Life Flashes By is a sort-of graphic adventure by Deirdra Kiai (who also did Pigeons in the Park and Chivalry is Not Dead). The protagonist is Charlotte Barclay, who in the first scene appears in a tulgey wood with Trevin, the Near Death Fairy, and is told that since she has just had a terrible car accident, is in the OR room, and may shortly die, it is mandatory, in the usual way of things, for her to undergo a "life review." In other words, the set-up is, or ought to be, familiar to us from It's a Wonderful Life, if nothing else, with Trevin being a purple-goateed hipster fairy presumably because angels are too, too cliche.
There are seven "levels," if you want to call them such, each representing an important moment in Charlotte's life when she chose one path, but might have chosen another; after playing each through, an alternate scene, showing what might have happened had she chosen otherwise, unlocks.
As with Kiai's other work, this is not a game in any meaningful sense; each scene essentially consists of a past-Charlotte (or alternate-Charlotte) having a conversation with someone, with the near-death Charlotte and her fairy spirit guide making sardonic comments on the conversation. Though (infrequently) you must choose between options as to the near-death Charlotte's conversational response, most responses are typically graphic adventure-like, in that you go through all available options to see what the characters say. You also have the ability to click on some items in each scene to trigger a brief bit of dialog about it, a typical trope of the graphic adventure.
In other words, there is no real decision making, and while you may choose to encounter the seven scenes in any order, your path through the game does not alter the outcome, nor are there puzzles or other graphic adventure-y elements.
In the past, I have frequently criticized things like The Graveyard for taking what is unquestionably a linear narrative and bolting on superfluous interaction for no obvious reason; in this case, however, the interactive elements, however slight they may be, do add something to the total. It would be possible to do this as something purely linear, either in film or written form; you would experience it as "event A, alternate A; event B, alternate B" and so on. Here, the appearance of the alternates on the "level selection tree" as they are unlocked, does impart a feeling that you are indeed exploring alternate paths for Charlotte. In other words, even though the interaction is ultimately null in terms of outcomes or choices, it lends a sense of credence to the idea that these are choices for Charlotte; a cinematic or text version, in other words, would work less well.
The use of the Near Death Fairy does, however, point out one essential difficulty with the enterprise; what Life Flashes By does, ultimately, is get you into the head of Charlotte Barclay. This is something that film (and graphic adventures) inherently do poorly, because they are all about external representations -- and it's also something that written prose does well, because reading someone else's writing is the closest thing human beings can get to telepathy. The interior life of a character falls naturally out of prose, but must be inferred from visual media. Kiai gets around the difficulty by, in essence, using Trevin as a foil for Charlotte, both interpreting her and spurring her to interpret herself -- but the necessity for such a trick suggests that, in some ways, the work would work better in text.
Three things make Life Flashes By stand out. First, the dialog is well written, nicely voice acted, and quite entertaining in an almost screwball comedy kind of way. Second, Charlotte herself is an engagingly prickly and sarcastic character, not perhaps someone you would want as a BFF, but someone entertaining with whom to spend the hour or two this work takes to experience. (She is not, however, entirely believable as a midlist literary author; the trait she lacks most clearly is empathy, and literary fiction, which is most often about nuance of character, depends critically on authorial empathy.) And finally, by the end of the work, you come to care about and sympathize with Charlotte, despite her prickliness -- characters of this depth are rare in interactive works of any kind.
In short, if you are looking for a game experience, this is not it; but if you are open to a sort of radio drama dressed up in a cartoon, with mild interactive elements, it is not only an entertaining story, but something we might term "literature" without smirking.
In parting, I'll mention that, completely coincidentally, Darius Kazemi, who worked on the game we reviewed on Friday is listed in the credits as one of the people who provided Kickstarter funding for Life Flashes By.