Review: Vampire Boyfriends / Author: Miellyn Fitzwater Barrows / Publisher: Tin Man Games / Format: iOS / Price: £1.99 / Release Date: Out Now (via iTunes)
Adventure game books, though very popular in the eighties, never went away, and much like the rest of the publishing industry, have adapted with the times. One good example is Tin Man Games, who produce adventures games books that fit on your phone. Like most publishers, they’re interested in selling those books that the public wants, and so they’ve created Vampire Boyfriends, aimed squarely at the Twilight fandom.
Or so it may seem. Actually, this is a rather subversive little phone app. The basic story is one of a college student who gets immersed in the world of midnight monsters; so far so good, but because this is a choose-your-own adventure novel, you don’t have to be a simpering, passive object like many of the protagonists in supernatural romance. If you wish, you can study mixed martial arts and be an all together different sort of heroine. No matter which you choose, it’s still a better story than Twilight.
Barrows has filled this novel with many references to the world of urban horror and it’s consciously geeky in places. There’s nothing exactly new here, but it avoids being pastiche of the genre through an ‘all you can eat’ approach; every single ‘Girl meets Vampire’ scenario that we’re familiar with through the media is explored here, and the writing style is easy flowing and fun. Though its clearly aimed at younger women, this grumpy thirty-something male found it witty, clever and fun.
The software that runs Vampire Boyfriends is pretty clever as well; for the most part it works like a regular book, with special features that allow you to ‘bookmark’ pages, the same way you would with a normal game book. It also has an ‘achievements’ function, which lets you know when you’ve found all the possible endings for the game. Overall, this is a great game and a fun book. Recommended for those looking for a bit of Halloween fun.