Join Louise and Her Son Mitch in this Emotionally driven Choices matter Tale in 1960’s America
Best Month Ever takes place in the late 60’s across America. Join Louise a single mother with a terrifying terminal illness. Louise wishes to spend her last month showing her eight year old son Mitch how to live his life. Developed by the Warsaw Film School Video Game & Film Production Studio, Best Month Ever is a short indie, point and click adventure. I managed to play this game in its entirety before reviewing. As a result of this, there may be spoilers ahead. Additionally, the game featured several themes of a dark and sinister nature and I advise readers to proceed with caution. Nevertheless, Join us here at VIBE as we review Best Month Ever.
Louise & Mitch
Louise and Mitch are the two main characters of this tale. Mitch is an eight year old and Louise is a young single mother. It soon begins to transpire for players that Louise and Mitch are relatively alone in the world. Louise works in a diner earning next to no money and now that she has acquired a terminal illness she must find a home for her son. Louise and Mitch travel across America trying to reignite family bonds. She seems to have ran away to the trailer park leaving her family behind, including Mitch’s dad.
Louise is a humorous character with some of the choices she can make really impacting Mitch. The main goal of the game is that the choices made in this month reflect Mitch’s future. Louise can either be truthful, law abiding and gentle or she can be a criminal, bending the truth and a force to be reckoned with. Therefore, creating an intriguing sequence of events throughout the game. Furthermore, Mitch can also make decisions that shape his future. Choices matter for Louise and Mitch and the player is in full control.
Setting The Scene
The Camera angles and field of view for Best Month Ever were unexpected. The game operates with an almost 2.5D approach with the camera largely zoomed out the majority of the time. However, this does make sense as the developers are a film school. The character models fell a bit short when up close and often at times looked reminisce of the Playstation 2 era. On the other hand, the lighting was incredible for each scene. As pictured above the diner had the greatest lighting with a neon colour palette with dark undertones in the right places such as the car park. The lighting remained spot on throughout the entirety of the game and is definitely a feature that should be praised.
The gameplay was largely point and click with the added feature of selecting choices. However, there were some scenes such as pictured above where the player would get to do a bit more than just enjoying the story. Here we see Louise and Mitch creating star signs in the sky by connecting stars together. The player got to physically connect the dots. Therefore, allowing for a more active gameplay option and a change in pace. Furthermore, keeping the player enticed and not making the game monotonous.
Another example, of this was driving segments. There are several levels where the player must navigate the car and keep an eye on the speedometer and not hit other cars on the road. This was a welcome change in the slow pace of the game. Additionally, there is something hilarious about a kid driving a car. Louise feels its an opportunity for him to develop his skills something she hoped this month together would help him achieve.
Diving Into Louise’s Past
Louise is an extremely in-depth character and this certainly helped make the story interesting. Additionally, Louise has had a hard life and meeting characters along the way show exactly how she was shaped. One of the stops on the road trip was to a jazz bar where Louise used to be a showgirl. Louise takes to the stage once more and dances for money. The game is full of interactions and flashbacks that tell Louise’s story and highlights the desperation of a better life for Mitch. The rich content of Louise’s story was definitely a positive and is sure to grip players to play on.
The Best Month Ever is an emotional whirlwind. What else is there to expect from a game about a terminally ill single mother. The game has extremely emotional scenes. One scene that really stood out was when Mitch was bitten by a rattlesnake and Louise sought help from a Native American family. Louise partakes in a ritual where she enters the spirit world. As a result of this, Mitch is saved and their road trip can continue. However, this is just one of the deeply emotional scenes. Louise struggles with her mortality throughout the game and often tries to fob it off as a minor illness. Some of the interactions with her and Mitch will have players reaching for the tissues. Therefore, the game should be praised for it’s emotional scenes.
The game continuously presents with dark and sinister events. At times this was incredibly difficult for the player to process. An example of this is when Louise and Mitch take refuge in a barn with a southern family. It turns out all in very quick succession that the man of the house is a member of the notorious KKK, is a rapist, kidnapper and murderer. This is sprung on the player and as a result of this, it feels very forced and there is uncertainty where the plot is going at that point. Dark events do spruce up the plot but one or two would be ideal and not barraging the player with them.
Dealing with Social issues from the 60s
A massive Bravo should be given to the devs for the portrayal of some very serious issues relevant to southern America in the 1960s. Mitch is not the son of a white man and is born to a single mother. Both things frowned upon in the sixties. The game highlights the racial issues faced in the 60s and the prevalence of racism. A particular jaw dropping scene was Louise taking the law into her own hands and uncovering the sheriff of the town as the head of the Klan. Players then have the choice on what to do with him.
Multiple Endings and Replayability
Best Month Ever has multiple endings. Some of which players may not agree with and wish to play again. The replayability factor is great and it’s something I will be revisiting. As pictured above, this was my ending to the game. However, I was not happy with this ending and I’m looking to maybe keep sweet Mitch out of prison next time round. The endings are based on the bar on the right hand side that is present throughout the game. This bar represents righteousness, confidence and relations. Your choices do matter and as the player you can independently shape your ending.
It’s that time again I would just like to extend a thank you as always for joining me as I review another indie title. The hype was real for Best Month Ever and unfortunately it fell short of my expectations. I loved Louise and Mitch and all the quirky characters along the way but I would have liked a structured plot with less dark events barraged on players. The art style was a bit outdated but the soundtrack and lighting hit all the right spots. However, form your own opinion and check out the trailer below. If you like all things indie don’t forget to check out my article on indie games shown at Summer Fest : https://vibethenook.com/top-5-indie-games-at-summer-games-fest-2022/
26, Indie Game connoisseur. Also a hamster mum, fiancée & working in the addiction field. Gaming and writing are my escape and comfort for when the world gets too much!