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About the Story
Get yourself into and out of another fine mess! As the newest member of London's elite "Noble Gases" social club, you'll win glory, renown, and much-needed money through various cunning schemes that will seem like good ideas at the time.
Winner, Best Writing; Winner, Best Setting; Winner, Best NPCs - 2020 XYZZY Awards
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Number of Reviews: 3
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I'm fairly certain this is the largest commissioned single-author interactive fiction game ever released.
80 Days has 750K words, and Fallen London (with over 30 authors) has 2.5 million.
The Hosted Game (another label from Choice of Games that essentially helps authors self-publish) called Tin Star has 1.4 million words, making it a little bigger.
This game is 100% in the Wodehousian vein. You are a rich and fairly lazy young man (or woman) who is, unknown to themselves, about to join one of London's prestigious clubs, the Noble Gases.
The story is told with a framing device where you are in the club, explaining to others how you arrived at your present situation. You have the option to retell each of the eight chapters, essentially giving you free save points.
One playthrough of this game took me over 4 hours, and seeing even half the content would take more than 10 hours.
The content branches quite a bit. In each chapter you generally have 4 or more options on how to spend your time, each of them conflicting with each other. In fact, the main mechanic of the game is constantly sacrificing one of your interest for another.
I found it overwhelming at times. I strove to be a subservient and friendly person who constantly tried to please his family, yet ended up with only middling relations with them and everyone else more or less displeased at me. The game allows for that, though, with very interesting writing happening when you fail. I intend to play through in the future.
I spent a great deal of one chapter at the opera (at the expense of other parts). In real life, I love the opera, so it was a little sad seeing my character found it boring. The references in the game are very funny and thrown in everywhere (I even saw a reference to Shakespeare's Cymbeline, which I didn't expect).
To me, this felt like 4 or 5 games in one. By focusing on all the family events and good moral character, I skipped out on all the chances to be a thief, much of the romance, and much of the club activity, but ended up having fun with my aunt's foster orphan and my lovelorn cousin.
As a final note, this is part 1 of a 3 part series, and so most threads are loose by the end of the game.
+Polish: I can't imagine the awful process involved in proofreading and editing a million-world novel with adjustable pronouns. I found no errors, I don't know how.
+Descriptiveness: The writing is lush and filled with snappy dialogue, clever allusions, and funny asides.
+Interactivity: This game takes the same approach as Animalia when it comes to branching: branch a ton and just write a ton of words for every choice, so every playthrough is different but long. It's the hardest approach, but I really respect it.
+Emotional impact: Several choices made me very nervous, and several pieces of dialog made me laugh.
+Would I play again? Definitely. It's like a whole new game, I might as well. I could be a crazy jerk lady-thief if I wanted to.
Great game, brilliantly written, with quirky and memorable characters and a plethora of wildly differing paths and choices.
...yes, plethora. I guess I prefer somewhat humbler games; Cakes and Ales often had me overwhelmed with its numerous and neverending branches, and I didn't overly enjoy having to 'drop' some intriguing paths in favour of others. It feels kind of ridiculous to call out an interactive game on providing you with too many choices, but that's really my honest impression.
If the following books manage to compensate for the sacrifices made in Cakes and Ale and/or satisfyingly tie up the loose ends (I firmly believe the latter is pretty much guaranteed), I might go back and adjust the rating accordingly.
I've only played this game through completely once, and I enjoyed it, so much so that I purchased the rest of it (I used the Choice Of Games app and thus could have a preview of it before buying.) Overall it was quite funny with cool and quirky characters; the only thing that could make it better is if it didn't jump around in the timeline so much. I'm not really the biggest fan of non-linear tales. Hopefully the second installment of this series won't do that as much.
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This is version 2 of this page, edited by Zoe Victoria on 27 November 2020 at 2:28pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item