Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Grace's Diary

Author: Hima (with art/animation by Piti)
Availability: Free, Online/browser
Format:Visual Novel/Point and Click
Genre: Edutainment
Rating: Teen
My Score: 5 out of 5

Found at www.jenniferann.org

Grace's Diary is a bit different from the other games discussed on this blog. This time, you're not trying to hook up with somebody. Instead, you have a friend who is in an abusive relationship, and you have to persuade her to get out. You're about to call her, but in order to have worthwhile things to say, you first have to look around the room for objects that trigger relevant memories about her boyfriend.


This is the first game to get a perfect 5 on this site, and I'm not just being swayed by the fact that it's made to support a good cause.

The writing is natural and human. The actions, reactions, and dialog of Grace and the others ring true, which makes sense considering all the research that must have gone into the game's making. The end, which is to say, the good ending, is not clean and happy as it might be in an after-school special; your friend may find the strength to leave her boyfriend, but feelings do not vanish. More surprisingly, the boyfriend's apparently heartfelt pleading at the end keeps him from being a flat out-and-out villain. He may be an abuser, but he's still a human being. The end result of all this is that you come away with much to think about.

The visuals are intriguing. The entire game is made to look like it's taking place in the pages of a notebook; speaking characters appear on opposite pages, etc. It also gives everything a sketchy, "drawn" look, in keeping with the theme. The overall effect is quite beautiful, in my opinion.

Finally, I must tip my hat to the creative gameplay design. Unlike most visual novels, this game is an unusual, possibly unique hybrid with the point-and-click genre. You find the objects hidden in Grace's room, thus providing the necessary replies for the dialog-tree to come. From what I can tell, there seem to only really be 2 endings: Success or Failure. However, this doesn't mean that it ends with an abrupt "You win/lose" message. As I mentioned before, the dialog reactions are very natural, and they lead smoothly to the relevant epilogue.

What's most impressive about this game is that it's short. It manages to pack a very beautiful and satisfying experience into a small space. So, even without considering the noble message about teen dating abuse, this is a game I must tip my hat to.


  1. Hi, Hima's here :) I'm really glad that you enjoy the game! It actually has three ending, and the official walkthrough can be found here


    I really enjoy your blog and your game review, since I'm also a fan of this type of game. We are working on a dating sim game and once it's done or a playable beta is available, I'll let you know ^^

  2. Sweet! Thanks. :D I'll be waiting eagerly. ^^