I’ve had a habit of scouring the Nintendo E-Shop lately for some irresistible sales. One Friday morning, I stumbled upon a simple thumbnail and a word within the title that caught my attention: choices. Choices usually meant a game where storylines branch off and have multiple endings. As a fan of the Goosebumps choose your own adventure books, I naturally gravitated toward video games that had the same approach. Without much thought, I purchased Choices That Matter: And Their Heroes Were Lost.
Choices That Matter: And Their Heroes Were Lost was developed and published by Tin Man Games. It is categorized as adventure/puzzle/strategy, although I would rather describe it as a text adventure. It released on the Nintendo Switch on 02/10/2021.
The gameplay is as simple as simple can get. In fact, I can imagine many would argue there is no real gameplay. You click through text until you run into a decision. Once you select your decision, you continue reading to see what the consequences (or lack thereof) are. There are no visuals, and there’s one unsettling melody that plans the entire time with occasional sound effects of a gun shot or dog barking.
Choices That Matter: And Their Heroes Were Lost places you in a filthy prison called Camp Amnesia surrounded by other inmates. You’re given the option to speak to them and treat them as friend or foe. A strong element of science fiction/fantasy is clear when you discover that your memory has been wiped, and you have a collar around your neck that suffocates you the moment you are out of line.
Shortly after, you realize you belong to a group of super heroes, and as the Soldier of Fortune, you are the leader. The story takes you through wild, fantastical turns as you attempt to escape.
There are nine “arcs” in the story. After completing each arc, you’re presented with a barometer, showing how your path lined up with other players. It certainly was rewarding as each arc is pretty extensive, and you make numerous decisions along the way.
Choices That Matter: And Their Heroes Were Lost does a good job in involving the gamer as often as possible. I do question if some of them were necessary because I often chose one option, and as the story continued, another character would perform the other choice…that or my decision had little to no consequence. The quality of writing was decent. As an author myself, there were moments where I cringed at word choice or an unnecessary explanation that ripped me from the immersive experience.
By the end, I belonged to 9% of players with a negative ending. It motivated me enough to re-play the last arc two more times; however, I still ended up with the negative ending. By then, I was a little burnt out and unwilling to go back and replay it. That is not to say I won’t return after a longer period of time, but I could only handle the unnerving music and constantly clicking to progress through the text.
Overall, Choices That Matter: And Their Heroes Were Lost was a decent game. I could tell the developers cared to involve the gamer as much as possible; however, there were just as many other factors that jarred the experience. I am curious about the total number of players that were calculated into the percentages at the end of each arc. When looking up the game on Metacritic, I found only one critic review and no user reviews to date.
There are two other Choices That Matter games available on the Nintendo Switch: Choices That Matter: And Their Souls Were Eaten and Choices That Matter: And the Sun Went Out. Their price points are under $10 (USD), so it’s not a budget buster. I recommend this game to the more casual gamer, perhaps one that does prefer to “read” than play. For me, the jury is still out as to whether or not I’ll pick up the other Choices That Matter games.
Do you consider titles like these real video games? Is this something that piques your interest? I’d certainly like to know. Pop onto our Boss Rush Discord channel and share your thoughts!