Reviews by Stian

ectocomp 2020

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Social Lycanthropy Disorder, by E. Joyce

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Not for me, December 2, 2020
by Stian
Related reviews: ectocomp 2020

This is a choice IF with lots of endings and achievements, presumably a mechanism designed to have you replay again and again, to discover all there is. Iím afraid it did not grip me enough to motivate more than one play. The foremost reason for this, I guess, is the stereotypical American party setting that the game takes place in. The choices are to a large part dialogue options that lets you choose between fake sincerity and disinterested excuses to shift your focus elsewhere, and there is a discomfort number that represents your feeling of awkwardness. Suffice to say I have never attended an American party, and the situation described in Social Lycanthropy Disorder is so far from my reality that it was impossible to feel any involvement with the story. The writing is decent enough, however, and although it was low on spookiness, it does fit the Halloween theme well.


Duck Diary, by Mathbrush

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Melancholy, humour and horror, December 2, 2020
by Stian
Related reviews: ectocomp 2020

The most realistic story I have encountered in Ectocomp, Duck Diary is all the more scary for it. Dealing with anxiety and trauma, the protagonist finds comfort in a rubber duck that keeps them company through baths and through dreams. As a choice IF, it does not appear to be properly branching. Rather, the choices affect only the next screen. As such, you get one narrative, but with some variations in the details. The writing is of course the essence here, and itís positively superb, mixing the realistic melancholy with touches of comforting humour provided by your rubbery friend, and a gradually unveiling horror that builds up as the story unfolds.


Death Plays Battleship, by Nerd Date Night

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
More funny than scary, December 2, 2020
by Stian
Related reviews: ectocomp 2020

Really more funny than scary, this choice IF parodies the famous chess scene in The Seventh Seal. Death Plays Battleship is very short, so you can easily try all paths in a matter of minutes. As far as parodies go, this is a rather good one; Death is recognisable as based on the character in the classic film, though this one is more fun to hang out with.


Phantasmagoria, by Jac Colvin

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Disjointed choicescript puzzler, December 2, 2020
by Stian
Related reviews: ectocomp 2020

A very short Choicescript game, Phantasmagoria provides a single puzzle of escape, with several endings available. As a puzzle, however, it is fairly easy; it took me two playthroughs in five minutes to emerge victorious. The writing seems to be more essential here, but though it was horrific enough, I found it a bit too chaotic to properly enter the story. It has bits of Lovecraft, touches of Shakespeare, and references to both christian and pagan occultism, but all this was disjointed and lacked a certain coherence. It certainly has its scary elements, but it would have been more terrifying with a more solid foundation that could have suspended my disbelief.


Ritus Sacri, by quackoquack

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Latin is the most evil sounding language, December 2, 2020
by Stian
Related reviews: ectocomp 2020

A meticulously crafted parser IF, Ritus Sacti starts off innocently enough with a school task of translating a Latin passage into English. This is as far as puzzles go in this game, and for me, someone who is interested in languages and knows next to nothing about Latin, it was actually a fun and interesting exercise. I have been wondering, as a matter of fact, whether Latin is the most evil sounding language to modern ears. The author may agree. Here, Latin is used to great effect and builds up the horror slowly, slowly. The writing is excellent throughout and may even offer up a surprise or two.


Last Day, by Earth Traveler

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Decide how to die, December 2, 2020
by Stian
Related reviews: ectocomp 2020

In Last Day, the only progression you will achieve is counting down to the apocalypse. With a ambitiously large map for a game made in less than four hours, it is not surprising that there is little polish, and no puzzles involved. What this IF offers you is a bit of time to explore your neighbourhood and decide how to die. In the end I managed to experience four different endings, one of which the author seems to regard as optimal.


Fracture, by Ralfe Rich

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Splendidly horrid, December 2, 2020
by Stian
Related reviews: ectocomp 2020

Sumbitted to the La petite mort category in Ectocomp 2020, Fracture is a very short and slightly experimental parser IF that puts you in a precarious position and allows only a single command to be used. The whole IF is actually based around this limitation, and it makes very good use of it. Thematically centred on suffering and decay, the story is splendidly horrid, and the writing is excellent.


A Pilgrim, by Caleb Wilson (as Abandoned Pools)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An intriguing glimpse into a different world, December 2, 2020
by Stian
Related reviews: ectocomp 2020

Made in less than four hours, A Pilgrim provides an intriguing glimpse into a different world. As a lonely wandering pilgrim in an area reminiscent of a mythical South America, the protagonist allows you to experience a day (well, a night really) in their sandals, sharing their perspective and their dreams. There is no spooky twist or clever puzzles here, but rather strong and imaginative imagery that is strange yet familiar, lending an eerie sense of the Unheimlich.


The Long Nap, by Paul Michael Winters

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Short and clever, December 2, 2020
by Stian
Related reviews: ectocomp 2020

The Long Nap is written in Dialog, and the first Ň-machine game I have played locally. Itís short, clever, appropriately spooky, and solidly implemented for a La petite mort game. The playthrough took about five minutes, and I was smiling with enjoyment all of the time.



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