“The Mysterious Stories of Caroline” is a choice-based drama in which the protagonist decides what to do in response to his foster parent’s arrest.

Gameplay: It’s an unpleasant game to play, and that’s entirely intentional and appropriate; it’s a heavy game about a serious and unpleasant subject. Although the player does get to make some choices about its ending, the game is mostly about showing the mental state of the narrator. 5/10.

Mechanics: There are some choices that matter, but most of the text is simply a narrative to read through (or otherwise progress through, in the multimedia sections). The game also points out some notes about the character’s ethics or morality at its conclusion, though I found the points at which those could change to be either obvious or arbitrary. 5/10.

Presentation: The game’s dark, ponderous tone matches its content. The artwork in the game is well made and complements the text, though the soundtrack and audio effects are more distracting than evocative. The text itself is largely solid, though the narrator or author’s censoring profanity is oddly inconsistent. Unfortunately, the game has frequent sections of delayed text, which disrupts the mood it’s trying to create and frustrates the player. 4/10.

You might be interested in this game if: You want a serious, dramatic story with some multimedia elements.

Score: 5

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