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About the StoryClimb to the very top of the class at your exclusive private school for socialites! Will you study hard, find a perfect match, or embrace scandal?
"Crème de la Crème" is a 440,000-word interactive novel by Hannah Powell-Smith, where your choices control the story. It's entirely text-based, without graphics or sound effects, and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.
Gallatin College is a "finishing school" where young people must learn social graces, surrounded by their high-class peers. When your parents fall into disgrace, the rest of high society rejects them. It's up to you to enroll at Gallatin, to secure your future and restore the family's good name.
At Gallatin, you'll dance with royalty, impress decorated officers, and perfect your etiquette. What will you prioritize: a spotless reputation, a prestigious social network, or a pristine report card–and who will you backstab to achieve it? Your year in this sparkling, brittle world is about to begin. But are you a rake soaked in scandal, or a perfectly proper socialite? Sneaking out of class or polishing your ballroom dancing, either way: the road to high society starts here!
• Play as male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, or bisexual; monogamous or polyamorous; asexual and/or aromantic.
• Make a match with an aristocrat or royalty, develop a romantic connection with a fellow student, or fall for someone below your social standing.
• Enjoy a no-strings-attached fling, or propose a marriage of convenience with a friend.
• Join a clique–officially sanctioned by the college or decidedly not–and build its strength and standing.
• Distinguish yourself by achieving a place at university or on a competitive internship.
• Sabotage your classmates, or build friendships.
• Repair your family's reputation, or grind it into the dust.
• Uncover Gallatin College's dark secrets and reveal them to the world–or keep them under wraps.
Will you be the crème de la crème?
Winner - Tie, Best Game; Winner, Best Writing; Winner - Tie, Best Story; Nominee, Best NPCs - 2019 XYZZY Awards
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Number of Reviews: 1
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The best Choice of Games stories are those which allow your decisions to matter with meaningful branches (like Choice of Robots), which have a strong narrative arc (like Slammed!), have a lot of customization (like Hollywood Visionary) or which invite strategy (like Choice of Robots again).
This game excels at all of these features. Set in a fictional, more open version of Europe some decades past, this game features you as the scion of a disgraced family, sent to a finishing school to redeem their failures. At school, you can attend to any number of activities, including academic studies, meddling with teacher romances, witchcraft, leadership, and quite a bit of romance (with 9 possible romances and 10 possibles marriages, including marriage of convenience and a royal).
The last few chapters can really throw some gears into your plans. I planned on restoring my family's honor and marrying the headmistress's child, and achieved both of my goals.
It really captures the essence of the boarding school story, like Jane Eyre's early chapters or an ethically-sourced version of Harry Potter. This game allows quite a bit of customization with regards to genders of romanceable characters, and your own appearance and personality.
It's also very long. While it has a smaller wordcount than the enormous Tally Ho, my playthrough length was longer than any Choicescript game I have played, lasting several hours (although I read everything carefully).
In a way, it was a lot like epic fantasy. Not the Hero's Journey (it's not rigidly in any tradition like that). Instead of a hero from a destroyed village, you're a student from a destroyed family. Instead of gaining experience through battles and sages, you engage with rivals and teachers. And instead of facing Mt. Doom, you face the truth behind the school, which is just as destructive.
I was provided a review copy of this game.
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PollsThe following polls include votes for Crème de la Crème:
For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Writing of 2019 by MathBrush
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This is version 1 of this page, edited by Dan Fabulich on 16 January 2020 at 12:49am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item