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About the Story
Navigate the choppy waters of intergalactic politics using your smart social skills and a series of bizarre cultural rules.
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Number of Reviews: 4
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You are an ambassador attending a dinner with an alien race who value etiquette above all, and you are offered a pointed list of no-nos and names and rankings and suggestions like "don't discuss the traffic situation with this person". This leads to some instant death scenarios, ("Oh gosh, this food looks great!" !!STAB!!) but I very much appreciate what a good idea this is. It feels like a logic puzzle and has some interesting art.
You have the unenviable role of Ambassador to Emerpus, a highly intelligent race with complex social rules. If you can make it through the entire dinner, you should be fine. If not, then you better wave goodbye to your job and, possibly, entire career.
Play Nice is, simply put, a test of whether you know how to play by the rules, a la Tea Ceremony. The rules are given, and though they look complex, I found that not all came into play in the game itself - a bit of an unfired Chekhov's gun. The NPC's responses to various social faux pas also did not quite resonate with what had been laid out in the rules.
The game presents three choices at each turn to test your memory of the in-game rules, and at each decision-making node, there is only one correct answer; selecting the wrong answer leads to instadeath. Replaying it, therefore, is like re-taking a school quiz where you already know the answers. While such linearity was not unexpected for this game, I still would have appreciated some subtlety, where you could build up or break down relations between you and any of the NPCs separately.
Still, the writing is conversational and light-hearted; the observations of the aliens feel like that which a child would make. The game would have benefited from taking itself a bit less seriously, though.
Play Nice is a bit of a mixed bag, unfortunately. On the one hand, it does have a less than serious space-age feel to it; on the other, the story structure is punishingly linear, where it could have done with a sense of playfulness.
Play Nice is a one alien race diplomacy game. Your assistant provides a pregame background on the cultural do's and don'ts and it's off to the diplomatic dinner.
The good and the bad is the same: the game is way too short. You can run through all the bad endings and the good ending in about 15-20 minutes. That left me with the feeling that this was an experience to be enjoyed but not really a game. Each point and click choice either killed you instantly or allowed you to proceed to the next page. Restated, there is no branching in this story; just guess the wrong response or guess the correct response. Somehow I just did not feel that I was actually participating.
But concept wise, let's market it and get Emily S to make it into a full fledged adventure.
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