Episode App Review
Episode In-App Purchases: Yes: $1.99-$4.99 for gem packs
Episode Category: Games - Simulation & Role Playing
Episode Age / Content Rating: Teen / 12+
Episode Compatibility: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch & iMessage
Episode App Support: https://pocketgems.com/episode/
Episode Developer Website: https://pocketgems.com/episode/
Episode App Game Review
We have come a long way since the “choose your own adventure” books. We now live in an age where even Netflix shows can change their stories based on what you want the characters to do in real-time. It is no wonder then that there are apps being designed to capitalize on this rising fad. Episode-Choose Your Story is just such an app. Aimed at teens 13 years old and up, Episode navigates the user through romance and dating stories in which specific choices must be made to advance in a variety of directions. Stories are either made by an editorial team or the users themselves.
How Does It Work?
The stories and gameplay are very straight forward. After you download the app and sign-up, you pick from a wide variety of stories that can be entirely user written and unique or themed after popular IPs like the Walking Dead. After that, the user customizes their protagonist and begins the story. Each narrative goes through multiple chapters as the user makes choices to push the narrative forward.
The stories feature colorful animations that move around, walk, and even speak along with the dialogue. Episode is incredibly easy to get the hang of. It does not go much further then clicking on the option you would prefer, like picking between “go to the beach” or “go to the woods.” There are a wide variety of genres that cover everything from familiar IPs, fantasy, adventure, and comedy. With user-made narratives the possibilities are endless.
It’s just a nicely made “choose your own adventure” app. It is easy to use, intuitive and a fun way for a kid to pass the time if their interested in a game geared towards dating and romance. Since its mostly young teens who play, this is will definitely find an active audience.
The animations are vivid, colorful and active in a slightly more impressive way then you would normally expect from an app like this.
The best part, however, is that users can create their own stories. This forms a creative community and lets people use the Episode’s tools to express themselves as well as keep the selections fresh and interesting. Users learn how to write stories, dialogue and even basic coding to make their own interactive tales. Allowing young users to take the helm is a great way to foster expression and grow a dedicated fan base.
For a game aimed at teens 13 years old and up, it is extremely guilty of nickel and diming vulnerable users. When you start the app, you are given tickets to advance the story further and further. However, you are only allowed a certain amount of free tickets per three-hour period. This will obviously become a serious temptation for anyone dealing with cliffhangers or just plain boredom. Moreover, to advance the narrative in specific ways, you will have to purchase “gems.” This kind of freemium gaming can get dangerous, especially when aimed at kids. The spending can easily get out of control.
While an interactive story-telling app is a wonderful idea regardless of its focus on dating and romance, Episode has come under a lot of criticism for its content. For one, the app tells its stories and designs its choices on fairly shallow grounds. Materialism, under-age drinking, vanity, and frequent sexual innuendo are commonplace. It is certainly not an app that is going to teach a young teen good values when it comes to dating.
Furthermore, the app is filled with stereotypes like ditsy girls, nerdy Asians, and the like. This is not helped when the creative community continues to reflect this in their own designs in a negative feedback loop. For an app geared towards kids, it can and should do better.
While an interactive story-telling app is a wonderful idea and a great way to engage users, it can be done better. Episode is slickly designed and easy to use but the actual stories rarely rise above the most shallow and trashy of romance novels. It frequently pushes stereotypes and bad values when it comes to dating and love. This is made exponentially worse when the audience is made up of young teens.
Additionally, the freemium features aimed at kids can get tricky. Three-hour waiting periods after free use and making kids purchase items to make their ideal choice is a recipe for high bills and addictive gaming.
The ability to create stories in the app is the best part of the whole deal. Kids can learn the basics of both storytelling and game creation. Episode definitely deserves credit for fostering creativity and learning in this respect. Beyond this, Episode does not offer much substance and, if anything, can negatively influence the way a kid views romance. All in all, there are simply better places to find “choose your own adventure” narratives as well as decent game and story design.
Here is a quick clip of the Episode app uploaded to YouTube by Episode: