Best Day Ever is one of the most unique choose your own adventure style games that I’ve played in recent years. It mixes together a branching narrative and wraps it around a worker placement style board game. It plays like a mix of both with some of the best cause and effect style story branches I’ve seen in gaming for a while.
You play as one of four characters all living in Waters City. They are each struggling with daily life and the daily grind. Emma is overworked in a sexist old school corporation. Jordan wants to come out to his basketball team as gay. Paul wants to run for mayor of the city. Jenny wants to pass her Uni exams and stay sane. They all have vastly different stories and goals but you’ll soon see they are all interconnected.
Each story introduces you to an area of the city with several buildings to visit. You’ll have a deadline to reach the climax of your story and a goal you want to reach. Each character will have energy and cash as depleting resources to use in these buildings and two skills to gain and spend points in. Paul for instance is confidence and people power to win the vote. Emma is morale and persuasion for her work assignment. They all work the same way but do different things in each story.
The game cycle involves you visiting a building in the morning, lunch, afternoon, evening and night times during a day and choosing a task to complete. These will be based on your story objectives. It might be studying at Uni versus hanging out with friends. It’s often difficult to fulfil every objective and so decisions you make or miss as a result of your choices impact the story. They also impact your character on their ability to alter future decisions too. As this is all skill point dependant, its why I liken it to a Euro worker placement board game. You place the character in the right place, gain the skill points, move them and complete the action.
Where Best Day Ever excels is in the story crafting and the choices available. The cast of supporting characters is vast and varied and this is where you’ll see everyone is connected in Water City. Jordan’s boyfriend is Emma’s co-worker. Choose to annoy him as Jordan and he’ll not be available in Emma’s story to calm her down as much. Jenny’s computer whizz friend can entertain her but at the risk of not doing a good job working on Paul’s campaign trail. These are the more obvious examples but they run much deeper. A giant decision tree of cause, effect and crossover showcases this beautifully.
Getting to the end of a story means that their choices are then set in place for tackling other characters. It’s a jigsaw puzzle to work out how to get everyone to have their Best Day Ever all at once and often it feels like it can’t be done. Trial, error and event tracking will help you on your way. This is a game designed to be replayed over and over again to course correct and get things right or have fun either ruining the characters lives or seeing where their choices thawt other stories.
Whilst largely great fun some stories are slightly more fleshed out than others, with Jenny’s feeling slightly thinner than the rest. I also ran into a few instances of the games menus being in French and calling people on their mobile was under utilised. These were minor issues though as the overall engrossing story and replayability of Best Day Ever win out.
Best Day Ever is a fun and engaging game full of choices and opportunity. You may run out of steam getting seeing all the twists and turns but with a good 2-3 hours of gameplay per character per playthrough, you’ve got a lot to get stuck into. A genuinely great surprise.
Review copy provided by the developer.
Best Day Ever
A genuinely unique and strangely engrossing narrative game with Euro boardgame evidence.
Well written, intricate stories and characters.
Loads of consequences and effects.
Feels like a choose your own adventure board game.
Some of the stories require you to be a mean, devious cunning person. Being bad can be good.
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