by Heather Albano and Adam Morse, historical/fantasy (2012)
Choice Of Games, $2.99, ISBN N/A
Choice Of Romance is a Choose Your Own Adventure style gamebook where you are a young aristocrat who gets to visit the court of the King of Iberia. Eventually you will get involved knee-deep in politics, but right now, it's all about setting up your position in court and determining your place in the social hierarchy.
You can play a male or female character of any sexual orientation, which would be interesting if your choice of character gender and sexual orientation make any difference in the overall course of the story. It doesn't - the story remains the same even if you play the chaste debutante or the court nymphomaniac. Some choices do effect some minor changes in the story here and there, but the course of the story is set in stone, so much so that you actually are told to start again if you make the "wrong" endgame choice. This "wrong" choice is an odd one, because it is actually a far more moral decision than the "right" choice, so you're screwed if you opt to play a virtuous character. Therefore, who knows what the developers are thinking to offer the illusion of choice when, at the end of the day, there is only one right path.
What is more annoying is that, with being an iOS gamebook, replaying it means going back all the way to the first entry and having to slough through the whole thing all over again. Because many of the choices do not alter the story line in any significant manner, it's like being forced to read the same dozen or so pages of text again and again until you feel like throwing up. The lack of bookmarking feature hurts its replay value considerably, especially when the story is ordinary instead of amazing. There are some stats that are automatically tracked as you go along, but there is no use shown here so far for any of these stats.
Still, the narrative is wry and often amusing at places. Just be aware that this is just the first act - you are supposed to choose the right path and then buy the sequel if you want to keep rising up the ranks - or plummeting like stone - of aristocracy in Iberia. By choosing the "wrong" option, your story will end on a miserable note, but at least it's closure, for what that is worth.
Choice Of Romance is, sadly, not that exciting or romantic.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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