Ever wonder what life would be like if you had made a different choice in a particular situation before? Life Flashes By is a graphic adventure novel/game created by Deirdra Kiai provides a glimpse of what could’ve been in the life of Charlotte Barclay. This is a first for the developer and she describes it as a game that tackles “success and failure in following one’s dreams, about finding love and losing it, and about feeling isolated and out of step with the rest of the world.”
The game takes you on a journey through the life of the middle aged protagonist as she takes another look at her life decisions. Even though the game features an odd premise and unlikely hero, it is quite interesting to play.
The middle age woman going through a sudden revelation in her life is Charlotte Barclay. The game starts off with the character waking up in the middle of a forest after a car accident. She is accompanied by Trevin, a winged fairy dude in purple. He acts as a “guide” of sorts as Charlotte reviews her life.
In the game, you go through seven phases of Charlotte’s life, each one showcasing a significant point in the characters life where she has made a crucial decision over the other. Every time you finish each scene and the protagonist makes her decision on which path to lead, an alternate scene unlocks showcasing what could have happened if she had chosen the other path. This whole process happens for all “levels.”
Life Flashes By plays like interactive fiction. You have to choose how Charlotte will respond in any particular situation. Thus, shaping her life. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you will alter her fatal crash; it simply means that you get a chance to see what could have been.
There are a couple of things to commend though including the dialog, the storyline and the way the characters are built up. However, I wouldn’t recommend the game for people looking for an “exciting” game experience, since one reads more like a narrative or a peek, if you will, into the eyes of a middle aged sarcastic and prickly writer who’s life is flashing right in front of her.