While the narratives themselves aren’t going to impress a literature buff, they are charming in their own strange way. They’re riddled with over-dramatic lines, and practically swimming in cliches, yet… somehow it kind of works. For instance, the stories I played had a strong vocabulary and decent pacing when you’d simply expect Fifty Shades of Grey-level hack writing.
There’s also nice little touches, like different facial art for reactions based on your choices and shifts in musical score within each scene. It also runs remarkably well, with virtually non-existent loadtimes and responsive control inputs.
Choices: Stories You Play nails all the right things while playing up its so bad it’s good romance fiction in the best way possible. Its cheesy charm makes you overlook its blemishes to great effect.
Now if only the best choices weren’t locked behind a pay gate.
No, I’m not kidding, this is a visual novel app that will nickle and dime you just to have access to the right choices. These can range from wearing a certain outfit to outright choosing whether or not to save someone.
To go back to an earlier example, imagine playing Mass Effect, but the only way to not shoot your companion Wrex and ensure his species regains its honor is to pay $2 in Microsoft points.
You’d feel like the game was shaking you down, wouldn’t you? Well, that’s what Choices: Stories You Play does, in every single story.
It can happen at any point without warning, and the initial currency they give you is only good enough for about two choices. While you slowly earn additional diamonds by beating chapters, that’s an incredibly tedious process given how slowly you earn them and how long most chapters are to play through.
Choices: Stories You Play is definitely a so bad it’s good game, in the best way possible.
So what this means is you have a choice between playing with less than ideal choices until you’ve saved up enough diamonds to “earn” an ideal playthrough, or you have to cough up the dough.
Ironically, unlocking new chapters to play through only requires taking a break every few hours, which is totally reasonable. In fact, I’d think it might be more ideal to charge for chapters than choices.
I mean, that pricing model already exists with Telltale’s various adventure games, and these stories are clearly made on a fraction of the budget, so why not do that? It’d be a total win for developer Pixelberry. Regardless, Choices: Stories You Play is a surprisingly enjoyable, campy ride; I’m just not sure I’d recommend investing serious cash into this one unless you find a few stories you really enjoy. A solid visual novel platform, but its freemium elements definitely need some work.