New Heart's Choice Game! "Jazz Age" by Nicola R. White

I’m enjoying my playthrough of Jazz Age! I’m a fan of Roaring 20s settings in general, but I appreciate the work the author put in to make the story world feel true to reality, while facilitating the escapism. I bought into the ridiculous of the premise, especially since the speakeasy owner and the FBI agent were set up as my romantic options from the beginning. I laughed when I received the option to sleep with both ROs at once. AND it was a cliffhanger choice.

I do have one question about the spiciness level. The blog labels the game as PG-13 and the app tags it as one jalapeño (sweet). However, I found the love scene with John much steamier than what PG-13 suggests. It was closer to R due to the “mechanics” described. Am I misunderstanding the content labels, or did anyone else find it spicier than advertised?

Fortunately, I didn’t mind—if anything, I was pleasantly surprised. :hugs:

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You read my mind, @chihuahuazero — I read the very same scene with John yesterday and was also surprised by how explicit it got. I was just going to comment about that, actually. :joy: In my mind it should definitely have a higher rating.

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I have mixed feelings about this game - the good was very good, but the bad was almost unforgivably so.

Here are my pros and cons and a lengthy explanation or ‘review’.

PROS:

  • Great care to imagery – setting, character and language – creating nice sense of immersion
  • Appealing love interests (for the most part)
  • Sexy love scene (not rated properly by the Heart’s Choice scale, but was a very good and enjoyable surprise)
  • Believable, well established main character

CONS:

  • Rushed ‘second half’, abrupt ending
  • Rushed and disjointed romance arcs
  • Plot holes
  • Romances forced onto MC (without adhering to player’s choice or establishing sexuality)

To sum it up, the author had some skill and clearly knew the subject they were writing about but after a point it felt like they wanted to get it done and finished quickly. It felt like there was no thought given to taking a step back and viewing the main story arc (and each character arc) in its full context, noticing the glaring pacing problems, and working to correct them before publication. Further, it seems very surprising that whomever beta tested this game/story didn’t notice the issue either (but I’m not overly familiar with HC’s beta testing process).

The first ‘half’ of the story felt pretty good in terms of pacing and fleshing out the story - right up until MC went to the audition featuring the strict Russian choreographer. After that the story jumps all over the place, trying to wrap up too many of the major issues in the story – family farm problem, actor union and speakeasy – in superficial, rushed and poorly thought-out ways, rather then taking the time to play out each with the same care afforded to the ‘first half’ of the story. Done properly, it probably would have made the story double as long, and rightfully so.

It also felt incredibly inorganic and contrived to suddenly have these three major, life-altering decisions thrust onto you; only one truly had cause for MC to be wholly responsible – the family farm problem – and the others were just an excuse to make the player ‘have to choose’. Why am I suddenly responsible for the success or failure of the actors union rather then the woman heading it (especially if, choice-wise, I only just aligned with the idea MOMENTS before and was on the fence up until then)? Why am I wholly responsible for Lila’s speakeasy as a newly-arrived, minor bit-player in the whole affair? Don’t force that on the reader purely for the sake of having them make a choice, it has to be properly established first.

Another glaring problem, for me, was hinting at something major that was never delivered in the end. In the writing world it’s a concept known as ‘Chekhov’s Gun’. Basically, if a clear point is made of the main character noticing a loaded gun when they walk into a room, that gun must have a role to play at some point in the story to follow. Expectation is created in the reader, and there needs to be a payoff. In this case Chekhov’s Gun was John Curtis cutting a deal with Lila regarding notifying him of any major figures in the alcohol racket entering town, and considering that taking out the big guns is John’s singular focus in the story, that’s a major detail. This immediately got me excited because I reasonably thought, ‘at some point later on in this story there will probably be a major scene between John’s prohibition unit and some major mafia figure and his henchmen, likely where MC will find herself caught in the middle, or face the possibility of losing John’. Yeah. Never happened. Personally, that was really disappointing…

Now, the romances. Suffice to say, the romance arcs suffered the same pacing problem as the main arc, and sadly, also a break down of the character’s personalities. I really enjoyed John Curtis in the first part of the story - I could truly see him as a dark, cold Rudolf Valentino lookalike ruthlessly pursuing Prohibition, and the chemistry between he and the MC was electric and amazing. Enter the second part, John’s largely absent and then reappears tripping over himself to be with the MC, having lost everything about his personality that made him interesting, and having seemingly abandoned all drive for the goal he’d thrown everything into up until then. Massive disappointment.

