Episode presents something of a dilemma to me: on one hand, it reminds me of the old "Choose your Own Adventure" books and I can't help the surge of nostalgia. On the other hand, some of the story lines apparently believe that the only things on any female teen's mind are popularity contests, clothes (to help win those popularity contests), and boys. I can't say that my feminist streak is too happy about that.
Notice though that only some story lines are like that. Pocket Gems is moving away from those and exploring far more interesting themes, like in HUNTED, basically a "Greatest Game" kind of hunt but with a menagerie of classical monsters.
Also, the different stories available are only the beginning: they launched on in February of this year after all. And it is truly a Choose your Own Adventure collection, because you can add your own: the most welcomed feature on the app is the ability to connect to a specially-made site to write your own novelet and to submit it. This includes learning some basic scripting, but nothing too difficult.
In fact, I personally became aware of this app when they started looking for writers on LinkedIn. They also have a posting on their site. This is not a permanent position, but it can be a way to dip your toe in writing, to get your foot in the door of the game industry, or even simply to supplement a revenue.
As for the user side of this, you can download the free app on iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon. You initially get 2 passes (with one pass unlocking one chapter) and once used up, you have to wait for 4 hours for 2 more. You can also buy more, reasonably priced. Finally, when using the free passes, you have to watch two very short videos before actually reading the chapter. Not too steep for some decent entertainment.
Pocket Gems is betting on the Holy Grail of user-generated content to keep the stories coming and interesting, but is genre-savvy enough to supplement it with paid content. Not a bad way to handle this and I hope it works.