on Love and Death: Bitten, a hidden object game with some Twilight-esque aspirations. For the genre it belongs to, it does quite a few things right — I don’t love hidden object gameplay as a rule, but this was much better than most, and did an above-average job of making the mechanics and the story fit together.
That said, at the end of the day the story it’s telling just isn’t very good — for reasons that overlap with not-very-good stories in many other games.
on Digital: A Love Story. (It’s pretty spoilery.)
On Delicious Emily’s Holiday Season, a time-management game with a romantic subplot in which you can actually make choices for the character. I can see this may have set them up for some problems about sequels down the road, but I was pleased with it, and it made a good occasion to talk some more about the interplay of gameplay and romance.
Speaking of casual games with developed plots, I am seriously disappointed by Jojo’s Fashion Show: World Tour. I’m guessing someone else took over the franchise after the tragic dissolution of Gamelab. But the dialogue doesn’t snap, the characters are dull, the fashions are less attractively drawn, and the gameplay is neither as challenging nor as interesting. There’s a portion where you can create your own items of clothing to go into the show, which sounded like it might be another attempt at the product-mixing concepts in Chocolatier: Decadence by Design and Passport to Perfume. But once again, this isn’t actually as interesting a mechanic as it could be. You’re always creating clothing to match a specific style, applying colors and patterns to a very limited selection of silhouettes: the result is that it’s hard to make an outfit that is a resounding failure, and fairly easy to come up with something worth a large number of points; and the process of doing this is all about experimenting with the colors and patterns until you’ve hit as many of the style features as you can. Perhaps this is an attempt to keep the game from being too difficult, but the results are (in my opinion) kind of limp. I’m still waiting for a tycoon or time management game where you design your own products but the gameplay on both sides really crackles. (This is — or could be — basically a deck-building problem.)
…in which I talk about romance plots in games, including some IF and some other stuff. Partly a response to an article in NowGamer.
I am enjoying writing my column for GameSetWatch, and it’s interesting looking at storytelling in a range of genres. The main challenge is that I can’t write about IF all the time (too niche), so I need to incorporate other material, and that often sends me wandering off looking for other indie/casual games that sound like they might have something narratively interesting going on.
There is sometimes something worth writing about a game that does story very minimally or very badly, but a lot of the time what looked potentially promising is just impossible after all. Latest in the reject heap… well, I can’t believe I even tried this, but Dream Day Wedding claimed to incorporate a “Choose a Story” segment: “Choose A Story – each path has a different outcome for hours of replayability.”
Dream Day Wedding is about as nauseating as you could hope, given the title.
Continue reading “Homer in Silicon’s Rejects Pile”