And it’s been said before, but forcing John and Lila onto the player without allowing the player to dictate their character’s sexual preference, and worse, not respecting the player’s decision for friendship if they make it, was a huge mistake. I liked Lila as a character a lot, and as a friend, but by the end I actually actively disliked her because she didn’t seem to acknowledge the fact that I’d repeatedly indicated I only liked her as a friend and that felt creepy. Again, how did beta testers no notice this issue, especially considering how adamant Choice Of and Heart’s Choice is about respecting people’s sexuality and gender identities?

As an additional note, this is possibly just a personal gripe but I thought I’d mention it anyway. I got the impression that readers were meant to view the MC’s spunky younger sister with a sort of exasperated affection, but if that was the aim, it failed in my book - that kid was a brat of the worst kind. She was relentless in her misbehavior and didn’t appreciate anything MC did for her, and this at a time when MC was suddenly shouldered with all this unwarranted responsibility. Again, this was just a personal gripe, but man, I couldn’t stand that kid.

To finish on a positive, the PROS of this game were significant ones, hence why my feelings are mixed and not straight up disappointment.

I truly loved John Curtis’ personality (in the first half) - his drive, passion, Rudolph Valentino looks, everything! I loved the sparkling imagery of 1920’s New York - I was there in my head and I loved every moment (seriously, please make another game set in the roaring 20s). I loved the options for the main character and how their personality sparkled throughout. I loved Toni and Lila as friends and the whole speakeasy scene around them. I loved the auditioning and the performing. I loved the sex scene/s, though for balance I would have added another such scene at the end, with more full intimacy with our chosen love interest/s - what we got was fantastic, but left me wanting for just that little bit more satisfaction.

Also, bump that rating up by one chilli!

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you know this wont be a problem for games that are f/f m/m f/gv etc but when a game is gv it should have the option for you to choose like so many hg and cog ask you what is your sexuality (girls, male, both etc)
i mean if you have the choice to choose and the game doenst recognize your sexuality later by making other npc genders you are not interested flirt with you some people may feel it forced

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Hence why I mentioned that it doesn’t establish the character’s sexuality (and then code the game appropriately). But here where you said:

I disagree. It’s never a good idea to force a romance of any kind onto the MC, even if they’re of the MC/player’s preferred gender. By this I mean, if the character flirts with the MC, and the player makes the choice specifying they’re not interested in that particular character, the game needs to reflect that from that point on if it’s indeed “player’s choice”. The one exception is if the character in question is deliberately being written to ignore what the player/MC wants (like if they turn out to be a stalker or are specifically designed to make the MC/player hate or fear them, etc), or if the entire game is based around a single romanceable character that the player is solely reading the story for (which is a kinda risky thing).

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I second literally every single thing about this. These are pretty much my thoughts, only eloquent and organized instead of higgledy-piggledy.

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I’m not going to give a full review since I haven’t finished the game and I don’t really plan to, but I feel like its worth noting a couple critiques for posterity lol.

First off I will say that I enjoyed the setting. That’s probably the biggest draw to the story as it felt very atmospheric.

However, I couldn’t finish the game because I didn’t like how the game forced me to play as if I was bisexual and attracted to the main ROs. To start, I generally get annoyed when games tell you what your character is thinking and feeling. I prefer it when the writing describes the scenes and allows the reader to interpret it the way they feel like they should for the character they are playing. A lot of games here do that and usually I’m able to look past it, but for this game I couldn’t. The blurb at the beginning claims that you can “Play as male, female, or non-binary; gay, straight, bi, or poly.” But if the game keeps telling you how you are physically attracted to Lila, it will keep breaking my immersion in the setting and kinda ruined the experience.

I feel like this game should have been targeted to bisexuals (or possibly even straight men and lesbians - not sure how forced the male RO is since I didn’t make it that far).

edit:wording and typos. Oh sorry and one more thing. I don’t mind if NPCs come on to the player character that are not their preferred gender. Like if Lila was to flirt with the main character, I’d have no problem with that and I can roleplay around that especially if you write good choices. Its just when the writing forces the main character to be “thinking” a certain way that it forces you to only play a certain type of character (in this case bisexual), that the reader may not have been interested in playing.

