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About the StoryA young woman in the entertainment industry struggles with harmonizing her public pop star persona and her private polyamorous life. Warning for mildly graphic content.
Nominee, Best NPCs - 2015 XYZZY Awards
14th Place - 21st Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2015)
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Number of Reviews: 1
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Because of the playing time I won't be replaying this, and so I can't really tell how much changes from one playthrough to another; some choices felt like they mattered, but I don't know up to what point. (Spoiler - click to show)(I'm assuming you can end up with either girl as your primary relationship? Does everything break down at the end?) I wished the game had let me know, or was more clear about this; I can't even imagine how big or linear the game is, because I have no idea what choices mattered and what their repercussions were (I feel like other choice games I've played did that better). There were other, cosmetic choices that weren't referenced at all the moment after they were made, which I'm not a fan of; I prefer it when those choices act as personalization/customizing your experience to you.
Again, I don't know if that's specific to my playthrough, but I (Spoiler - click to show)didn't spend a whole lot of time working and I spent more time dealing with the relationships, only for my career to explode, and then later the relationship. I liked the personalities of Nayeli and Taya, two of the love interests, but I felt like there wasn't a lot to choose except having sex with them or not (there's about half a dozen implied sex scenes); other choices that surface in a relationship (routine, fighting, compromising, balancing career and life, etc.) didn't really appear. And it felt at a couple points like the characters were kind of avoiding problems by just being with someone else instead; I have no experience with polyamorous relationships, but that's not what I like to do, and I didn't feel too happy about what was happening. Also, you have no control on the protagonist's personality; she has her own personality, and you have limited choices over whether she'll start fights or get involved in drama, which again doesn't correspond to me so it was hard to empathize. For those reasons I'd say that the game is supposed to be pretty linear, although maybe with a few different "routes". The writing was very good, although I felt like some scenes were a bit too long for their relevance in the story.
The character of Sarai made me uncomfortable. Basically what happens is that (Spoiler - click to show)she picks up this girl (you) at a bar, who is homeless at the time, and invites her to stay at her place in a polyamorous relationship, expecting her to 'bond'/'girlfriend' her other girlfriends, while paying for the whole thing. This kind of arrangement spelled more "cult leader" or "harem" than healthy relationship: the amount of control she has is very big, (Spoiler - click to show)all of this kinda feels like it's for her/her pleasure only, and she "doesn't realize it" and gets mad when, inevitably, two people feel the need to try to have semi-coerced sex, or one of them resorts to whatever she can because she hates feeling like a freeloader. But in the end, at least in my playthrough, (Spoiler - click to show)the whole thing implodes and almost everyone leaves her; I don't know if it's meant as commentary on power dynamics in relationships or just something that happens. But feeling uncomfortable almost from the get-go made the ending unsurprising, and I felt like I was dragged through something I didn't like only for the game to show me that what I thought was justified.
Anyway, it's hard for me to review this game because I don't know how typical my playthrough was, and I don't really know anything about polyamourous relationships. I would have liked choices with more explicit consequences, and maybe more choices with regards to the relationship (I guess because I wasn't satisfied with the way things were going); and I thought the "pop singer" aspect was not bringing much to the game, since it wasn't a big part and everything was fairly generic: I wish it were either more developed and more precise, with more choices about your career, or less developed (treating it as a day job in the background) to make the relationship the focus of the game.
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For Your Consideration - XYZZY-eligible writing of 2015 by Brendan Patrick Hennessy
This is for suggesting games released in 2015 which you think might be worth considering for Best Writing in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not mentioned here...
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This is version 3 of this page, edited by classicaljunkie on 15 November 2015 at 11:51pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item