Emily is Away Too
Emily is Away Too is an interactive story set in an old instant messenger. Message both Emily and Evelyn as you determine the outcome of your senior year. Extend the story past the chat window with youtube links, facebook profiles and file transfers. And most importantly, change your text color to lime green so everyone knows you're the coolest kid in school.
-Chat with two seperate characters, Emily and Evelyn.
-A dialogue-based branching narrative with multiple endings.
-Transmedia storytelling through hyperlinks and file transfers.
-Over 100 nostalgia-inducing buddy icons to choose from.
-Awkward high school memories you were happy to forget!
~4 hours (replay for different endings... and nostalgia)
May 26, 2017
Developer: Kyle Seeley
Publisher: Kyle Seeley
Genre: Adventure, Simulation
The spiritual successor to online hit Emily is Away, Emily is Away Too is a game developed by the same guy and made popular by the same cult following. Touching nerves with most older millennials, the game has been a low-key hit on Steam and all over the internet. This is no doubt thanks to YouTubers. Markiplier and Jacksepticeye had over a million people watch their videos of playing the game. Their reviews are even the ones featured on the Steam store page. A simple game with both heart-warming and cringe-worthy aspects, Emily is Away too is a nostalgia machine definitely worth a look.
There are some references to witchcraft and “black magic” but these are a joke, and not for real.
There is hardly any violence referenced to or mentioned in this game
This game emulates the speech of teenagers, and if you’ve ever heard a conversation between two teenagers at a public school- you know what to expect. There’s the occasional taking of the Lord’s name in vain. The f-word is used every so often, including in some people’s bios, and some milder curse words are used commonly (d***, etc.)
Sex is discussed and virginity is one of the key things that builds your bond to one girl or the other. It isn’t super common and there’s no graphic material, but the girls do talk about their relationship history a bit (or lack thereof). One of the girls has had a relationship where they just “messed around” and the other will struggle with whether or not to have sex with her boyfriend.
Underage drinking and drugs are discussed and referenced but never shown. You can choose whether your character drinks or not, but this can impact your relationship with the girls. Both girls do drink at some point during the game with “drunk texts” being joked about. During one conversation, one of the girls is drunk. Underage drinking is referenced casually and one of the girls discusses being open to experimenting with drugs in the future.
This game is no fun if you’re a jerk to everyone, so it really places a lot of value on being a good friend to people. Also, the girls are definitely not what they seem. People don’t always end up being what you would expect them to be, and that’s a good thing to remember.
Emily is Away Too takes you back to the days of AOL Messanger, the death of Myspace, and the very beginnings of YouTube. Mainly using a copycat of AOL Messanger, you can talk to two people: Evelyn and Emily. You use the keyboard to type in the responses you choose, and these choices of dialogue define where your relationship with each of these girls goes. That’s it. That’s the entire gameplay of the game, guys. BUT. There is so much charm and so much thought put into every little detail of this game that it is worth the experience itself.
This game will use your entire computer and is not limited to the AOL Messanger knock-off. You’ll use your internet browser to look at links to “Youtoob” music videos (all from the mid-2000’s of course) and “Facenook” stalk before that was officially a thing. You’ll read the other users’ bios, click links, and pretend we’re back in 2006. If you were a teenager during those years, you’ll get many inside jokes and understand the references that went over my head as a 16-year-old. That will only make it all the better.
However, as a teenager, there are some things here that I totally get. The game was created to evoke nostalgia on several levels, and one of them is definitely the feeling of being a teenager…again. It has a beautiful balance of “Oh my gosh! I remember that!” and “Some things never change.” Okay… I can kind of relate. A struggle for me in this game is just how teenager-y it is. As a Christian teenager, there are a lot of issues and struggles in this game that I try to avoid or don’t struggle with because of my faith. There is no faith in this game. What I would’ve said to these girls in real life as they faced problems isn’t available to me in this game. While that’s okay, it’s something that ruins the relatability a bit for me. However, I know friends who go through the same issues and internal questions that Evelyn and Emily do. You play as that shoulder to cry on and the person who’s always there, so if that’s not fun for you, you may not enjoy it.
You as the player wrestle with being a teenager without faith and without an iPhone. You’re still an age group with a million things to get figured out while trying desperately to be heard. If the language or topics or references in this game bother you, consider the age group this game is reflecting. Somehow we all have to make it through adolescence and we have to figure out all the things this game highlights. This is one version of what it is like to be a teenager and it really hasn’t changed all that much. The sorts of conversations had with Emily and Evelyn in EOL Messanger now just happen over iMessage and Snapchat.
In the story of the game, you can either pursue a relationship with Emily or Evelyn (or neither) over the course of your senior year. By about chapter 3, there comes a more intense time where your responses to Emily and Evelyn have to happen within a certain time limit or they will think you’re not listening. That’s probably the most intense part of this game. Believe me, I tried to see what would happen if you can make it through the whole game pursuing both girls but that part makes it pretty near impossible to do that. You can remain friends, and you don’t have to get in a relationship with either, but that choice is up to you.
There are five chapters you play through. The dialogue choices you made in the last chapter sometimes have some impact on how things go in the next chapter. A highlight of this is seeing how people’s bios change along with your relationship with them. A complaint I’d have is that most of your choices early on in the game don’t have consequences until (much) later chapters. The game ever-so-lovingly gives you the option to replay chapters without restarting the whole game. While this is nice, often times the mistakes I want to fix to get a different ending happened in the first chapter. Sooooo now I have to replay all the same conversations of chapters 2-4 because I made one slip in chapter one. Yeah. So replayability is a bit of an issue in an unexpected way, but it’s still an experience worth having.
Emily is Away Too is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to gameplay, but I think in part that was intended by Kyle Seeley. He wanted to create a game that evoked a sense of nostalgia about both the “good ol’ days” and the cringe factor of being a teenager. He even advertises the cringe factor of being a teenager again. It’s a simple game with a lot that can be said about it. It’s worth the play at least once because the experience is totally worth it.
+ Great for nostalgia
+ At times, absolutely hilarious
+ Likable characters and witty dialogue
+ Some of the mechanics are genuinely delightful
- Can feel sort of repetitive
- Not the best for replayability
- Often have to start over to try for new endings
- The topics and teenage drama may not appeal to all players