R is for Rachel, who we only wish we could’ve liked as much as Joan did.
This game is about a girl who’s socially awkward and finds herself getting made fun of in school for a variety of things, including being caught kissing another girl who she immensely likes. It’s not a happy game, though it does have its soft moments. There aren’t a whole lot of people you’re going to like. But it does give you a look into the life of something that doesn’t have much good in her life.
You have several instances where you can write something in a text box, but for the most part, you’re supposed to write a specific word or phrase to continue the story, and I don’t like having to figure out what that exact phrase was sometimes.
Characters aren’t really believable
You’ve got the mom who’s hateful, the dad who’s basically never around, Rachel who’s a friend-turned-lover, Michael who obviously has a thing for Joan, mean students, and…there’s just not enough character building to anyone.
He says, she says
You can tell that the person who wrote the entirety of the game doesn’t write for a living. There’s a lot of full stops before “he says” and the like, but also misspelled words sprinkled throughout the game. Not only that, but I got so tired of reading who said what or who asked what at the end of every freaking line. Like, I know who asked that or who said that without having to be told a bajillion times over and over.
From the moment you start the game and on through playing it, you’re placed into little scenarios of where you are–such as at your lockers at school, at the grocery store, in the living room of your home, and it’s all so short. You’re in one place moment, and then you skip ahead to another place where you’re at, and then it skips ahead again.
Having played a lot of visual novels, maybe I’m used to smoother transitions from one place to another, or the fact that these areas have a bit more to them, but these locations are basically there and gone.
I don’t know if the game is trying to show how erratic Rachel is by doing this, or there just wasn’t much writing being placed into it.
Explanation to Positive Feedback
They are kind of geometrically cut pieces of color arranged in a way that they form a grand picture. The graphics remind me heavily of the game Orwell and I’ve always enjoyed the artistic style of it.
Links Worth Checking Out
R is for Rachel Review
Warning: Spoilers below!
Going into this game, I knew it would be text-based, but I didn’t realize you’d have the chance to type in your answers on what you want to do in a given situation.
My thing is…games with text-based answers where you can write what you want and get a response from the game means there should be several outcomes to a wide array of answers you place into the text box. This game does not give you that right now. Maybe it will later, maybe not. So when we’re given the option to create our own outcome to move the story forward, we may want to do something, but the game won’t allow it until you type the answer it wants.
For me, given the numerous amount of times it’s done it so far, makes me think the R is for Rachel is trying to show you that Joan is so anxious about her given situations and how she responds to them that there’s really only one way she would respond to them.
And so while we might want to go one way, being anxious means she wouldn’t and we have to type what she would do.
I feel like that’s a little unfair in games like this and would rather have been given multiple choice answers, that way we aren’t given the sense that we can ultimately change an outcome to how we’d want to change it.
While all the phrases you can type out give you insight on how anxious and stressed out Joan is around people, every other character falls flat.
Like, sure, we get the overall impression of what they’re like, but because the game is so damn short, there’s really no connection we can make with any of them. Instead, it’s more like a brief visual conception of who they are and what they’ve done that gives us a reaction on whether we like them or dislike them.
Turns out there’s very little people who are likeable.
The first person you meet in R is for Rachel is, of course, Rachel, who happens to be some random chick on a surfboard that we take pictures of while we’re out on the beach. She turns out to be a love interest for us, though it’s a little weird to me that it was a “love at first sight” moment that you find more often in some kind of reverse harem romance book than reality. And it’s not like she did anything to make us fall in love, except want to hang out with us.
Like some other people wanted to do, but we never gave them much acknowledgment in the matter.
Anna is Joan’s mother, who’s a bit condescending to Joan when it comes to her never wanting to go out and meet new people and be social. She also doesn’t like the fact that Joan was caught on camera kissing another girl, because what would people think of them as a family if they knew her daughter was a lesbian? Nobody in the house seems to like her, not even her husband, and she’s very suspicious of her husband having an affair.
Spoilers: she was right.
Only, it wasn’t with their neighbor–it was Rachel! GASP!
So James, the husband, doesn’t seem to be at work when Anna calls him, and just doesn’t seem to be around at all. Not only that, but he is having an affair with his wife that he’s only with because they have a daughter together, which is a little weird to me given how old Joan is, I’d think a divorce would be fine at this point.
Then again, it could make Joan’s emotional instability even worse, not that they’ve thought that far ahead.
While most of the kids at school treat her like crap, there is one guy that seems to actually like and take an interest in Joan and that’s Michael. He was a bit forward at the start though with leaning in for a kiss after he got to her house to help her study. After that he seemed a bit worried about her moods and what everyone was saying about her. He even mentioned that Rachel was known for hitting on guys.
After Joan found proof her dad was kissing Rachel after Rachel said that she loved her, everything kind of escalated and she ran from class one day, only for her mom to say she’d come back and she’s just seventeen for crying out loud and she’s always like this.
Turns out mom finds her in the overflowing bathtub.
While at the hospital, Michael came in to visit her, told her everything would be all right, and she promptly died.
I don’t know if she heard Michael’s voice and was so upset it wasn’t Rachel that she died, or if somehow he actually killed her.
And now it’s just like…was Michael genuinely wanting to be her friend, and hoping everything would be okay for her? How did he even get into her room at the hospital? Why did she die right then and there? The ending was just…weird.