Fangs and fatal attractions
What’s better than two sexy men vying for your attention? How about two sexy men vying for your attention who just happen to be vampires? If I’ve captivated your interest, which I know I have, then you’ll be sure to enjoy Strange Loves: Vampire Boyfriends from Tin Man Games.
Vampire Boyfriends is the first in a series of steamy supernatural romance gamebooks. Each one focuses on different popular paranormal archetypes. For those who haven’t experienced the glory that are gamebooks, think of the choose your own adventure books but only in a more modern, digital format with some added features. This particular gamebook, written by Miellyn Fitzwater Barrows, has heavy emphasis on interactive story rather than featuring a fighting aspect like most of the other published titles by Tin Man Games.
Entering your name sets you up as the heroine in this enchanting tale of handsome vampire men. This simple aspect is actually very welcome because it adds to your sense of involvement. That and it’s just hilarious to see your name being whispered amongst sweet nothings. Next you will go through a series of choices. You attend Mountain State College of Northern Carolina; do you major in mixed martial arts, theater, or become a dropout? What will you do when your friends come over and want to have a ladies night on the town? And most importantly, who (if anyone) will you choose to make your main squeeze?
These and other choices are presented to you throughout the book and no matter what story you weave, it’s enjoyable. The writing is great. It’s funny, endearing, adventurous, and sensual. The game is self-aware of all the terrible vampire clichés out there and uses it to its advantage, creating humorous scenarios that play off pop culture. I love that it doesn’t take itself seriously and I could tell the writer was having just as much fun writing it as I was reading it.
The choices in Vampire Boyfriends are plentiful with over 40 different endings. Besides falling in love with one of the two hotties on the cover, you may instead become a crazy cat lady, a famous movie star, or experience one of many lonely deaths. My one gripe with the game is that the story threads in which you side with the noble Lukas were fleshed out more than those with the nefarious Royce. It could be that the Lukas paths are meant to be canon, however it left my inner villain wanting.
Not only do you get to experience an entertaining story, there are other features that really add to the gamebook. You can check out the college grounds by pulling up the detailed map which includes cute little scribbles. And, if you can’t decide on which path to take, just simply put a bookmark in and come back later. It’s also important to use the bookmarks if you don’t want to go back to the beginning after a death or if you just want to backtrack to see where different choices take you.
The game also keeps track of all your unlocked achievements which can be viewed from the main menu. Also found in the same area as the achievements are your discovered illustrations, which are a lovely treat. The hand-drawn artwork found throughout the book are all black, white, and grey with the occasional accent of red. This color combination fits the theme of the book perfectly; I just wish there more more than 15 illustrations because I’m greedy.
It’s also worth noting that the cover of the book is animated and features a catchy opening theme track which, if there is full length version available, I’d totally buy. These additions to Vampire Boyfriends help bring the story to life and immerse you even further into the game.
Strange Loves: Vampire Boyfriends provided many laughs, literally, so if you are looking for a casual, interactive novel to keep you preoccupied on public transportation, or you just have a taste for a little supernatural romance, then the Strange Loves series is one to stay on top of. The sense of humor and style may not be realized by everyone, but for $2.99 through the iTunes App and Google Play Stores, this miniature gamebook is bursting with entertainment.
Written in collaboration with Melissa Kay
Tested on iOS and Android
Review copy supplied