There's something extremely satisfying about visual novel video games. Making choices that first appear small lead to massive consequences, with branching narratives and countless unique pathways offering up a lot of exciting content for players. That's exactly the sort of experience you'll have with developer Brezg Studio's and publisher 101XP's latest title, For The People.
The game will see players take up the role of a new state official, as the head of a small but important industrial centre that needs strong management and leadership. From the outset, decisions will need to be made that benefit certain factions within the city, whether they be within the government you now serve, or members of the public who may seem powerless, but could rise up and see you overthrown within just days.
With a potential economic disaster and social crisis on the cards, moments that may seem fleeting and throwaway actually become some of the game's most important. You'll find yourself second guessing your every move, all whilst forming relationships and bonds with an eclectic bunch of characters, from the sweet and noble, to the nefarious and manipulative.
Those who have played political management sims in the past will find some familiarity here, but this is much more a narrative-driven game than that they'll have seen before. You'll be given an extremely limited budget, but those who feel their respective departments and services deserve the cash can be unforgiving if you don't push your money in their direction.
As you make friends - and enemies - the target on your back becomes bigger, but those wanting to protect your agenda will also step up to the plate.
One of the most satisfying elements of gameplay comes in your investigations into illegal activity within the city. You'll have a handful of different secret agents at your disposal, and understanding their strengths and weaknesses is key to ensuring success.
You'll also want to make sure that you keep production of your key materials under way whenever possible. Keep a close eye on pandemics and problems that crop up throughout the city and deal with them appropriately, or an uprising will hit you quicker than you could ever imagine.
With more than five different endings, For The People has plenty of replayability to offer up. If you're someone who enjoys a good story and can plough a good few hours into a game each night without being distracted, then you're onto a winner here.
For The People is available now for PC, Mac and Linux. A key was given to Female First in exchange for a fair and honest review.