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Episode XOXO Brings Romance, Drama to Apple Arcade

The interactive-storytelling game is available to play now.

Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
Zach began writing for CNET in November, 2021 after writing for a broadcast news station in his hometown, Cincinnati, for five years. You can usually find him reading and drinking coffee or watching a TV series with his wife and their dog.
Expertise Web hosting, operating systems, applications and software Credentials
  • Apple software beta tester, "Helps make our computers and phones work!" - Zach's grandparents
Shelby Brown Editor II
Shelby Brown (she/her/hers) is an editor for CNET's services team. She covers tips and tricks for apps, operating systems and devices, as well as mobile gaming and Apple Arcade news. Shelby also oversees Tech Tips coverage. Before joining CNET, she covered app news for Download.com and served as a freelancer for Louisville.com.
  • She received the Renau Writing Scholarship in 2016 from the University of Louisville's communication department.
Zachary McAuliffe
Shelby Brown
Episode XOXO title card showing seven cartoon people

This Apple Arcade game lets you choose how your character's story ends.

Pocket Gems

Apple Arcade's first release of 2023 is the interactive storytelling game Episode XOXO. If you subscribe to Apple Arcade ($5 a month), you can play this game free of cost, ads and in-app purchases.

Developed by Pocket Gems, Episode XOXO has a catalog of interactive stories written by different writers. At launch, you can choose between eight stories, including The Royal Bachelor and No Time for Love. More stories will be added periodically, and one story, Game of Hearts, is already listed as coming soon.

In each story, you can customize your character's appearance and sexuality, to an extent. Then, throughout each story, you're given dialogue options in different scenarios to choose from. The dialogue you choose affects how the story plays out. You can flirt with your crush or spurn them, depending on how you're feeling. Go ahead -- tell them this is crazy, but here's your number... so call you, maybe?

Apple Arcade adds new games and content updates every week. If you're interested in trying Apple Arcade, you can get a three-month free trial with the purchase of a new device, or one month for free if you're signing up for the first time. Open the App Store and tap the joystick icon at the bottom of the screen to launch the service.