What's Your Story: A Story of 1000 Gems
The Bare Bones
So what exactly is What’s Your Story? Well the bare bones of it are: What’s Your Story is a mobile game based in the Interactive Story genre. You have the ability to create a character and plop them in whatever story you wish to read. The game always lets you choose whether you’re into girls or guys and depending on the story, allows you to present as any gender you want. There’s a collection of stories available to you, meaning that there will always be something that you want to read ranging from mysteries such as CSI & I Know What You Did Last Summer or dramas like Divergent and even romance stories like Baywatch & 90210.
Yeah, no! You weren’t reading that wrong. Those titles I listed are legit. This is What’s Your Story’s biggest selling point. While the app does offer their own original stories for you to enjoy, the app also plops you into the universes of these beloved franchises. You often see your self-insert character partnering up with the cast of the original 90210 or leading their own adventure within the same universe as in Scream: the TV Series.
And you know what? The stories are actually good. Ludia Games always manages to stay true to the universes of these stories. Meaning that you don’t have worry about some out of place typical teen drama in your story about escaping a serial killer in Scream or solving murders in CSI. Major props go out to Ludia Games’ art department who especially shine during most of the horror stories, their gore does not hold back. It actually managed to catch me off guard the first time I saw it because I was simply so used to horror stories within the mobile interactive story genre being really watered down and not feeling like a horror story at all.
This is how the app carves its own seat at the mobile gaming table...well...the kiddie table at least as not only do they still have a ways to go when it comes to their presence within interactive story community, there are still issues with some aspects of the app.
The Pay-to-Win Hell
Look, I get it, free apps still need to make money to pay people for their time and effort. It’s actually pretty insulting to expect people who spent most of their lives honing their skills to work for free. People gotta eat, they gotta pay bills and take care of their families. I have nothing against in-app purchases but I do have something against a pay-to-win scheme.
This business model can easily break any game and condemn it to the hell of abandoned or dying games. Some good examples of this being APB: Reloaded and Dungeon Keeper, both free-to-play games that went through the pay-to-win scheme and faced heavy backlash for it. The only game that’ can get away with it is GTA Online but Rockstar is only able to get away with this because of the safety net that is their legacy but many up and coming companies, especially with mobile, don’t have that good of a safety net yet still choose to play with fire.
It’s not impossible to make decently priced gem choices as Episode Interactive’s season 1 of Demi Lovato: Road to Game did right by having the gem choices be bonuses rather than a win-lose type decision.
Such is the case with What’s Your Story. When I initially started playing the story app, it all seemed fine until I got to two different points. One was one of the app’s many dress-up segments, where they offer an outfit for a certain amount of gems. While sometimes the outfit doesn’t matter there are other times were simply not buying the outfit means taking the loser route, essentially trying to make you feel bad for not having enough disposable gems for the outfit. The other point is some of the choices within the story. The choices are simplified to two (sometimes three) and the game makes it very clear about which one they want you to pick because it’ll be behind the gems. Should you pick the other choice the game even has one of the characters say something really snarky about you not wanting to waste gems or pay money to buy more. Gamers don’t like to feel punished for not forking over money, it’s a dangerous business tactic to mess with yet, What’s Your Story felt bold enough to do it anyway.
When it comes to the writing, I think there are areas that Ludia could improve in. Firstly, regardless of genre, the game has relied on forced drama in the form of love triangles. I don’t see anything wrong with love triangles, if they’re done right. What’s Your Story rarely hits a home run with this though. In my experience, You either like one love interest or none of them. But this whole love triangle schtick is dragged through the mud because the writers are so confident that you haven’t made up your mind yet. This is most evident with one of the Scream love interest: Sam. Sam seems pretty cool but that’s pretty much it compared Shayne, who is an all around treat to be near. It doesn’t stop the game from trying to make you like Sam. It basically forces you into this love triangle and unless you actually like both love interests, it’s like being dragged to a party you don’t want to be at. The only story that I can recall doesn’t do this is Divergent, which is...ironic.
The Future is Murky
As it stands right now, the future for What’s Your Story is really murky. Some time ago they increased the number of gems for VIPs to earn to 6, which actually goes a long way when you’re saving. It was a good deal for its 4.99 price Then they changed it back to 4 gems but only increasing the price of VIP up to 9.99 which is not really a bang for your buck deal. I was prepared to give Ludia Games heavy praise for the increased gems because then it would seem like they actually took the fan complaints into account but now it’s clear that it’s the opposite.
The outrageous price of some of the choices combined with some characters (love interests especially) falling too flat to care about, it really seems like the app is just heading towards the club of apps to hungry for cash to try and be good. Which is a terrible shame because, like I stated earlier, some of the plots for the stories are really entertaining. Such as the mystery surrounding both you and the new spree of murders happening in Scream or the mystery of who is spreading the harsh rumors about everyone at West Bev in 90210. The app could do great come this time next year but it’s just a matter of making decisions that benefit both the consumer and the app creators.
But what do you think? Do you enjoy the app? If so, what stories are your favorites? Additionally, where do you think What’s Your Story can improve?
© 2018 Talaya Gatlin-Ali