For some light and interactive reading, Choices: Stories You Play by Pixelberry Studios offers up an addictive array of choose-your-adventure books.
At first glance, you may think that their book gallery features mostly Young Adult reading as there’s high school romances, and light fantasy stories like ‘The Elementalist’, but the steamy exclusive scenes in some of these stories are decidedly R-Rated.
If you’re more into mysteries or high-speed chases, you can opt for The Haunting of Braidwood Manor or The Heist: Monaco.
Meanwhile, if you’re missing some vampire fantasy, you can try out Blood Bound. For more more light adult reading that lean more towards Hallmark, you can try out Save the Date and Home for the Holidays. There’s something for every mood you’re in.
You can either play as a VIP member (you’ll get unlimited keys and 185 diamonds with your purchase) or you can play for free, and learn the art of patience and the true value of decision-making (especially when you use a bunch of diamonds you’ve been scrounging for on a dress which you could have saved for an exclusive scene instead).
VIP membership will also allow you access to books solely reserved for VIP members. On top of that, you will also get rewarded more diamonds at the end of the chapter compared to those who don’t opt for VIP membership.
How to play
You get to choose your character’s ethnicity, hair and outfit. Diamonds will help you purchase the more dynamic hairstyles and wardrobe, but you’ll still get by being a plain Jane.
You also get to choose your names, although I have been happy with the random names the game has provided. I personally liked the name Dr Casey Valentine for my character in ‘Open Heart’.
Some stories will also allow you to choose the appearance of the main love interest, making it even more interactive.
You need keys to open up chapters, and for those who are playing the games for free, your keys will typically regenerate after 2 or 3 hours, while diamonds help you open up exclusive scenes within those chapters which can help you deepen your relationship with that special someone or find out more of a character or event’s backstory.
You can Watch Ads or complete daily and one time challenges to score diamonds.
You can have several love interests going, and even though you have zoomed in one specific love interest or don’t choose the main love interest, the game will offer up an exclusive scene with another character. Sometimes there will be opportunities for threesomes, so spend your diamonds wisely.
So far there are no terrible fallouts from not spending diamonds on exclusive scenes, but there are some events where a friend needs some proper counseling and you don’t have the diamonds to spend on an exclusive shoulder-to-cry-on scene. In those cases, you would just look like a jerk in real life.
Purchases are not necessarily limited to outfits and exclusive scenes, you can even purchase a pet or opt to live in a swankier place.
In others, like the vampire Blood Bound series, your selected outfit could impress an opponent or help you in a life-and-death situation.
Meanwhile, some stories like ‘The Crown and the Flame’ will challenge your patience and make you think that it wouldn’t hurt if you just purchased a few keys to find out what happens in the next chapter.
To download or not to download?
What makes Choices addictive is that you feel the weight (and the satisfaction or regret) of your decisions. The artwork, from backdrops to character illustrations, are polished and immersive, allowing you a temporary getaway from the humdrum of daily life.
You will definitely feel the weight of your decisions and interaction with other characters in stories like ‘Courtesan of Rome’ where you play a Gallic princess bent on Julius Caesar’s downfall, making it a story that’s hard to put down.
Meanwhile, the cover for Open Heart may look cheesy at first glance, but if you like Grey’s Anatomy’s earlier seasons, you will enjoy the storyline.
The Nanny Affair and Save the Date’s steamy scenes were definitely worth a read-through. (Isn’t that why people download Choices in the first place?)
Blood Bound’s writing, especially the dialogue feels underdeveloped and cheesy by comparison, and your character will say things that make you look like a fly in a hurricane. But I still feel compelled to go through books 1 to 3.
What’s the verdict? Choices: Stories You Play is a definite download.