In my previous article, “Choice of Games Brings Choose Your Own Adventure Into the 21st Century,” I discussed the modern, text-based games being released by the company Choice of Games. Perhaps I wrote the article too soon, though, for I’ve just found what may be my favorite Choice of Games game.
Tally Ho by Kreg Segall is a whimsical story set in 1930’s England in which you are the personal servant of a young socialite, Rory Winterbottom. When Rory has to visit Aunt Primrose, you go along and find yourself in a whole mess of missing peacocks, famous cat burglars, star-crossed lovers, and secret societies! Your choices determine which of nine different endings you’ll unlock, and you can become everything from a Hollywood star to a manager of a political campaign.
As with many offerings from Choice of Games, Tally Ho is gender and queer inclusive. Your protagonist can be male, female or nonbinary (if you chose such, they will be referred to with they/them pronouns), and you can choose between male or female for the four different love interests. There’s even an ending with a polyamorous relationship!
Choice of Games rewards replays with a vast number of possible paths your character can take and many achievements I still haven’t been able to unlock. Just a few days ago, I was playing Tally Ho for the millionth time (okay, maybe more like the fiftieth), and I discovered it was possible to get Rory to cook a meal for their Aunt, resulting in a disastrous and inedible product. As is usual for Tally Ho, it shows that failure can be even funnier than success. And failure is never punished with character death in Tally Ho, making it fun to experiment and try wildly different things.
Tally Ho is also wonderfully written, a must for a game based solely off of text. The characters are quirky and charming, and good-willed humor pervades the entire game. Can you get Aunt Primrose’s peacocks to win the Exotic Animal competition at the village fair? Will you help the star-crossed lovers, Mospie and Figs, or stand in their way? Can you infiltrate the lair of the mysterious Dr. X? Will you attempt to join a secret society of elite servants? Choices abound, and whatever path you choose, the results are sure to delight.
I found myself utterly obsessed with Tally Ho for several weeks, trying to get different endings on offer (getting those darn peacocks to like me was quite the challenge). While I don’t want to downplay the effects of Tally Ho’s wonderful writing, I think the game’s greatest strength is its warmth. It’s rare to find a story that’s this inviting and full of good feeling. In fact, it may be the perfect antidote to end of semester stress, as long as it doesn’t cause you to forget finals altogether!
The first two chapters of Tally Ho are available for free on the Choice of Games website.
Image via Choice of Games