Escaping Reality, Expensive but Worth it?

So, I’ve been playing two mobile games non-stop (and boy does my paycheck know it). The games are Choices by Pixelberry and The Arcana by NixHydra. You can play for free, but it costs money to unlock extra scenes that reveal more of the story. But it’s not like I have any other major expenses or hobbies right now so I’m willing to accept this as my one vice.

I’m going to start with Choices. The stories I enjoyed the most were “Perfect Match” and “Most Eligible”. I’m willing to accept this as my guilty pleasure as an aromantic because actual dating squicks me out, but playing a totally censored PG13 game is absolutely fine. “Most Eligible” was probably the most fun because the storyline is your character is put on a trashy Reality TV show (based off Big Brother I think?) and the point of the game is to basically hook up with everyone. The bonus scenes are romantic dates and extra info to help your character win the challenges. At the end you have the option of buying an extra scene that you need to win, but if you lose you still win the audience vote if you stay in character during the interviews and get the consolation prize.

“Perfect Match” is the cheesiest scifi plot that I have no excuse for liking. Your character signs up for a dating service and surprise! Your perfect match is actually a super realistic android and the corporation that makes them is evil and you have to stop the evil corporation from taking over the world. Seriously uninspired villains. If that were a TV series synopsis I wouldn’t watch it, but the game turned out to be super fun because you get to choose how your character responds. I loved the ending I got and because it’s scifi, polyamorous relationships are perfectly fine (which thank goodness because I didn’t want to choose between the private detective and the android) and everyone is bi/pan/wtf-sexual. This one is fun to play even without the bonus scenes.

The Arcana is absolutely gorgeous. Rather than unlocking the bonus scenes it’s better to go ahead and just buy the individual chapters because it unlocks all the content and means you don’t need a key to replay the chapters. The individual chapters cost about ten dollars, but you’d be spending more than that if you kept refilling keys and paid to unlock all the bonus scenes individually (and the bonus scenes are basically just romantic fluff anyway soooo you don’t re~ally need it unless that’s your thing).

Not all of the chapters are out yet so it’s going to be a while until we see how the whole story ends. There are several story line choices and each story line has a different suitor and the plot is slightly different in each one too. There’s also a super cute mini-game that I enjoy playing daily. Best feature? You get to chose between she/her, he/him, and they/their pronouns. Asra, one of the characters, is also nonbinary according to the creators. I also happen to really like the story too. If this were a series I would totally watch it, but it’s definitely a perk of the format to have that reader-insert feeling.

The nice thing about both of these mobile games is it gives me a break from reality. The ban on transpersons in the military is definitely a low-point this past month, but on top of that my grandmother, my last living grandparent, is having some serious health problems lately so my mom is going to have to fly up somehow despite the government shutdown and all that mess. Having something fun, easy, and low-stress to do on my downtime is very beneficial to my mental health right now, so while my paycheck is definitely weeping, a little escapism right now is definitely worth it.

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