Matches & Matrimony combines three Jane Austen classics into an interactive visual novel
Matches & Matrimony is an interactive novel that blends together three novels by Jane Austen. The game plays more like a Choose Your Own Adventure novel than a traditional game, and this style may not appeal to everyone. However, the concept is unique and as a fan of Jane Austen I truly enjoyed it.
Matches & Matrimony begins with Pride & Prejudice. The dialogue between the characters is taken directly from the novel at first, but this will change as the game progresses and your choices shape the plot. Your character is the second Bennet child and you will have to choose her name. Being a purist I chose to name her Elizabeth.
The game is broken into chapters and at the beginning of each chapter you will assign tasks to your character for the week. Each task will affect your attributes. Studying the arts will raise your talent and sensibility while going outside will raise your willpower but cause propriety to decrease. Depending on the suitor you choose to pursue you will want to increase certain attributes but may find you don’t want to increase others.
There are six suitors to choose from in Matches & Matrimony, and nine different endings to discover. This allows for a lot of replay. Some of the endings are difficult to reach while others are fairly simple. One of the unique features of the game, though, is that when you have finished the game the first time you are offered the opportunity to get some hints on how to win the other suitors upon restarting the game. You are also given the option of fast-forwarding each storyline to where the different plotlines diverge.
There are three Jane Austen novels that are combined in Matches & Matrimony. You will begin in Pride & Prejudice and at Chapter 10 you will either be able to continue on with the plotline or, depending on the choices you have made thus far, you will be seamlessly moved into the plots of either Sense & Sensibility or Persuasion. Several characters have been combined to make the transition smoother. Unfortunately, several of these characters appear prior to the transition and if you are familiar with Jane Austen’s novels it can be a little jarring as their name is different. For example, Mr. Whickam of Pride & Prejudice is combined with Willoughby of Sense & Sensibility to create the dastardly Mr. Wikeby. When you realize what is happening though it does make sense.
To win the suitor of your choice, you will need to be familiar with the novels. You will want to shape your character to who she was in the book. If you a pursuing Mr. Darcy you will need to know how Elizabeth Bennet acted towards him in Pride & Prejudice, and the same is true for each of the suitors. If you haven’t read any of the books you may feel lost at times. The game does however provide some in-game hints to let you know if you’ve made the correct choice. Also you can save at anytime and there is a helpful back button so that you can try again. The game also autosaves at the end each chapter.
The graphics in Matches & Matrimony are fairly standard for an interactive novel. The backgrounds are static and the characters appear onscreen when they are in the scene. The characters are hand drawn and the only feature that changes is facial expression. I did think it would have been nice had their clothing changed to fit the scene. By the end of the game your character had to be pretty tired of carrying around a book. The music in the game is a bit repetitive but it’s not distracting and it does suit the mood of the game.
While Matches & Matrimony is not a traditional game it was still a fun diversion that I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of Jane Austen’s work. It could also be a great companion piece for a student who is studying any of the novels. I definitely recommend giving the demo a try.