Emily is Away Too Review
Throw some eggs on houses…check.
Available on: Steam
Genre: VN Sim
Publisher: Kyle Seeley
We all talk online nowadays as we are connected to anyone that has access to the internet and willing to talk to you or post something. When you’re not with your friends in person, why not talk to them long distance so you can talk even more. This is what Emily is Away Too goes on during the years on 2006 and 2007.
We come in on our Senior year of high school and we made two key friends that we talk to during the course of the game: Emily and Evelyn. Once you setup your username and choose an avatar, it is time to hit them up. From the beginning, there is a sense of getting to know the other person and starting out as friends as conversations with both start up asking about little things like music choice. As we go on, they get more open to talk to us about their relationship troubles and ask for advice. There is a connection there that makes you want to hear them out and if they want to spill their troubles, there is a high chance you will want to be there for them.
Sadly, the use of having two girls to talk to, there are forced situations to make you choose one. There are situations that the game that does not want you to keep up the same kind of relationship you have with the other girl. One of the most notable ones is when both are in a vulnerable spot and want you to be there for both of them at the same time. The catch? They are both messaging you at the same time. Of course we must all be thinking that it is not hard to keep up two conversations, you might be able to do more with your own friends and well we were able to message them at the same time in the previous chapters, but this time we have a timer. Each time you try to juggle both conversations, the timer gets shorter and shorter till one runs out and either Emily or Evelyn gets mad at you “not being there”. If you let the timer run out twice they will log off in a huff, even though you would be writing right before the timer ran out.
I do get what this was trying to do, but it just falls into being forced and it takes away from wanting to care about the conversation if you want to answer both of them. Especially when the responses you give are mundane. I do think this section could of been worked better, perhaps having you choose your answers carefully, not wanting them feel like you don’t care or perhaps have something that you can actually mix up names.
There is also the fact that they do overreact to seemingly small things and you can’t explain yourself. They mention that it is totally okay to not have future plans set in stone and okay to change…but then you find out it’s only for them. There is a situation when one of them does something out of character and say people can change, but when you change your own choices (or you interpret the different wordings of the questions differently) it is automatically set to you being a manipulative liar. No way to explain yourself as it is an automatic failure (dumping you) as early as chapter one.
I often find that both seem too similar. They are fleshed out but not in a way that really separates the two. Their interests and how they talk are different, but they both have problems with another boy and both stories rely on which girl you choose and what response you told them. There are a few side characters, but they don’t get any character other than knowing that they could of had any name, one time which I mixed up the names since we have no way to know who they are other than when they cause conflict with the girls. Perhaps this could of been solved with you being able to talk with these side characters yourself. There is also the fact that no matter who you end up with, both Emily and Evelyn will have the same dialogue and reaction with a few things being replaced with a choice you provided and names.
If you previously played Emily is Away, there is another huge difference that was added. Instead of being completely confined in the instant messenger window, there are a bunch of website links that were made just for this game. You will mostly get Youtube (YouToob) and Facebook (Facenook) page links during your gameplay, but there is a list of links available to see all of the websites..
+ Cool to see that a bunch of websites are available alongside the game
+ Realistic writing
+ More secret icons with few of them having secret conversations
+/- Reusing text for Emily or Evelyn route
+/- Emily/Evelyn overreacting over small things
+/- Underdevelopment of side characters that relate to Emily/Evelyn’s story
– Forced sections where you have to fail
– Some responses don’t fit what you are roleplaying as (or the response changes to make it mean something else)
If you want to get more out of the free experience Emily is Away gave or interested in this way of storytelling, go ahead and try out Emily is Away Too. However, despite that this game made me want to care for both Emily and Evelyn there are a number of things that make the experience worse such as some of the force segments. Despite most of this review being criticisms, this game was enjoyable, but will overall provide a different feeling and meaning than Emily is Away. So I do also recommend playing the first Emily is Away game (it’s free!).