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you are missunderstanding me, i mean it wont be a problem at all because on gender locked mcs with gender locked romances (male on male, female on female for example) people wont feel that bad about being flirted by said characters, true there may be people that dont like it but it wont feel as bad as getting flirted by a gender that is not to your sexual preference, thats my point.

Thats… not really what this is about. The point is the narrative shouldn’t assume you’re attracted to characters when you constantly pick choices to the contrary. Being flirted with is going to happen in HC games, sure, but if you make it clear to that character that you’re not interested in them then the narrative should reflect that.

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I can say for me, both ROs end up confessing to you eventually anyway no matter their relationship score which was my issue with it. I didn’t connect with either of the characters over the small timeframe the games events happen and it didn’t help that the MC themselves seems to feel atleast a small bit of attraction for both no matter what. That plus none of the choices when it came down to talking to them had a straight up “No, I dont want anything to do with you and am not attracted to you” option. There is literally a bit in the game where someone does something to betray you and your choices are: I forgive you, I dont know how I feel about you, and -ask a friend what they think you should feel basically-.

Also there were several points in the story where the MC is written to feel sorry for turning an RO down. MCs having to much of their own feeling about things without my input really takes me out of stories since its such a disconnect. Stories like these pretty much come off to me like if you happen to also align with how the MC is written to be already mostly then you will have a good time, if not…

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if u did read before quoting me that you will know that i was talking about the sexuality preference in genders not that the game dont recognize what you feel about said npc, that was the point of my post, i agree that is a problem if you tell that npc you are not interested and the game keep acting as if you like them, but i never talked about that.

Please remember to remain civil with each other as well as on-topic. This thread is for discussing specific aspects of Jazz Age. For discussion on how romances should be handled and acknowledged in Heart’s Choice (or other games), other threads should be utilized. Thanks!

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To refer back to the Jazz Age discussion, I will say (though I haven’t completed the game in its entirety): I was surprised by how the player-character does seem to be canonically bisexual. Being able to choose your gender is wonderful, and of course we should expect romance and flirtation in Heart’s Choice games (that’s their main premise, after all!) but I was thrown off by how my MC experienced immediate physical attraction towards both Lila and John without any input from me. The game also asked me (I think several times) if I just wanted to be friends with Lila or if I wanted to pursue her, but did not seem to acknowledge my choice either way and still gave me text as if I was intrigued by her romantically/physically attracted to her. This did throw me off but I’m excited to read more (I love Prohibition-era stuff) and see how it all plays out!

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I haven’t finished the game yet (this cooldown feature for reading for free is pretty cool, though I still tend towards purchasing the full game because I replay games way too much—it’s nice to have the option for games you may only want to play once, and for people who may not be able to afford every single release—although best save that discussion for someplace else), but I just wanted to drop in to say I really enjoyed the romance scenes. Although I am so confused about the chili rating system now! I actually hopped in this thread to see if anyone was as confused as I was.

I definitely think this one is mislabeled. Which was a good surprise for me because I enjoy erotica but may be a pretty bad surprise for someone expecting something more candlelit and Fade to Black. It definitely probably should be at least :hot_pepper::hot_pepper:, especially since that’s the rating Dawnfall got, and Dawnfall only had mildly suggestive sex scenes where as Jazz Age has full on descriptions of parts and penetration.

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I agree, I think Jazz Age and Dawnfall were maybe accidentally switched, spice-rating wise? Hopefully this will be corrected, especially since a lot of folks have mentioned this now…(if you check the DAWNFALL thread there are.many mentions there, hopefully the powers that be will.notice)

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Please let there he a sequel. I loved this story. I was so saddd when it ended. It was just getting good

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Honestly, I’ve never been more confused about a CoG game before. I loved the characters, the setting, the development but… the climax arrived… well… prematurely. On the second thought, was there a climax? Couldn’t really say. The story is engaging but it ends too soon. I wish there was more because I liked it a lot. As I reached chapter 7, maybe 8, a sudden realisation washed over me. I was near the end of the game, I could feel it and I hated it. And I wasn’t wrong. I hate to say the next sentence because it’s a cliche but… the game felt rushed by the end.

On the side note, the ‘spiciness’ rating should not be 1 but at least 2. At least.

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