic and platonic) or rivalries with, along many other in-game achievements that can shape the plot in large or small ways, there really are an astounding number of ways to chart a course through the game. At over 440,000 words of game text, I only scratched the surface in my one playthrough. I believe I will feel compelled to play through again in the not-too-distant future.

More than just the scope of the game, though, is the craft behind the writing. Every scene is well written and richly descriptive. The NPCs have distinct personalities, lending real weight to the choice to develop relationships with one versus another. The setting is also rendered to great effect throughout the game -- by the end of the game, I felt like I knew Gallatin (the finishing school) even though you don't navigate through the world a la a text adventure.

The game is certainly an achievement, a wonderfully executed work in its own right, but also a testament to the possibilities of Choice of Games and the like. While CYOA-style works can be interesting, they typically feel like you're taking one of a handful of alternate paths through a set narrative. In Creme de la Creme, I really felt like I was moving through a fully realized game world and making impactful choices along the way. On top of that, the writing is sharp and the plot is full of intrigue. I understand that Powell-Smith is currently developing another Choice of Game set in the same world as Creme de la Creme, and I'll be playing that as soon as it comes out.

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Crème de la Crème on IFDB

Recommended Lists

Crème de la Crème appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Great games in a mostly realistic setting by MathBrush
These are games that for the most part don't contain magical elements or futuristic technology. This includes games where there might be magic or futuristic technology, but you don't know until the end. So several of these games do...


The following polls include votes for Crème de la Crème:

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Overall NPCs of 2019 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2019 which you think might be worth considering for Best NPCs in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination.This is not an official list. The point of poll is partly to suggest games...

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Overall Games of 2019 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2018 which you think might be worth considering for Best Game in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination.This is not an official list. The point of poll is partly to suggest games...

Best Choicescript games by MathBrush
I've only played a few choicescript games, but I loved Creatures Such as We, The Race, and Scarlet Sails. What can you recommend?

See all polls with votes for this game

This is version 4 of this page, edited by Harris Powell-Smith on 27 April 2024 at 8:05pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page