Choice of Robots Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

Choice of Robots Pic

Basic Premise: Create a robot and watch in fascination or horror as it influences the next thirty years.

Positives

  • The story has the most branches of any self-contained official Choice of Games title I’ve tried.
  • Different societal and ethical ramifications of creating and depending upon sentient machines are examined, but none of them beat you about the head with one particular view point.
  • The interactions between you and your initial robot are funny without forcing a specific personality on the player.  Try having it read the Stoics at least once.  I’m pleased to find Kevin Gold, the author, is already working on another title.
  • One of the situations I stumbled upon during my fourth game made me profoundly uncomfortable and nervous because the writing made me care about all four of those particular characters. I’ve been less interested in the major plot threads of novels than I was in those two chapters focused on small family interactions. Major win.
  • If you make poor choices or fail certain stat checks, your character dies. Those moments never felt unfair though.
  • The grammar and editing are professionally executed.

Negatives

  • Excepting the baby’s name, every time I typed a character’s name it immediately reverted to the default. Choose one of the provided selections until that’s rectified or prepare to experience jarring sentences such as “my robot shakes your hand.”
  • You cannot argue that Hamlet‘s “To Be or Not to Be” speech is about action vs inaction rather than existence vs nonexistence.

Everything Else

  • This is a longer story compared to other Choice of Games titles. Make sure you have a chunk of time before starting.

Bottom Line: Recommended.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to start a new robot cult.  🙂

Choice of Games’ Choice of Robots is available on iOS, Android, Kindle, and Steam. It’s discounted until January 2, 2015.

Impressions and review based on a provided code.

Psy High Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

Psy High Picture

Basic Premise: Explore your newly emerging psychic powers while figuring out exactly why half the students at your high school suddenly seem to be different people entirely.

Positives

  • I really like this cast. Your relationships with old friends, classmates, and acquaintances feel like believable people, not cutouts. I cared about what happened to them.
  • Some choice moments made me think for a minute about what this particular character would do given her/his values before I selected.
  • The dialog phrasing can be amusing.
  • Setting the story in high school let me select the dumb options. I can forgive a sixteen-year-old for being an idiot more easily than a thirty-something.
  • The mystery plot, while not intricate, does not have any glaring plot holes or force your character to be stupid to get to the next scene.
  • I found no coding or editing hiccups.

Negatives

  • The few forced emotional responses really stand out because you’re given so much variety in most situations. For example, your character will always be uncomfortable/slightly jealous of the richer students and their more expensive and newer clothing and backpacks. That’s not what I thought at sixteen (though I admit I’ve always been an odd duck). Also, even though there are several characters available as romantic options, your character always starts attracted to the same one.

Bottom Line: Recommended. This one made the replay list.

Choice of Games’ Psy High is available on iOS, Android, Kindle, and Google Chrome.

Impressions and review based on a provided code.

Speakeasy Tonight Elliot Route Impressions and Review – Spoiler Free

Well.  That was different.

  • *Elliot buys the MC several expensive outfits in the first chapter*
  • Me: “Oh, goodie! Will he buy me a pony too?”
  • *Elliot takes the MC horseback riding five screens later*
  • Me: “I WAS KIDDING, GAME! Get your Be My Princess out of Speakeasy Tonight, please!”

I had already read all the other Speakeasy Tonight‘s main and POV routes before I tried Elliot’s. (For those curious, my impressions on those stories can be found here.)  Elliot himself never appealed, but many stories on my replay list are there because of the main character and dialog are great even if the guy’s boring.

It turns out Elliot’s okay; the main character is the problem.  This MC is my least favorite of the bunch. She improves in the second half, but she frustrated me so much that I shut down the game several times. In all the other routes the MC starts working at the Ice Box right away, takes an interest in her employees, and shows concern for her family. She may not be the most competent or the brightest, but she’s trying.

Not this girl. Elliot entices her with dresses and bedroom eyes like a parent shaking keys for an infant the very few times she shows any interest in the job, and she immediately drops whatever she was saying because SHINY. Ugh.

Eventually she decides to help (and becomes much more tolerable), but her lack of evolution or self-reflection made this feel more like inconsistency than character growth. I see how it could work. It just doesn’t. The same goes for her reactions to Elliot’s revelations. I see what was intended, but she’s not consistent and I’m left asking “why is it bothering you NOW?” rather than experiencing a cute moment.

Okay. After all that griping about the MC, I still liked some things about the route. The plot never felt padded, and the central mystery ties together some background characters nicely. The story itself is more interesting than, say, Julius’ main plot.

Bottom Line: Not a favorite.  If you’re picking a first route, I recommend Vince, Donovan, or Neil instead.

Voltage Entertainment USA’s Speakeasy Tonight is available on iOS.

Queen’s Gambit, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Even More Talking

Hello again!  I’ve spent the last two weeks either traveling and visiting with family and friends or immersing myself in Queen’s Gambit and Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Basically all I’ve done is hold conversations, both real and imagined.

Also all the main routes for Speakeasy Tonight, My Killer Romance, and To Love & Protect are currently on sale so I’ll be checking to see what I missed and trying those.

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I’ll start with the smaller game first.  Voltage Entertainment USA sent a preview code for Queen’s Gambit.  I poked around the first two character’s prologues and feel fairly optimistic.

  1. The art’s lovely, and the sprites and faces are more expressive than previous titles.
  2. Having a separate prologue for each character instead of one serving for every route is a definite positive.  In previous titles, the prologue and actual route could feel disconnected either through character inconsistency or contradictory plot points.
  3. Spy fiction isn’t my favorite genre, but so far I like these characters and how it’s presented.  They have the potential to be individuals who don’t regurgitate one-liners.  I’ll give it a go once it’s released.

Now for the bigger game.  Dragon Age: Inquisition is a time-warp.  A few nights I glanced at the clock and realized I had exactly two hours before the toddler got up for the day and I hadn’t slept and we all had so much to do and we had to leave soon but it was so worth it.  I had already decided on a Dalish mage before one of the developers said it tied in particularly well with the story.  He wasn’t kidding.  Without getting into spoilers…even the moments I expected made me ache for this protagonist in a “dang, writers, you earned that” way rather than a “really, guys, THIS was the only way you thought you could make me care?” way.

I’ll be back with Speakeasy Tonight‘s Elliot review and Shall We Date?: The Niflheim+‘s JJ review within the week.