Choice of Romance is a new text-based PC and iPhone game by Heather Albano and Adam Strong-Morse, using the same ChoiceScript code and choose-your-own-adventure style as Choice of Dragon. You play as a young mage, from a noble but impoverished family, looking for love in a Spanish-influenced magical kingdom.
The royal court bears striking resemblances to Henry VIII and Catharine of Aragon: The king and his politically-advantageous wife have one sickly child, while the king’s wandering eye has led to an illegitimate son. One time I played through, I went after the king, and was soon receiving gifts, stringing the king alone and deposing the rightful queen, just like a magic-using Anne Boleyn. I don’t know if this was the intention, or if maybe I should lay off the historical novels for a while.
I’ve written before about how pleased I am when a character-driven game gives equal female options instead of forcing you to play a guy. (I’m looking at you, Harvest Moon.) In Choice of Romance, you can choose your gender, and the gender of your intended romantic partner. I really liked that sexual orientation was just a quick change of pronouns, but every time I played, my character was a girl who was interested in boys. (I’m boring.)
Choice of Romance was very open-ended, and while I felt that my actions had consequences, I didn’t feel like the game was out to trick me or punish me for a wrong choice. You’re able to pursue the king, a wealthy older lord, and a young rebel, and dive into politics, make subtle changes or steer clear of the whole thing, for several satisfying endings.
The only flaw was my usual ChoiceScript problem, the lack of a midgame save. If I see two options I want to try, it’s frustrating to restart and try to remember everything I did to get to that point so I can try the second one.