My first play through of Headliner: NoviNews ended with a world in disarray. A politician was dead, my brother was in prison and I was fired from my job. Being an editor is hard work.
Placing you in the role of a new “headliner” for a fictional countries leading news site, you’re tasked with choosing what stories you push forward, shaping your countries politics and ideals through manipulation of the media. To do this you’ll split your time between sitting at your desk, reading through articles and stamping them as either to be published, or rejecting them. After work you’re free to wander through the streets. Here you talk to friends, co workers and citizens, learning about the world around you.
Your decision to portray a new alcoholic drink in a negative light may cause the local shop keep to refuse stocking it at the expense of business. Choosing to support the xenophobic prime minister will improve his standing with the populous but at the expensive of racist abuse aimed towards your co workers. Each and every news article you decide to publish or ignore will impact the characters you interact with in one way.
Change the world
This makes every decision you make feel weighty and consequential. Much like real life it’s impossible to please every one. A seemingly innocuous news story may throw up unseen problems later in the story.
The newspaper creation segments could be a little more open ended. They do tend to funnel you down one version of the story, rather than letting you truly shape your own world. But this is a minor complaint.
There’s really not too much to say about Headliner: Novinews without ruining the stories you unravel with each passing day of game time. If you’re a fan of pulpy sci-fi stories. Just want to try your hand at running a paper. Or are interested in personal politics you’ll enjoy your time playing through the game. It’s a shame that the news paper segments aren’t as free form as they were made out to be. The story however more than makes up for this. You’ll find yourself drawn into the world for the few hours it takes to see your story through.
- Interesting Sci-fi paranoia story
- multiple stories and endings
- Limited impact on the world
- some dialogue is stilted
While not as open ended as previously thought, the stories presented in Headliner: NoviNews are more than enough to draw you into its world. Balancing the effects of your actions on the world makes for interesting game play. It showed me that being the editor of a publication is far from fun and games (sorry Greg!).