“Bi Lines” is a medium-length, choice-based game about a bisexual journalist who has the ability to talk with ghosts. After a disturbing encounter with one ghost, he has to come to terms with his shame about the encounter and his sexuality.
Gameplay: There’s not much actual gameplay in the work; there’s little state or branching in the game, and the choices seem irrelevant. The strangest thing about the game is that it buries the lede in glossing over the protagonist’s supernatural ability. It’s there as a plot device, preventing him from finding anyone to believe his story and setting up a conversation at the end of the work, but it otherwise takes the backseat to the internal monologue of the protagonist. It’s odd to juxtapose a realistic character study and serious treatment of sexuality with a profound magical ability, especially when the latter is ultimately unexplored. The climax of the game involves the protagonist confronting his mother’s ghost and addressing her bigotry, but it does little to resolve anything about the journalist’s special ability. Has he used his powers for good? For evil? For monetary gain? For espionage? What do ghosts want, and why are they still around? Why not talk to Einstein, Shakespeare, or less bigoted dead relatives instead of random ghosts at a party? This work would be better suited to a single chapter in a larger story about its main character, rather than something self-contained. 3/10.
Mechanics: There’s little to do here; few of the choices seem to matter, and most just advance the story to the next page of static text. Although a later version was subsequently released, the original version of the game contained several broken links and was unplayable. 2/10.
Presentation: None of the characters in the game have much personality; the protagonist in particular has little characterization beyond his job, special ability, and sexuality. The dead mother has more personality, but she was a one-note character. There are some typos in the text (“seen him in the hoarde” and “More misrable than yesterday,” for example), and it was a bit difficult to read because of the background and font used. 3/10.
You might be interested in this game if: You identify with the protagonist’s struggle for acceptance.