I have written twice in the past regarding Choice of Games‘ line of “Choose Your Own Adventure” style interactive novellas. Well, based on the commonly accepted sequence of numbers in our Base-10 system, welcome to my third, Mecha Ace. Out of the three that has garnered my attention, this one reaches the lofty heights of being my favorite.
For those of you who did not click on the links to my previous reviews, you must be really eager to hear about this one. For the uninitiated, here is what to expect regarding the style of play: back in the 80’s and 90’s, there was a style of book called “Choose Your Own Adventure.” In these, the reader would go through a passage and then decide on what action the hero should take, flipping to the corresponding page to learn the outcome and continue the story. Oftentimes, the hero’s death is the outcome, the continuation being leaves blowing across an unattended grave. The better conceived books didn’t introduce such a harsh failure state and instead continued the story with a consequence intact.
Mecha Ace continues this tradition . While Heroes Rise took place in a world swarmed with super heroes and Thieves Gambit was a light-hearted caper, Mecha Ace sends us to space, leading a lance in the rebel forces against the imperial forces of Earth in a bid for independence. During your time, the player is provided choices that effect the strengths and weaknesses of the lead and his team, the appearance of the space faring robo-fighters, and ultimately where the story leads. Much like the recent Telltale Games like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, each choice has an impact, ranging from minor to story altering. I would actually say that since there aren’t graphics to render, the choices are more numerous and wide ranging.
The writing itself is enjoyable, too. As someone who grew up reading the old Robotech novels before really watching the show, I found myself experiencing some twinges of nostalgia. The characters on both sides of this war can all run the gamut of bold and heroic to underhanded. A particular favorite of mine was the adversary Blue Masque. A combatant with a strong belief in honor, I found myself torn in my decisions on how to handle him. I will admit that there are plenty of cliches found here, but they help fit this into precisely what I wanted as a player: a chance to enter an 80’s giant robot based anime and decide my fate. Top scores to Mr. Paul Wang, the author, who has created an extremely entertaining story. I will be certain to keep an eye on his work.
With all that said, I simply don’t feel that I can say much more about this line of games that I have not already said. These still seem better designed for a portable device like a tablet or one of those giant phones that are becoming popular. Playing this during a lunch break while eating or while riding in transit would be perfect. If you can play this using one of these devices, the experience is an easy five out of five score. Being tethered to a PC or laptop via Steam, however, is not the best way to play/read one of these. If your only option is PC, it’s still worth checking out. Just consider the score a four out of five, instead. Since this website is Steamfirst, guess what the score is?