Publish the news, flirt with your co-worker, bully your brother, buy some groceries, feed the dog, go to sleep. And that’s just your Monday.
Headliner: NoviNews is a fantastic new game from developer Unbound Creations that puts you in control of public opinion. You play as the titular Headliner who is charge of controlling what news pieces go out to the public each day. It’s up to you to decide who to endorse in the government or what to advertise. Each choice you make can impact your day-to-day events and even have ripple effects on your relationships with your co-workers, family, and strangers.
At the beginning of each day in Headliner: NoviNews, you start at your desk after talking with your boss about what needs to get done that day. In many cases, you’ll have a pile of news on your desk to sort through and you have to decide what goes out and what gets rejected. Sometimes, you’ll have a quota and be forced to push through two or three articles or you might have a restriction that only lets you approve one article and you must reject the rest. This way, you’re forced to choose carefully what you want the public to be reading.
At the end of your work day, you’ll go out into the city and see the effects of the news that you passed. Did you approve an article supporting BetterBuzz, the new alcohol substitute that is said to give you a “better buzz” than regular alcohol? Did you reject an article praising Prime Minister Wolff even though you know they’re corrupt as hell? Whatever you choose, you’ll quickly start to see how it affects the world and people around you.
It can be complicated trying to juggle your stance on multiple topics, but that’s what makes Headliner so good. Perhaps you’ll support the Prime Minister at first – but when you learn about his nefarious deeds, maybe you’ll change your mind. But then the public may find you distrusting if you change your stance so suddenly. You really do have to think thoroughly about each choice, and that’s absolutely brilliant.
Headliner: NoviNews is a short experience – my first playthrough only took about two hours – but there are multiple different endings so I dove right back in and started a new game. Much of the dialogue is the same, but there were certain moments where it was hinted that I’d been down the same road once before. Combined with the story, gameplay, graphics, and soundtrack, Headliner: NoviNews is an awesome experience for players that want a really intriguing story that they fully get to control.