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Best Month Ever! Review


There’s an interesting story behind the making of Best Month Ever!

It was created by the Warsaw Film School Video Game & Film Production Studio, via a combination of students, graduates, and other contributors from the faculty which was part of a module on their video game development course. From there, it got a publisher (Klabater) and that’s how we are playing the game today. 

What is evident in this experience is the film making influence, especially in regards to narrative, place, and characters. It’s also very interesting that a Polish film school has done a period piece set in Southern USA. The question is, will it really be the Best Month Ever!? 

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Best Month Ever! follows a single mum, Louise, and her young son, Mitch, who go on a road trip across 1960’s America. The story is the key and core of the game and like any good road trip, it’s all about the discovery of both locations and themselves. Mitch narrates the story from the present and tells a tale of how his mother has a life-changing event, after which she decides to take the both of them on a journey across the states in order to find his father; a family for Mitch. 

Along the way, the pair encounter terrible events which reflect the nature of racial tensions in certain parts of America at that time. It covers the KKK, moments which tackle a woman on her own and the lengths they have to go to survive. We see tornadoes, spirit guides, jazz clubs and horror basements – with a wide range of strange and beautiful characters. 

The story and writing of Best Month Ever! are very strong and I can see the influence of a game that has come out of a film school; there are a few times where it plays around with film tropes and language in its telling. You also have the opportunity to make choices with dialogue trees and how you respond to certain situations. This affects the many different endings you can have, which determines how Mitch turns out in the present and what path fate has taken him on. 

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In terms of gameplay, Best Month Ever! is quite basic – with just a few little twists here and there. You control either Louise or Mitch in any given scene and there will be an action to do on-screen, like interacting with an object or person. It’s not as free-roaming as a normal point and clicker might be and you won’t be dealing with big inventories or combining items, but it’s always pretty clear what to do at each level and there isn’t any difficulty that you need to be concerned with. 

There are a few moments where you might have to action a few different things – like some shooting which requires a little bit of accuracy and throwing a rock at a few targets. There’s even a driving section; it is rough around the edges, but works. There are other issues too and I’ve found myself having to restart a chapter because progress was limited, as the game gave nothing to interact with. Basically though, I would say that those who aren’t fond of a story or any kind of narrative won’t find much to do here, and the gameplay is quite linear and straightforward. If you’re looking for a challenge this might not be the game for you. 

Best Month Ever! certainly has a nice visual aesthetic, with some great filmic locations and a real sense of place. The lighting is very good and the slice of 1960s Americana is, at times, beautifully designed and perfectly created. A jazz club by the side of the road, a destroyed town in ruins, and backstage of a  burlesque club are just some of the highlights in the locations you visit. The static animated cutscenes – like picture postcards – are delightfully rendered and nicely placed in the overall narrative. 

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The soundtrack is a nice mix of atmospheric music and some great jazzy numbers which kick in for a couple of the set pieces. It has some great emotive compositions that work well with the storyline action. The voice-over is extremely good too, from the leads right down to those incidental characters who they meet along the way. 

You’ll enjoy your time with Best Month Ever! and the three or four hours of running time it is able to provide. It’s a narrative adventure with not very challenging gameplay, but it does tell an interesting and unique story from a different era, helped along by some intriguing characters and sub-stories. The odd glitch doesn’t ever ruin the experience and I for one am glad that a film school has experimented with video games and able to provide such a great result. 

Best Month Ever! is available from the Xbox Store

Gareth Brierley
Gareth Brierleyhttp://www.garethbrierley.co.uk
I am an actor and a writer. I act quite a bit on stage, a little bit on tv and never on tuesdays. I have had some of my writing published and have written for TV and stage. I have been playing games since they begun and don't seem to be getting any better.
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