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Uses the CYOA interface to produce a remarkably cohesive and entertaining game about juggling the demands and problems of a high school senior. (Unlike some CYOA, this one returns to the same decision points instead of branching out wildly -- but what you've done already affects what options you have at future decisions. You can only spend money you've earned, for instance, and if you've spent the week goofing off instead of working, well, you're out of luck.)
Your choices over the course of the week described in the game create a profile of your character -- morally, socially, and academically -- leading to one of a very large number of endings. There are no puzzles, except inasmuch as the player may want to try for specific outcomes. Fun.
-- Emily Short
One Week... sticks to a consistent storyline. You have a certain number of choices about what to do each day in your life as a high school senior; no matter what you pick in day one, you will go on to day two, and so on. The game keeps to a much more compact and consistent structure than the average CYOA (at least as I am used to thinking about CYOAs). It becomes more like a multiple-choice test -- except that the answers you can choose later are affected by what you've done before. If you didn't earn the money, you can't spend it on an expensive dress; if you've agreed to go out with one guy, you can't choose to go out with someone else. At the end of the week, the game assesses your various choices and assigns an ending. ó Emily Short
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One Week occupies the middle ground between light and shadow, between...wait, that's the wrong kind of game. One Week is a fun romp through one week in a teenage girl's life before the Prom AND the SAT. Surprisingly, even though it's a CYOA-type setup (i.e. read lots and choose from a menu to push the plot forward), it doesn't come off as constrictive. Because you are given explicit choices and there's almost always more than one choice, you feel like you are guiding the character's destiny. That stands in stark contrast to games where although you might have more freedom, you feel immobilized in the panic of guess-the-verb or guess-the-topic. (Yes, Shadows on the Mirror, I'm looking at you.)
The writing strikes the perfect tone -- breathless, humorous, fragile, spunky, and 110% sincere. Some of the slang has not fared well, but that's the only fly in the ointment. Some may complain about the lack of "realism" but if you're looking for gritty games, you wouldn't be playing this, anyways. With that said, there are no greater resonances here, and the lack of depth is why One Week gets a solid four instead of a five from me.
Nevertheless, One Week is an enjoyable and entertaining game, worth at least 30 minutes of time to find a few different endings.
This game has aged very well. Except for the fact that you're typing in numbers rather than pointing and clicking numbers, it could have easily been released on Twine in the last six months. Not only does it have structural similarities to recent CYOA--brevity, some measure of state tracking--thematically it also parallels many of the "slice of life" Twines from the last couple of years. The writing is brisk and captures a sense of character very well. Perhaps most impressive about One Week is that it doesn't feel like a maximization puzzle. After several playthroughs each ending felt satisfying (even though it wasn't necessarily the "best") and yet encouraged trying again. That only works if the mechanics are embedded in a particular voice and tone, which is exactly what happens here. The main character is likeable--but there are plenty of chances to make mistakes. Perhaps one of the themes of One Week is: you can still create a good life for yourself even if you do make mistakes. Even if you don't be Prom Queen and get a perfect score on your SATs.
Highly recommended, especially if you have an interest in CYOA (in whatever form that may take).
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