The press, especially here in the UK, are seen as evil and toxic. Journalists will literally try anything to hit the headlines. Headliner: Novinews appealed to me as it’s always pleasing to play an indie title which is unique in all ways. It’s a game where you make the ultimate decision on approving or declining news articles that will eventually be published in Novistan’s local rag.
Developed by Unbound Creations, the game sets you off by creating your personal avatar. After a bit of narrative, you’ll find yourself at your office desk on your first shift of your job as a news editor. When you arrive at your desk, you’ll sift through various news articles provided by the rest of the news team; it is then your decision whether to accept or reject each article for publication. You are presented with several stories from a wide range of topics such as politics, healthcare, immigration and suchlike. You then have to stamp whether you authorise or decline each of these articles and at this first stage of the game, I was left wondering what was going on really as nothing was really making sense to me. What I will say though, it does ultimately make some difference on proceedings in what happens day by day throughout the games timeline dependant on what you choose.
Once the day in your office is completed, you then vacate the building and walk through the streets of the fictional world that had been created. What you will notice here is that as you make the walk back to your home, the stories you have published will have some real influence on the general public. What you will see here is protests and various crimes and even suicide, which brings a real dark side to this title. It’s not all doom and gloom though, as you will come across people and strike up friendships and even meet family members along the way. There’s some side stories here that really add some meat and potato into the game, which I won’t indulge in as its something you really want to come across yourself. Some of the choices you decide in these scenarios though, impact on how the game plays out, so choose wisely.
Which leads me on to say here that the game has some real replay value as not every encounter will have the same outcome. Meaning you can replay this game multiple times to experience situations you didn’t encounter the first time round. You do generate an income for your character on the game and you can choose to spend this on the interior of your home. For example, food for you or your pet amongst other items. You’ll quickly find that if you like a game with dialogue and story and something a little Broken Sword-esque without the puzzles, then you’re ticking the right boxes. The way the game lets you play in different ways lets you decide whether to be a realistic journalist stirring up the world with the headlines or trying to please the world, which doesn’t work in journalism.
Graphically, the game performs well and I really liked the artistic design and the use of colours. The only let down in this respect is the world was so small I think it could have improved because part of you wants to carry on the walk and explore. Sound wise, the music and effects really fit the game well.
I have to say I did enjoy my playthrough of Headliner: Novinews and I really enjoyed the fact that the decision making was down to me and whatever I chose impacted not only the outcome of the game, but the reaction of the people outside my window. There is some slight realism here in the fact that your decisions can force reaction from the government in good or bad ways. The replay value is really the big tick here as it is a relatively short experience at two weeks in the game world, so the fact that multiple outcomes are available here, really adds to what is an indie title worthy of picking up.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Headliner: NoviNews Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 10/10
Headliner: Novinews allows you to delve deep into the world as a lead journalist which will have you decision making, influencing the world and encountering situations where you can branch out into multiple outcomes. This ensures this indie title has great replay value
- Various Endings
- The Ability To Change Reactions
- Unique Indie Title
- Could Be Longer
- A Want For A More Immersive World