Decisions involving affairs of the heart are easily among some of the most difficult a human being has to make; even more so if it’s something long-term, something definitive. Something the two protagonists in If You Stay, Mika and Yara, are forced to face after their school teacher outs them to their parents.
As the story begins, another choice has already been made, however, as the two agreed to go on one “final date”, after which… that’s the end of their story. No taking on the world, running away together, ignoring everything and seeing what might have been. At least that’s how it would have turned out, except If You Stay is not a kinetic visual novel – it’s one with a handful of choices and several ways for the story to conclude. In other words, perhaps there’s hope yet for the two young girls and their happily ever after. Perhaps. Sure, the odds are slim and they’ve already faced much hardship, but you won’t know unless you take a chance, darn it!
Ahem. Anyway, given its relatively short runtime, one might expect next to no character growth or other important details. Well, I’d say it’s actually a story of just the right length, saying what it wants to, no more and no less. A lot has already happened when we’re introduced to Mika and Yara, and as such all of those events can simply be relayed in past tense, something that also conveys how they’re exactly that: past events. Something that happened and now they’re trying to move on from it, looking to the future instead of worrying about “what if?” scenarios.
Will it all end up having been for nought though? Was their love doomed from the get-go? Well, If You Stay begins with their “final date”, and from there on out, it’s up to you to help them navigate the murky waters of their town, and find out whether the two are, in fact, star-crossed lovers.
If You Stay is available on itch.io.