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One of the best of Choice of Games. Huge, exciting, and strategic, July 23, 2020
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.