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Light Years Apart

by Anaea Lay

Science Fiction
2020

Web Site

(based on 2 ratings)
1 review

About the Story

Can you and your sister outfox a galaxy-spanning AI to save your home planet? A rollicking adventure with space pirates, spies, and snarky computers.

Light Years Apart is a 230,000-word interactive sci-fi novel by Anaea Lay, where your choices control the story. It's entirely text-basedówithout graphics or sound effectsóand fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

You trained at the Kempari College, an academy for super spies, fighting against the Aydan-machine interplanetary AI. Aydan-machine and its affiliated megacorp, the ICA, have monopolized control over FTL weft-drives.

You resigned from the College when your teachers ordered you to commit murder. Since then, you've wandered the galaxy for a decade, so long that your shipboard computer has become your surrogate parent.

But now, the ICA has blockaded Kempus, and you're in a unique position to prevent thousands of unnecessary deaths. Will you ally with the enemy, or return to the rebels who once betrayed you?

What's more, your hacker sister has brought your old flame back into your orbit, and the love you left behind is now mission-critical. As a former spy, you have flexible morals, but there are certain lines you won't cross. The blockade is real, and it's killing kids.

When your planet needs you, will you step up or storm off?

-Play as male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, bi, poly or asexual
-Unleash artful and infinite swearing
-Swap stories and strategies with your secret agent peers
-Drink yourself silly on extraterrestrial moonshine
-Team up with space pirates
-Watch a planet breed with its moon
-Smuggle two weird teenagers past an interplanetary blockade


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A well-told science fiction story about a space espionage mission, January 2, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

In this game, you play as a youngish spaceship pilot and former spy. You come across two strange young twins and accompany them across space on a quest involving sentient computers.

This game has a lot in common with other games like Rent-A-Vice, The Martian Job, The Road to Canterbury and a few other games, in that it sacrifices player freedom for a better overall storyline.

For instance, in this game, there are times where you have four ways to be skeptical, but no way out of it. Or you have 4 ways to agree to a reckless mission, but no other options. Most of your choices are about how to react to dramatic outside events rather than acting on your own.

This technique has some advantages, which is perhaps why all the Nebula Award nominees use it, since it makes story beats more effective. But gameplay suffers, I think.

The overall mystery surrounding the twins was fun to see play out, and the plot and worldbuilding are interesting. As for the stats, there was a lot of overlap between them (how can you tell if a specific check is for Gregarious, Smooth Talker or Social Butterfly?), bonuses were few and far between, but the story seemed to handle failures well.

Overall, it was definitely worth playing, but I believe that it could have used more meaningful player agency, especially in choosing how to roleplay.

I received a review copy of this game.

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This is version 1 of this page, edited by MathBrush on 1 January 2021 at 7:35pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page