Best Month Ever! is a choose-your-own-adventure game based on a single mom and her black son surviving through a single month in 1960s USA.
The Best Month Ever! focuses on Louise’s decision to pack up all of her and her son Mitch’s belongings to head off and find a better place for him to grow up, it’s all motivated as she doesn’t know how much longer she will be with him. Mitch narrates the story, but the conclusion differs based on decisions made throughout the game — with a total of nine endings.
During their travels, Louise introduces Mitch to different sides of his family, through which he gets to witness how much that era of America was divided socially and culturally. If he has a hard time getting accepted by his own family, then where can he feel comfortable being himself? This question can certainly hit home for those who have firsthand experience with this topic.
All of Mitch’s interactions with others, as well as how he sees his mom behave, change his characteristics in the end. The three traits that can be changed are confidence, righteousness and relations. Green, of course, means that the choice will have a positive effect, with red being negative.
I wanted to play the game based on what I would do as a mom or child in each situation. I felt like my choices were well-rounded as I didn’t want to be too “good”. I wanted to see all of the drama that is possible in the storyline so I chose bad decisions to see how much change Louise and Mitch would go through as the story progressed.
No matter what route is taken for a good or bad ending, Louise had to make questionable, sometimes drastic decisions as her life is in a troubling state. The topics discussed in Best Month Ever! can be triggering and graphic, as there are mentions of racism, death, assault and other heavy subjects. I did have to take breaks between chapters because specific scenes in the story were too heavy for me. Overall, it did seem like an accurate portrait of what life could’ve been like in the 1960s for a white mother raising a black son in a state where interracial families were not accepted.
In the middle chapters, I would choose the option to hide Louise’s family history from Mitch as that seemed more realistic for parents to do to try and protect their children. As kids, we either grow more resilient from knowing our family’s struggles or we have resentment in our hearts and could end up making poor decisions that could affect us as an adult. All of the chapters gave new light to the characters and I felt like I was growing with them, which made me sympathetic to the path their lives took towards the end of the story.
One part of the Best Month Ever that could have been improved was the UI; The screen is always a locked viewpoint but I still had to search around for a long time to figure out what the game wanted me to do next. All of the interactions were with specific characters and objects so I couldn’t venture out and explore the world or talk to people who were not a part of the story. Since this game was more focused on the dialogue, I can understand the developers not adding more camera angles.
I did not want to replay the trauma of this story, so I watched a YouTube video that shows all the endings to see what I missed. Since I got 100% in relations and high ranks in the confidence & righteousness meters, my ending was good. Mitch ended up travelling the world to help others in need.
There are multiple bad endings that could happen if you were less righteous, but the positive endings showed that Mitch wanted to have a different life than he had growing up. The ending, to me, was not satisfying, as all of them were very similar and only discussed the career (or lack thereof) that Mitch chose as an adult around his mom’s age.
I didn’t understand how the choices I made in the game correlated with the outcome. I did make Mitch and Louise do questionable actions, but it didn’t have the effect on the ending as I would have thought. I would’ve like to see one more chapter explaining more about how life was for Mitch as a teen and young adult since there had to have been more experiences that made him who he was at the end of the game.
Overall, Best Month Ever! did a good job of storytelling, but the decision-making seemed limited.