Valkyrie is a CYOA in Twine. As usual, the jump will be followed by non-spoilery comments; then if I have anything spoilery to say, there will be spoiler space. I don’t know that this had beta-testers, but because the Twine format makes it more difficult to test for that, I’m being a little lenient with the choice-based pieces.
Valkyrie begins with three scenes of funerals where a mourner in the background appears consistently from situation to situation.
It then asks, with no obvious connection to any of these funeral scenes or the characters (briefly) introduced so far:
Choose what you have trained in
That first screen captured most of my experience with this game. The story doesn’t entirely seem to know what it’s about; spelling and punctuation are not necessarily to be relied on.
The prose gave the impression of having been written down as fast as it was thought of, by an author (or authors) who wanted to write something but weren’t quite sure what. Characters exchange lines of dialogue, but too often this dialogue does no functional work and doesn’t move the scene forward. Events occur, but their implications are discarded a few sentences later. The CYOA choices are often selected without any very serious attention to whether those are interesting choices to be making or will take the story where the authors want to go — because there doesn’t really seem to be a plan. It basically looks like a CYOA form of free writing, where you just sit down in front of a screen and type what pops into your head and see what happens.
That can be a useful exercise, but it generally doesn’t produce output that is of value to anyone other than the person who created it. Sometimes free writing can, after a bit of time, take the writer to some interesting ideas or a plot hook or a powerful image — but then the thing to do is trash all the meandering material you created en route and start over again, now that you actually know what your story is about.