Emily is Away Review
Emily is Away
- OS: Windows XP Service Pack 2+
- Processor: Intel Pentium 4 or later
- Memory: 512 MB RAM
Emily is Away
- OS: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
- Processor: Intel
- Memory: 512 MB RAM
It Never Worked Out: Emily is Away Review
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Emily Is Away download is free today, but it used to be paid after its creator, Kyle Seely, had withdrawn it from an IF Competition in 2015. It’s a text-focused indie game that unfolds step-by-step as you immerse in mixed adolescent feelings and desktop nostalgia.
The remarkable pixel-art style of the game is what renders its authenticity. The story is presented through a chat window of an AOL Messenger in Windows XP. Every detail of the game adds to the nostalgic vibe: you can choose your avatar with Harry Potter, Eminem and other pop culture heroes of the early 2000s, you find clickable links to that-era YouTube in your conversations. The game is made to evoke your emotional memory, and graphics serve this goal perfectly.
Emily is Away is a multiple-choice story with delayed branching. Entering the game you also join the chat with your friend Emily who is also your secret crush. You have a few options to choose from when answering her messages, and the story unwraps based on the messages you choose to send. There are five dialogues with Emily altogether: the first one takes place in your senior school year and the last one in your senior college year. A lot of things happen between your conversations, and they affect the choices you and Emily make in your offline life.
The game is straightforward, and you don’t get a lot of options. One way or another, it ends pretty much the same, and you have to deal with bitterness and misunderstanding. But is real life that different? The immersion into the years of a millennial teenagehood is still worth a lot. There is, however, a seriously weak point to the whole gameplay: the main character is too evidently a male. Even though you are given a choice of names of box sexes at the start, the entire behavioral pattern of the characters points out at the typical nice-guyness of the protagonist. The whole game is very short, and it takes no more than 40 minutes to finish it.
There is nothing much you can do apart from clicking on any button of your keyboard to see the text that’s been automatically input for you. The mimicking of typing may irritate some of the players, but it was probably chosen for the story to be more interactive. Text files that appear on your desktop as if they were sent to you by Emily are another tiny detail for the sake of interaction. Everything about the game is adjusted seamlessly and adds to the whole experience. You don’t have many choices, but the choices you have are carefully polished.
Replay Value 4/5
When chatting with Emily, you get the choice of three options that make up different branches of the story. You will surely want to replay after the first time and get to know other endings for the story. Anyway, even with every possible option tried, the game and its replays won’t take more than a couple of hours. The worst thing about Emily is Away is its endings. They don’t vary very much, as far as we know. But, probably, you can try and make a difference.
More a visual novel than a game, Emily is Away is difficult to pin down. The setup of it is hilarious, and so is the concept. The story, however, doesn’t develop that much and seems more like another decoration to an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia for people in their 30s. Almost every Emily is Away reviewer gets carried away with memories of a phone line Internet connection and his favorite music band. Players of other age categories are unlikely to find it that entertaining.
If your high school crashes happened in the era of AOL Messenger, download Emily is Away right away.
Pros : Beautiful design with lots of tiny details;
Nice coming-of-stage story.
Cons : Too short;
Doesn’t really provide a choice.
Replay Value 4