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Relationship-managing story game We Should Talk. is out now

The bad three words

In narrative game We Should Talk., both your drinks and your relationship might be on the rocks, but that's up to you. You'll piece together conversations with your pals at the bar and your partner at home, trying to pick the tone you're looking for. It's a neat conversational puzzle that will probably stress me out just as much in-game as it would in life.

We Should Talk.—yes, properly styled with the intimidating full-stop—looks like my kind of puzzle. You scroll through separate pieces of a sentence for each dialogue choice, constructing an answer that fits the tone you want to take with the person you're talking to, whether it's your ex at the bar or your partner at home. Conversations will go differently depending on whether you choose to be accommodating or flirty or something else.

At the end of the night, you'll get one of nine different outcomes, Insatiable Cycle say, but they aren't decided by following a choose-your-own-adventure style branching tree of narrative states. Instead, "the endings are based on the tone your responses express throughout the game," they say.

Dialogue choices in games have a tendency to stump me. I'm still holding onto memories of Dragon Age 2 in which my protagonist Hawke oftentimes blurted out things I didn't quite expect based on the written prompt. Heck, the same went for Fallout 4. Most recently, I've been making a total mess of conversations with my employees in Yakuza 0's cabaret club.

This system of separate parts though, it makes sense to me! I might totally miss the mark on a paraphrased dialogue prompt, but shifting between parts of a sentence that each get across something different seems quite neat. I mean, I'm still going to be stressed about trying not to upset my partner—who doesn't seem pleased that I'm hanging out at the bar once again—but I'll give it a go.

We Should Talk. is out now on Steam for £5.19/€5.69/$6.99.

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