I really enjoyed this game! Easily my favorite in the hearts choice repertoire. I have to say I felt as shocked as the MC did at the end reveal! As someone already mentioned, the characters were so well written that I actually cared about their plights in a way I normally don’t except for the romance option. Speaking of, Sybil’s path was really fun and you really do feel like you get to have this secret romance amongst your friends that is just between the MC and Sybil. The conclusion of her romance left me feeling satisfied in a “happily ever after” kind of way. More than worth the money, I wish I could read it for the first time again! Very well done!
So sorry to hear – something must have glitched in my coding. Especially sad since the reader below you had the same problem, and I really want you to get your HEAs!
Hopefully we can look into this and fix.
I very much enjoyed this one! Really fun setting, and I loved the characters; there’s a really great sense of each individual character and also their relationships to each other throughout. Not to mention the very sweet romances! Also appreciated that the skill checks were pretty forgiving!
Weirdly, as someone who generally does not like poly options, I found myself rather disappointed there wasn’t a MC/Errol/Norry route! I mean, dressing up as Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Byron together—such a tease!
Same here! I think my relationship was in the high 80s rather than the low 90s, but I spent a lot of time with Sybill, she was my date to the fancy dress party, I spent the night with her, and then at the end I got Wan Solo. Bewildering.
Hi all! Thanks for catching that achievement bug! I’ve just done a patch that (I hope!) will take care of it. We’re working on pushing it out now.
I maybe shouldn’t tell you this, but that was my first instinct too. I can see it and honestly, it would be my canon-run had I written it that way. Errol and Norry as your polycule? Honestly yes please.
I feel most vexed that I didn’t catch the subtle hint about the identity of the author.
Massive spoilers, don't read if you haven't beaten the game yet
Scandal Notes. Scandal. Notes. Written by Sidney Norcross. I’m so mad. I didn’t catch on to that until the last chapter. And I read whodunnits!
Apart from that, some minor critiques:
The way Errol is written seems pretty heavy-handed towards him being the culprit, just for it to turn out that he’s not. In all honesty, I feel like any one of the King’s Road Crew could have had that same light of suspicion cast upon them, including and especially us, but it seems like the lion’s share was thrown on Errol and everybody else was just kinda… there. Sybil, Ruby and Alma all got nailed by Scandal Notes drama, sure, so it makes sense to rule them out as possibilities because they all got thoroughly wrecked by the article, but that still left well over half the group, including the player, who could have been suspects, if for no other reason than because their respective articles were small, lukewarm things that were annoying but otherwise easy enough to brush off, and instead it was all just sorta heaped unfairly on Errol. I was thinking to myself the whole time how each character had their own suspicious habits that could have easily drawn an accusation - Alma hiding out at the Dragon’s Den, being drugged up and maybe writing up a storm under the influence; Ruby thinking everybody’s issues were so minor and meaningless even as they were actively tearing her friends apart, would fit the bill for a vicious author out to tear down the KRC; Sybil’s lust for attention and praise, and her crippling gambling debts, might be incentive for her to burn her friends at the stake for promise of greater fame and greater coin; Colin’s frustrations about his love life might drive him to lash out unfairly at his friends; Israel, in turn, might be so in love with Colin that he might see our group as miscreants endangering his love life and choose to strike out before we can do any lasting damage to his lover; we, the player character, are “writing a book” by our repeated claims, which is true, but that’s all we tell anybody about it throughout the whole story until it publishes, and how we choose to behave in the meantime could spur suspicions of us on - and it simply never happened. That, I feel, is the plot not being quite as fleshed out as it could have been, but I understand that with only ten chapters to work with, you have to make sacrifices, so I don’t begrudge it too badly.
I always hold fast to the rule that fancier words don’t automatically make a more compelling narrative. That sort of happened here, with me having to stop and parse out the meaning of certain words and sentences because I didn’t immediately catch what was being said, or because it’s a word that I had never heard before in my life (“frippery,” in particular, I thought I was being trolled until I looked that one up). It’s understandable to try and write like it’s a piece of the times, and I encourage that, if an author is capable of pulling it off. But even then, like how too much glitz and glam can overwhelm rather than impress, sometimes smaller, simpler words carry much more of the weight when it comes to setting scenes and building emotion. The narrative was still fine, I would just tweak it a little bit in the future, that’s all.
