With only 10 episodes left of Pretty Little Liars and a long wait until the April premiere, PLL fans need something to hold us over. The Pretty Little Liars story in mobile app Episode wants to soothe our impatient woes. Being a card-carrying fan of all things Rosewood, I played the game to see if it could fulfill its promise. It won't solve any of your burning questions about Uber A's identity, but it did craft an interesting mystery in its own right. You just have to love tapping your mobile screen to enjoy it. First, a little bit about Episode. The app consists of different "stories," all of which play out like virtual Choose Your Own Adventure books. You watch a scene play out, then make decisions that dictate how the action will move forward. If you've always wanted to be the fifth member of Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily's squad, then this story in the Episode app is for you. Here, you're plopped into the very first episode of the series, at the very sleepover where Alison disappeared. However, as the "New Girl," you have secrets of your own — and they're all hidden in your locket.
Here's the premise of the Episode story: One year after Alison's disappearance, you're BFFs with her old crew. Alas, a PLL story would be nothing without A lurking in the shadows, and on the one-year anniversary of Ali's disappearance, the villain in the black hoodie starts messing with the Rosewood residents. A has the same beef with the other Liars as on the show, but the antagonist also wants to punish you for something that happened in Riverbank — something that has to do with your crush, who just moved into town. (The app gives you the option to pick between a girl or guy crush — points for inclusivity.) The most interesting part of the game is that while you are, in theory, playing through the first season of PLL, you're doing so in an "alternate reality" timeline. The major players, like Jenna, Alison, and Mona, are characters within the game, but have different arcs than they did in the TV show. It means that even the biggest PLL fan (cough, me) has no idea where the "season" is going, or A's identity. The less-than-stellar part of the game? For one thing, there is sooooo much tapping involved. In order to move the action along, you have to tap your screen, and at times it feels like it takes quite a while to get to a new scene. However, this isn't exclusive to the PLL story — it's an inherent part of the Episode app, and one I was well aware of going into this adventure. The story just doesn't move along at the same pace as the TV show, and you need a heavy dose of patience to get through these chapters.
If you think your thumb can handle it, the app is worth a download — just be wary of the "extras" available within the game that promise to drain your bank account. You can do cooler stuff if you are willing to shell out "gems," but those gems equate to very real dollars. For example, if you want to have extra time to find out your crush's secret, it'll cost you cash, which is a pretty big let down. The final verdict? If you love a good mystery and want to take a mental break from theorizing about Uber A's identity, it's worth giving this PLL mobile game a shot. Both Episode and the Pretty Little Liars story within it are free and available on the App Store for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and on Google Play for Android devices.