Emily is Away (2015) Game Review

Emily is Away is an independent interactive visual novel by game developer Kyle Seeley. This past October, it was announced that there will be a spiritual successor called Emily is Away Too slated for release in 2017. It’s time that we gave it a look.

Emily is Away is a game where you get to create your screen name and guide the dialogue in a series of conversations over five years from 2002 to 2006 with a high school crush called Emily using chat screen (that looks like AOL messenger). The player gets to choose the dialogue then actually pretend to type on their keyboard to have said dialogue show up. Each conversation guides the dialogue into a conversation that stretches over to the next year and Emily will remember what you say and the choices you make. The best way probably is to play this one using your own personality and seeing how Emily responds (at least that is how our playthrough was done).

This interactive novel is a cool nostalgic experience. For many, it isn’t just the idea of using AOL instant messenger but also how you’d approach the situation to get into a relationship with Emily and hopefully not let it ruin whatever friendship there is, and not get totally friendzoned. Oh, the young relationship problems, right?

[Spoiler Alert] While Emily is Away is a great experience and the story and dialogue is quite impactful, it also does create a sense of emptiness with an ending that there is no winning situation, unless you choose to leave the game (aka shut down the fake computer and not talk to emily again). However, the question here is whether the game would have as much impact if we did get the girl? Perhaps this is the true message the game wishes to portray: a sense of lost crushes or the lingering feeling of the one who got away.

Emily is Away is a visual novel experience. While there is a false sense of consequences that we finally realize in the end, the choices you make will influence the conversations that occur over the years. The story has impact and the dialogue is believable. In fact, there are moments where our character will type and delete what he actually means. Perhaps frustrating for some, but it does give a sense of authenticity of how someone may actually react in that situation and try to either keep a distance or show that you are in fact playing as someone who is or isn’t exactly like yourself. A smart move, in our opinion. Suffice to say that we look forward to Emily is Away Too in 2017.

Emily is Away is free to play on Steam and Itch.io.

Emily Is Away (2016)

Game Credits

Developer: Kyle Seeley
Genre: Adventure, Casual, Free to Play, Indie, Simulation
Mode: Single-Player

4.0
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