In this bite-sized adventure, seventeen (or so) Ebenezabeth Scrooge is training her powers with her adopted father, Ebenezer Scrooge. She has the skill of traveling across space and time simply by staring at fire. While she has not been hired for an official mission, as is the case in the second and third games (nor is there combat), she still encounters challenges that, as the title indicates, result in acquiring her signature weapon. For good, of course.
Apparently, there is a puzzle design challenge called EnigMarch where a prompt is assigned to each day during March to inspire authors. How the Little Match Girl Got Her Colt Paterson Revolver, and Taught a Virtue to a Goblin was made for March 13 (I promise I’ll shorten the title from here on). The prompt?
MATCH. I think that seals the deal.
It’s pretty straightforward. The game begins in the Scrooge household, London during 1846. Ebenezer presents you with four fire sources: a lamp, streetlamp, candle, and fireplace, each of which lead to different settings. This is a game where you do not need fire to return home. All you do is “wake up.” Which is probably a smart idea since the (Spoiler - click to show) paper castle location would not fare well with an open source of flame.
The gameplay follows a fetch/trade quest structure. I give you something in exchange for something else that can be used as leverage for another character so they make a similar exchange with me so I can appease yet another character elsewhere with my new item, etc. That’s how the game flows. Many of the NPCs have struggles, and the goal is to help them out with a useful object.
Later, it occurred to me that you can only have one inventory item on you at a time. Certainly not an inventory-intensive puzzle-fest. The puzzles are not particularly awe-inspiring, but they are consistent and enjoyable.
There is one little subtly that I must acknowledge. It’s barely been a week since I first played The Little Match Girl 3 which was recently released. One memorable moment from that was (mild spoilers for the third game) (Spoiler - click to show) with the location on Deimos, one of Mars’ moons. I distinctly remember seeing Mars and being able to examine Tharsis, the planet’s largest city, on its surface. It was described as- here, I’ll go find it:
Mars is a waning crescent, so Deimos must be waxing gibbous... you think.
On the night side of the planet are the lights of cities: The biggest one is Tharsis.
The Martian capital of Tharsis is so tiny, you could blot it out with your thumb. You hope never again to see it in any greater detail, if you can help it.
Well, guess what, Ebenezabeth? That’s exactly where we’re going.
Oh. Joke is on me. How the Little Match Girl technically takes place before the third game in which she is nineteen years old. But the third game was released first… which means “You hope never again to see it in any greater detail,” foreshadows How the Little Match Girl.
I wonder if anyone else has made this connection. It would be interesting to know if anyone spotted it before I did. If anything, the overlap only continues to show the complexity of the “Little Match Girl” universe.
I'm not kidding you. I remember observing (Spoiler - click to show) Tharsis and thinking how cool it would be to visit a (Spoiler - click to show) fictional Mars city. And so, I was thrilled to see (Spoiler - click to show) THARSIS, CAPITAL OF MARS flash across the screen when I glanced at the streetlamp.
Voices are shrieking at you from all angles, hawking skin treatments, hallucinogens, escort services, antiques, homegrown organs, designer handbags, religious experiences, illegal pets—monitors and loudspeakers are built into the walls, into the ground, into the railings and utility poles. Everyone but you is ignoring all this effortlessly.
One shop, way at the edge of the open-air mall, seems to be fairly quiet. Streets lead southwest and west.
But Ebenezabeth had things long figured out: (Spoiler - click to show) Tharsis would not be the best place to live.
If you are new to the series, this is a fantastic starter guide. Naturally, one would consider starting at the first game, but How the Little Match Girl would also be an appropriate start. Heck, all of them would, due to their flexibility. For first timers, though I would still recommend either the original The Little Match Girl or this game. The latter gives you a solid understanding about the mechanics of Ebenezabeth’s powers in a compact gameplay experience.
As I have mentioned, How the Little Match Girl is less structured around a specific objective or “mission” like we see in her other adventures. However, a narrative does emerge. The game does not begin with, “Father, I am going on a quest to find a mystical revolver.” The possibility of acquiring said revolver emerges later. If anything, the story is centered on (Spoiler - click to show) fielding the romantic advances between the tin soldier and paper dancer in the paper castle. They both like each other but have been told by a felt goblin that love always lands in heartbreak and thus be avoided.
But Ebenezabeth does not accept that nonsense. (Spoiler - click to show) She makes the tin soldier and the paper dancer to feel more confident about themselves but ultimately it is not enough. She must deal with the goblin as indicated by the game’s title. To “deal” with someone means different things in each game in the series, but here, it is simply about educating a goblin. If you want to know what that entails, play the game.
I was pleased to find the adventure recap that occurs after you (Spoiler - click to show) feed Colt. As he works on his revolver, Ebenezabeth gives an overview of the characters and places she encountered from the first game. Because I have already played it, there is a feeling of, "heh, I know who you're talking about."
NPCs are not the focus in this story. Except for Colt. He’s literally in the title. Most characters encountered in the four locations never form a relationship with Ebenezabeth, although some still express their gratitude after receiving help. Everything is ultimately about the little match girl and the focusing of her skills through fire.
My only disappointment is the cat only gets a mention this game.
How the Little Match Girl is slick but not without roughness.
There is a bug that occurs when (Spoiler - click to show) trying to smell items in Zadar’s shop. This is merely my experience:
(Spoiler - click to show) I was puttering around the location called BYBLOS, PHOENICIA (which has a lovely blue background) when it happened. After I punched in "smell" or "smell [object]" just to try it, the game froze and then crashed. At first, the parser did not respond. I waited. Then the words disappeared leaving a blue screen behind. This later became a white screen. It was if the game just decided to call it quits. I had to abandon the playthrough when that happened.
