I’m always on the lookout for shiny new mobile apps that are actually worth my time.  Given how ever increasingly crowded the space is getting, it is more a struggle of locating good content than anything else.  So it is my pleasure to unearth a little 99 cent gem for Andorid called A Duck Has An Adventure by Daniel Merlin Goodbrey.

ADHAA is basically a choose your own adventure comic in the same spirit as Shiga’s Meanwhile for iOS.  However, I find the artstyle and presentation more accessible than Shiga’s book, and think ADHAA is more successful because of this.
The art is simple and iconic, and the UX encourages you to retrace your steps to each branching decision point, so the user is encouraged to explore every possible outcome. Other versions of Choose Your Own Adventure comics, most notably Alter Actions MASQ, seem like they are trying to hide all the ways the story can end from the reader.  In all there are 3000 illustrations in MASQ, a good share of which I’ll never get to see.
People romanticize the original Choose Your Own Adventure Books from the 80’s and when I tell them I make interactive comics, this is the first thing they assume I am doing.

CYOA storytelling carries a fair amount of risk that can make it prohibitive in labor intensive mediums like Comics and Games.  Most notably, the extra asset load that branching story can create, and the unlikelyhood of players seeing this expensive additional content because they usually only play through a story once or twice.
ADHAA solves this problem in several ways:
– picking a minimal aesthetic that simultaneously makes the story engaging and highly explorable, with very low cost for producing many different story branches
– making it easy for the reader to easily explore all possible outcomes with good UX (back button to last decision point, start over, reset)
– creating a high level trailmap that shows how the different branches relate to each other (some actually intersect) so exploring all possible outcomes is encouraged through design
I hope to see more experiments like this in the future, big ups to Daniel Merlin Goodbrey!  Look forward to the iOS version of ADHAA due out later this year!