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Emily Is Away

Developer / Publisher:
20 November 2015
Emily Is Away - cover art
Glitchwave rating
2.52 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
334 Ratings / 3 Reviews
#3,454 All-time
#178 for 2015
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2015  
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A poor attempt at capturing teenage woe and early-2000s aesthetics.
Emily is Away is a unique game in many ways. The aesthetics and visual style are immediately captivating and familiar by way of utilizing Windows XP + AIM (R.I.P) to capture a simplistic art style. It immediately grabs your attention where a lot of other games wouldn't. The fact that you get to pick your own screenname and a new icon for each year is a nice touch as well. And depending on the different screennames you pick for yourself, you can get even more icons! It's very cute and nice, even if it's weird to be giving myself a Binding of Isaac avatar for a game that starts out in 2002. And you can customize your text color and background, though so far I haven't found any unique dialog resulting from it like the screenshots promise.

There are two central characters in the game: yourself (who you can name whoever you want, yay ambiguity and self-inserting!) and Emily, the titular character. The game explores the relationship (of sorts) that you two have over the years, from senior year in high school to the end of college. As you two talk, you explore the friendship you have and some of the unsaid feelings between the two of you. It's nothing new or revolutionary, but the way it's presented certainly would hit close to home for a decent number of people.

A really nice thing that the game does right is showing you the thought process of your character. They typo and make some mistakes, going back and deleting various words or phrases, or even whole messages that get deleted due to their intimacy and emotions. It shows how your character wants to present themselves best for Emily and show off their best side. The different choices you can make that decide different things your character does (like the music they like or the school they go to) let you form a (sort-of) idealized character of your own as you talk to Emily. It's a very neat concept... if it mattered.

Ultimately, nothing you do in this game matters. All those choices you're given lead to the same outcome eventually. The game promises "A dialogue decision-based branching narrative.", but when all of the dialog ultimately leads to an ending that just... happens, it just feels like a waste of time. While I have no problems with the story itself and the way it gets presented, it doesn't help the fact that the story, the choices, and even the character development feels so bare and... so dull. And the absolute worst thing an emotionally-driven game like this could be is dull. I don't ever feel like I'm in this world I'm building, and Emily is a close friend of mine; it just feels like I'm chatting with an AI once every so often.

The game is also short. For free games that can be a good thing, and a game like this also can benefit from short playthroughs. The downside is that, due to the fact that this game has no real choices of sorts, there's hardly any replay value. You can choose different paths to go. You can play one certain part and have Emily be annoyed at you, then play that part another way and have her be indifferent. But it just really doesn't make a difference. There's no diversity, nothing to make the game exciting, and because of that, the game feels like it plods and drags itself along in its roughly hour-long playthrough. One thing that'd probably help is talking to all of those other friends in your friends list. There's no incentive to look at their profiles or see how they change because, well, why would you? You can only talk to Emily. It feels like fluff to make the game a bit more full.

Was I affected? Ultimately not. I've been in this situation before (though it didn't last over a number of years), and a couple points in the game did sting me a bit, being out of a relationship now. But they're fleeting moments in a game that almost feels like it doesn't want you to keep playing, Certainly, the fact that so many people have felt so strongly and receptive towards the game makes me think I'm in the minority. And it's free, so you can't go wrong with the price! Give it a shot yourself. You don't really have much to lose. However, given what the game has, what it promises, and how its execution handles, I can't recommend it.
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Decibelle 2016-04-03T01:19:27Z
2016-04-03T01:19:27Z
1.5
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Emily Is Away sounds pretty stunning on paper, even GOTY material, but the way Kyle Seeley has executed it here is... ehhhhh

The choice to use AOL Online as the basis of the game is pretty creative; and I do like the idea of a hopeless ending, giving you the allusion of altering fate, but this was not done very well. I felt like I wasn't given diverse enough message choices, so the tragic ending didn't really do much for me. If I was given the ability to alter the story more, yet still end up losing Emily, it would have made it a much greater loss for me.

The tongue-in-cheek, referential humor and easter eggs certainly weren't doing the game any justice. First of all, they're very unfunny; and second, it really breaks my immersion. Um, http://bit.ly/2m5zm8s, aren't I supposed to be madly heartbroken right now?

I honestly didn't mind the gameplay (smacking your keyboard) but I can see how some might find it boring or tedious. Some other variables might have been nice, but whatever. Overall, disappointing game.
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The things left unsaid
Emily is Away is a short visual novel solenly told through MSN chat, between a a boy who has been friendzoned and her friend. There are a lot of choices in the dialogue, and these can wield very different results. Besides the msn chats, the story cuts huge sections of time from us, where we must feel the gaps as to what exactly happened.

I found the game well written, though it can be a bit frustrating that the choice selection is so limited, but at the same time we have to understand that these are teenagers/young adults in this story. Though the story gets a lot of criticism, i felt that it nailed in essence those conversations that should have gone much better, and how often the smallest detail in a conversation can end up destroying friendships.

Its a short game, taking at most 1 hour to beat. That said, due to its unique story, its an experience that stayed with me. But i also recognize that this one is very divisive.
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Threntall 2016-12-19T22:27:48Z
2016-12-19T22:27:48Z
3.5
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Catalog

getlostdave Emily Is Away 2022-09-28T01:34:46Z
2022-09-28T01:34:46Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
aziaisonline Emily Is Away 2022-09-26T23:52:39Z
2022-09-26T23:52:39Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
AwOkEn Emily Is Away 2022-09-14T09:50:15Z
2022-09-14T09:50:15Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
MentalMsuic Emily Is Away 2022-09-09T07:55:19Z
2022-09-09T07:55:19Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
tekiii Emily Is Away 2022-09-03T21:51:34Z
2022-09-03T21:51:34Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
vladkick Emily Is Away 2022-08-30T00:19:54Z
2022-08-30T00:19:54Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
orions_rhetoric Emily Is Away 2022-08-26T19:09:24Z
Windows / Mac
2022-08-26T19:09:24Z
3.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
interactive fiction
BoosterRaccoon Emily Is Away 2022-08-21T23:28:40Z
2022-08-21T23:28:40Z
2.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
SqwikSqwik Emily Is Away 2022-08-16T15:15:35Z
Windows / Mac
2022-08-16T15:15:35Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
flymetothestar Emily Is Away 2022-08-16T03:29:46Z
2022-08-16T03:29:46Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Worrski Emily Is Away 2022-08-09T02:48:36Z
Windows / Mac
2022-08-09T02:48:36Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Rodrigo_Conroy Emily Is Away 2022-08-09T00:03:41Z
2022-08-09T00:03:41Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • androgino222 2022-08-06 20:52:02.23491+00
    stop cock-blocking me emily
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  • aziaisonline 2022-09-26 23:53:10.976052+00
    damned if you do, damned if you don't: the game
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