Crazy Night Out offers a fun and racy twist on interactive fiction
Starting a new job can be scary. Starting a new job in a new town is scarier. But starting a new job as an intern at a Hollywood studio? That’s downright terrifying. And that’s exactly what you’ll do in the interactive fiction game Crazy Night Out.
Players will choose to play as either Chelsea, a young woman new to LA, ready to start her internship at Tesla Studios, or Zach, a young man new to LA, ready to start his internship at Tesla Studios. While this may sound identical (and the story’s for each really are), there is enough unique dialogue and characters in both to make playing through them worth your while.
The gameplay here is a largely passive affair. You’ll spend the vast majority of your time reading dialogue as the story unfolds, only occasionally being asked to make a decision for you character. Are you rude or polite to your boss? Do you lie to the celebrity or tell the truth? How should you react when your friend leaves you stranded at the airport? Each decision you make will impact your stats in the game, as well as the dialogue that happens in response.
In addition to the text-based decisions, the gameplay will occasionally be broken up by mini-games that are used to advance the story. Memory, match-3, and even simple driving games made up the bulk of our experiences in the first episode, and depending on how we scored in each, the story would be affected by the outcome. While the mini-games were overly simple and would be completely dull as standalone products, the quickplay nature of each meant they never overstayed their welcome.
Crazy Night Out plays a lot like EA’s Surviving High School and CAUSE OF DEATH, and we can’t help but feel that’s a good thing. Interactive fiction is a great genre when it’s done right, even if it is a genre that offers very little gameplay. These games largely live and die by their writing, and Crazy Night Out offers funny and engaging dialogue throughout.
When you first download the game, you’ll see something that doesn’t pop up too often on the iPhone: an age-related content warning. That’s because, while it’s really no worse than a PG-13 film, this is definitely a game with adult themes and situations. Your characters spend their time trying to hook up, hearing nasty words, and occasionally getting hot and heavy. Plus most of the humor is definitely geared towards those with an adult level of pop culture awareness. References to current TV shows and movies are littered throughout, and some of the characters are blatant spoofs of real celebrities (like the Mel Gibson character who has clear anger issues and calls his wife every dirty name in the book). Simply put, in no way is this a game that kids would, could, or should enjoy.
Pricing will feel a little backwards to gamers who’ve grown used to the competing offerings from EA. While those games require an initial purchase, but then offer new free episodes every week, Crazy Night Out is available for free, but if you want to continue the story you’ll need to purchase the remaining episodes. You can buy individual episodes for 99 cents a piece, but if you’ve really enjoyed the free introductory episode you may as well spend $2.99 and go for the full season. This way you’ll get 16 episodes (8 for Chelsea, 8 for Zach) for the price of three.
The complaints to be had about Crazy Night Out are few, but they’re still there. There are some minor inconsistencies between the text and the visuals for example, such as when he describes his bed as having leopard print sheets but the art shows it with blue stripes. And while the art and sound do a serviceable job, they’re nothing to write home about either.
Whether you’re the type of gamer who can’t wait for the next episode of CAUSE OF DEATH to hit, or you’ve simply been curious about this style of game and didn’t want to spend the money to dig any deeper, Crazy Night Out offers a fun time that’s well worth a download for the initial price of free.