This one’s gonna be a big ol’ spoiler blob, sorry. Like how it seemed Errol held too much spotlight, the villain of the story ironically didn’t have enough. Depsite being one of three romance options, and the main villain, if you don’t make a point of romancing Norry, you just… don’t learn hardly anything about him. He’s rich. He’s titled. His family has a country estate. He hosts dinner parties. He insists on treating his friends. Errol shares his flat during the Season. That’s it, that’s all we get about him. When it comes out at the very end that he’s the one dunking on everybody with Scandal Notes, it’s so hard out of left field that I, like the rest of the KRC, am left dumbstruck and confused, and not really in the way of, “damn! This guy got me good!”, but more like, “Wait, when did this happen? This guy seemed so straight and narrow up to now, how was I supposed to guess this?” On the one hand, it’s demonstrative of how cool he was able to keep himself up to the very end, that even the narrative didn’t give any hint as to his duplicity, but on the other hand, it makes my character’s detective work feel cheap and superfluous, because at no point in time did it feel like I was latching on to Norry as a suspect. I would’ve written him off wholesale if I hadn’t suddenly picked up on the clue in the initials of both his name and the name of Scandal Notes, and that was a lucky break where my brain decided to turn on and hone in on an otherwise meaningless detail. That’s just how I work, it’s unreasonable to expect everybody to be able to catch that. While him flying under the radar so smoothly would be great in a crime drama where the audience isn’t expected to actually solve the crime, one of the big plot points in this story is finding and stopping the culprit, so having zero clues, apart from the name “Rawlings” which doesn’t show up until the penultimate chapters and a tiny detail that I wouldn’t fault most people for overlooking, to track Norry with until the very, very end of the story is actually counterintuitive to the objective of solving the case. I suppose it could be argued that this is proof of how little the group seems to care about him, as is his stated reason for acting as he did, but on the other hand, even if you shower him with attention, he gives you nothing to work with.
Apart from that, I enjoyed this story. The Heart’s Choice docket is ironically becoming my favorite category to peruse for new games, lately, even though they’re all heavily or strictly romance-focused and I’ve been on record multiple times as not being terribly interested in romance. It’s also good to see that the second of precisely two stories set in this time period went over better, because I still feel bad for how lukewarm Jazz Age turned out to be.
I think this is part of the point. He’s rich and titled and friendly and generous. He pays for everything for everybody and never expects anything in return. And yet, aside from the parties and the group activities where he’s paying for everything, he’s always in the background. If you don’t specifically try to spend time with him you never really know anything about him because nobody else is doing anything with him, with the possible exception of Errol a time or two. Even the picture Ruby paints of him is basically just “Generic Lordling”, without any of the personality and depth that went into the other paintings. This invisibility when he’s not paying for things is basically his entire motivation.
Fully agree with this, because I think the shock and surprise of it being him is the whole point of “why” it’s him. I genuinely felt bad because throughout the story the MC even makes comments about how nobody ever tries to pay or everyone just accepts that Norry will provide. Which he can, but I think the point is that he wasn’t necessarily against spending his money on his friends but that it became emotionally draining when he realized it was expected of him rather than appreciated.
Only a little way into it, and already loving it. The writing is evocative, witty and smart; the characters are all distinct personalities from early on; and I love the historical references.
A question just so I don’t mess up: Is Chapter 3 the lock-in for the romance option? Or are there further opportunities to pursue a romance later on?
Chapter 3 locks you in, but doesn’t lock you out — you can discontinue the romance if you’re not into it and there are opportunities to take up another along the way.
I recommend that if you’re interested in following the Errol or Sybil threads, make your affection known early and that will take you on a smooth line to HEA.
That is, if you don’t dump them!
The game complimented me during character creation, I’m sold
Hey, all. Just completed my review for Scandal Notes. Thanks for reading!
This was a lovely read! Errol and Sybil were great ROs in their own ways, although I will say Errol is my favorite of the two.
The plot was enjoyable and loved reading all the outfit descriptions and being able o play as a young socialite.
Thank you so much! I’m still not used actual authors of the amazing stories I’m reading responding to small questions like this.
Congratulations on getting this published, and for doing such an amazing job of it.
I romanced Norry on my first playthrough and it was very easy to guess that he was Scandal Notes, simply because of how differently he’s treated by the game compared to Errol & Sybil. Most of the time the choices were “spend time with Errol”, “spend time with Sybil”, and “be alone”…rarely did we get a Norry option, so it was clear that he wasn’t a “true” love interest the way the other two were. I’m not sure how that could have been rectified since I do understand that he’s supposed to feel sidelined. I really enjoyed the game though, it was lovely! And yes, I did forgive Norry. I’m sure Errol’s and Sybil’s paths will be fun too
I forgive him too. I can’t help it!
I just finished the game and also got the Wan Solo ending, despite going after Errol the whole way and ending with 90+ affection. So disappointing - is there a variable I can flip in the save state file to get the “correct” ending?
Edit: Poked around and found it myself. Errol ending achieved! Though he’s making a lot of assumptions about what my MC will do without a proposal…
Now let me have a super spicy mini story on mc and errol’s trip.
Now this was a game that would be full of interesting content up my alley! No Nightmare Investigators, no doppelgänger, but there’s still something to investigate, without this plot point being overpowering. Our team is a nice little squad of contrasting, yet harmonious, personalities. The main shortcoming is that the Norry arc needs to have more scenes. Other than that, this made for a nice, emotionally charged read. The 1920s, if done well, make for a good setting, as there was a cultural explosion in the interwar era.