Strange Loves: Vampire Boyfriends

August 26, 2012

Strange Loves: Vampire Boyfriends
Since the dawn of “Twilight,” I have not been a fan of the vampire fad.

So I had my doubts when I downloaded Strange Loves: Vampire Boyfriends (thanks to Miellyn for my iOS copy!), especially because “romance” only appeals to me as a tangential part of stories, rather than a genre. But, I’d already had a good experience with another Tin Man Games’ Gamebook, “The Siege of the Necromancer,” and as someone who’s always enjoyed interactive fiction and choose-your-own-adventure books, I decided I could put aside my distaste for other modern vampire stories.

After you chose your major at Mountain State Blue College, the first chapter sparkles with Sex-and-the-City-style glitz and giggles as you and your girlfriends get ready for a night out at a new club (sidenote: this has also never been my scene). From there, your decisions can move down the steely kickass slayer or the flirtatious vampire romancer, with a few choices in between. Although there are surprises along the way, the choices branch somewhat obviously as to what path they’ll put you on.

My first play-through, I went with the clearly “bad” decisions of blowing off the first day of my internship as a mixed-martial-arts major and going out to this new club in town, where inevitably you find attractive guys who—spoiler alert—may or may not be vampires. Like most choose-your-own-adventure books, your in-game life ends up being cut way short or, even if you manage to survive, has an absurdly disastrous ending.

A couple storylines later, I found the ultimate ending, which was a lovely blend of destroying everything in my path and forging a loving relationship with the more occult characters (the possibilities for your romantic choice at the end is nearly as surprising as Mass Effect’s options).

So for a book I expected to be very heavy on the “Twilight” style of vampire stories, I was surprised and delighted with the range of options. There’s a lot of opportunity to be demure and coy with the guys you’ll encounter, but there’s also the options to kick in some vampire fangs, if that’s more your style.

The writing is punchy and fun, and the ability to use up to 10 bookmarks at any point in the story makes it easier to proceed if you’re feeling indecisive. I read through the story four or five times, and while I had uncovered most of the details behind the overarching story, there were still paths I hadn’t explored. You can tweet and share the in-game achievements, which are cutely worded and often give you a smug sense accomplishment. The only other thing I could’ve wanted was the D&D-style dice-rolling mechanic that “Siege of the Necromancer” uses to decide whether your character wins or loses against the monsters they’re fighting.

Do you have a thing for anything vampire-related and own an iOS or Android device? This is so totally for you. Do you just enjoy choose-your-own-adventure stories? You’ll likely enjoy this, too. Are you someone who can’t sit through a single chick flick and doesn’t care at all for building relationships—romantic or otherwise—with male vampires? You might want to keep moving.

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