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Game Info:

It's You: A Breakup Story
Developed By: Brwarner Studios
Published By: Brawrner Studios
Released: August 1, 2018
Available On: macOS, Windows, Linux
Genre: Visual Novel, Simulation
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: 1 player
Price: $4.99

Thank you Brwarner Studios for the review code.

Life is ever-changing, with the huge leaps in technology. It has become easier to communicate with each other than it was hundreds of years prior, but with daily tasks becoming easier, relationships seem to be harder to maintain.

It’s You: A Breakup Story is what the title states: A narrative-driven game where the player takes the point of view of Carlee. Carlee is a nurse at a hospital who comes home after a long and exhausting shift. Her boyfriend, Josh, typically calls her at midnight to discuss their day and to relieve some stress. Again, as the title states, this is a breakup story. There is only one ending to this event, and that is to break up, but as the player, you decide how Carlee breaks up with Josh. This relationship is already on thin ice and there is no saving it. It’s a rather nice statement on life in general. Even if there is no stopping what is coming, people can make the best of a terrible situation.

Only the screen of Carlee’s monitor lights up her room. What is displayed is typically what a person has on their desk: scattered pins, a calendar, a cup to drink from, a phone, a stapler, some notes, and her ID badge. The silence of the night takes over as she attempts to unwind after a day of hardship. Everything, except for what is displayed on the screen, looks like something that was drawn in a sketchbook. A nice, simple color pallet to complement the life of another human being. Soon after, Josh will make his call, and the two of you will start the conversation that will lead to the end.

It's You: A Breakup Story
Highlights:

Strong Points: The game gives the player a lot of choice in how the inevitable breakup happens; solid voice acting from the antagonist.
Weak Points: Grammatical errors throughout; ending sequence is disproportionately low in volume.
Moral Warnings: Strong uses of language; some blasphemy; the story is about a dysfunctional and emotionally abusive relationship. 

As you take part in this conversation, you will notice that displayed on the screen are five tabs. One tab is a Twitter knockoff called Tweeter. The second tab displays a surprisingly addicting tic-tac-toe game called Tractor Dad: Civil War. The third and fourth tab each respectively show a messaging app and a music app called WhatsDown and Toon-ify. The last tab is of Carlee’s email, and interestingly enough is the tab this game begins on. Each tab is a glance into Carlee’s life and gives us insight on who Carlee is, and quite possibly what she wants to be.

Choice is the definitive factor of this journey. Even though It’s You will always end the same (as in a breakup), you have the power to give Carlee a chance on how she will leave this relationship, and I applaud that concept. As Josh and Carlee make conversation, you can distract yourself with the various tabs on display. You can choose to be sympathetic to Josh, or even hostile. You can even “nod off” in mid conversation, or blatantly hang up on him. Sometimes I would even let the phone ring and just play Tractor Dad and listen to the playlist of classical, rock, electronic and bossa nova music. There can be a reason to break up with him or no reason at all. Of course, for the narrative, it is in your best interest to talk with Josh as long as possible. As the conversation deepens, you really start to see just how dysfunctional their relationship is and that it was never meant to last.

Josh’s voice actor, Jacob Burgess, does a solid job as our antagonist. He pours in all of these nuances into his performance that make Josh feel like an actual living person. Josh is a flawed individual, which you can clearly see within the first five minutes, but only until you look deeper do you truly see just how bad Josh really is. Burgess in his performance at times really made me feel and think multiple times that Josh is such a… jerk, to put it kindly. Carlee is not a perfect person either, but she is nowhere near what Josh is. Interestingly enough, Josh is not all to blame on how this relationship turned out the way it did. Of course he is the biggest contributor to this sinking ship, but I did step into the situation expecting Josh would be a lazy straw man to support a skewed point of view that the developers hold. I was plenty surprised that was not the case.

It's You: A Breakup Story
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 82%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 87%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 3/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7.5/10

+3: The story in this game delivers a good moral lesson

A narrative driven game is not going to have many mechanical issues, but I did notice quite a few grammatical issues. In their Resources option, the number 3 was listed twice as for pieces that influenced this game. There are also misspellings scattered throughout the work, such as “my” instead of “by” in certain parts. Some written dialogue doesn’t match the dialogue spoken either. Most importantly, the sound for the ending speeches is way lower than the general sound for the game, such as when Josh speaks or when music plays. I had to turn my speakers all the way up just to hear what the ending speeches were saying. Nothing detrimental to the work, and it will most likely be fixed in an upcoming patch, but it is still something that needed to be pointed out. 

As It’s You: A Breakup Story is based on multiple resources, both real and fictional, it will have morality issues that come with it. The characters in their discussion will use mild and strong language, such as F-bombs, some S’s, some not-so-river dams, and instances of blasphemy. The use of colorful language does make the troubling relationship feel more organic, at least in my viewpoint. The game and the developers also make it no secret that the relationship at hand is also an emotionally abusive one—which can be uncomfortable for some to experience. I did also notice one instance of sexually suggestive dialogue.

It’s You: A Breakup Story isn’t more so a game than it is an experience, and I'm glad I took part of it. I couldn't exactly review it like I could my reviews in the past because it cannot compare to any of them. It peers into why some relationships just don’t work out. It also looks into the ugliness of humanity and how some people will try to hurt and control others, just because they were hurt or controlled at some point themselves. Sometimes, people may think that there is no way out of a situation, or that a bad situation is a better choice than that feeling of crippling loneliness; but life is what you make it. No matter what, you have control of your own life and no one or no thing can say or tell you otherwise.

Even though It’s You is from the perspective of a female, I think men should also give the story a shot as well. Maybe it can give insight on what went wrong in a relationship and what can be taken from it to make the next one right. Situations like these aren’t just exclusive to women after all. The entire story is relatable, whether it can be applied to a relationship, a job, a friendship or anything else. I feel this game is important to experience, especially to people who feel that the main topic is an uncomfortable one to observe, as it can teach people that there is always a way out and to seize control of your life.

-Cinque Pierre