There are also some other, more superficial technicalities in the gameplay. For instance, (Spoiler - click to show) I think it could be made clearer that the great hall in the paper castle can be accessed from the courtyard. But since this is already a high-quality game produced within a few days, I have to cut it some slack.
I happy to see that colour-coding the background for each location is still shown. Parser does not always have to be an unchanging white screen.
How the Little Match Girl is a great game made even more impressive by the fact that it was written in a meager three days. Does it have the pristine shininess from the games in the main series? Well, no. That said, if you had never played Ryan Veeder's works before but tried this one, I bet you would ask yourself: "If this is what he can do in three days, imagine what he could create without any time restraints." Super awesome games, that's what.
And if you are a fan of Ebenezabeth, playing this game is a given.
(In light of some helpful feedback, I have edited this review for clarity.)
Our little match girl is nineteen years old and still on a (new) mission.
For those who are hearing about this for the first time, The Little Match Girl 3: The Escalus Manifold is the third game in the “The Little Match Girl,” series, the first game simply titled The Little Match Girl. They follow a kind-hearted girl (she gets older in each game) as she learns to travel to new realms through her connection with fire. Hence the match reference. You do not need to play them to enjoy them, but if you are curious, you might as well start from the beginning. It’s up to you.
Before the game begins, we get a briefing from the protagonist's father, Ebenezer Scrooge. Almost like Mission Impossible but with the appropriate atmosphere suited to this story. The Snow Queen has been manipulating people far and wide. She controls them through Mirror Shards that can alter a person’s behavior to make them act destructively, and an unnamed client has tasked you with ending this abuse.
The Snow Queen is dangerous. But you are not alone. Or at least you won't be.
Because this game? Is all about teamwork.
The gameplay is about recruiting a team of NPCs to travel and fight with you as you prepare for your fight against the Snow Queen. Only the best companions are accepted, which means searching high and low for teammate material. Staying true to Ebenezabeth’s origin story, you travel across space and time through fire. Look at a fire source, and bam. New place, new time. You start at Finland, 1848.
There are six exciting realms in the main gameplay, and each have fire sources for travel and places to take naps (you will need them) to recharge your energy levels. The exception is with (Spoiler - click to show) Nonolulu 2933. It lacks both. That one’s a bit of a wild card.
Once you identify a potential team member, you must solve a puzzle to “free” (literally or figuratively, it depends) them to join your cause. These puzzles* were creative and fun to solve. For me, they were one of the highlights of the gameplay. You fight the Snow Queen if you think you’re ready. She’ll be waiting in her palace where the game begins. (*My favorite puzzle of all was (Spoiler - click to show) communicating with the stones. You can’t recruit them, of course, but it was an excellent puzzle.)
The Little Match Girl 3 does not have death or graphic violence. No assassinations this time. But combat is a central feature in the gameplay. There are many people operating as the Snow Queen’s puppets. To save them, you must "deliver a sound thrashing to the afflicted party," to borrow Ebenenzer's words. Defeating them in combat frees them since it expels the Mirror Shard that was keeping them under the Queen’s control. And, in fact, most characters will thank you for doing so.
The gameplay is not “about” freeing as many characters as possible. Aside from (Spoiler - click to show) the two guards in the palace, fighting characters is technically optional. Thing is, you must increase your skillsets before taking on the Snow Queen. Mirror Shards allow you to upgrade yourself and your teammates, making it in your best interest to win in combat as much as possible to acquire them.
Not a fan of combat in interactive fiction? The Little Match Girl 3 just might surprise you. I won’t hash out the rules since you can go play it for yourself, but I liked the flexibility of the combat’s mechanics. Freedom of movement is not dependent on fighting your way through hordes of NPCs. This allows you to pick and choose your battles at your convenience while enjoying the scenery. It’s well-balanced.
Similarly, the strategy for combat is nicely implemented because it provides technicality while also being easy to master. During combat, you make a move for Ebenezabeth, and then a move for each teammate based on a list of possible actions that are unique to each character. These lists are further developed throughout the gameplay.
What should Ebenezabeth do?
SHOOT - Fire your revolver at an enemy. (Ammo: 6/6)
DEFEND - Brace yourself for an attack.
RELOAD - Load up the barrel of your six-shooter.
BOLSTER - Spend 3 HP to increase an ally's Attack temporarily.
KOYNNOKSET - Spend 8 HP to summon entangling vines that grasp at all enemies.
It was cool how you gain extra skills by collecting wearables which can be worn by you or another teammate. Mix and match. Once you get the hang of everything, you zip through it all quite quickly. (Spoiler - click to show) I was surprised at how quickly I defeated the Snow Queen (but if you think you can take her out at the start of the game, think again).
I want to chew the fat on one technicality: Putting a Mirror Shard in a phylactery automatically upgrades your level and health points but can also upgrade any of the six other stats you possess. However, the number of stats that are upgraded are chosen at random. Sometimes you only get two, other times it is more fruitful.
To be honest, (Spoiler - click to show) I would undo until I got upgrades for five or six stats. People reading this will probably sigh at me in disappointment, but I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm trying to make the most out of resources. When you are a time traveling assassin, you have to take what you can get.
You insert the Mirror Shard into Eunoia's Phylactery. Eunoia levels up!
Max HP +1!
Her lip quivers. "That can't be all I get. I insist you UNDO and try that again."
She said it, not me.
In all sincerity, this game is extremely generous with its resources. I would hoard inventory items that can replenish your HP during combat, only to learn that I never really needed them. Frequent use of UNDO is probably why I found it so easy to dominate without any NPC team members. I was so effective on my own, having them would only function as an extra step in the combat scenes.
In that regard, it is probably a good thing that every stat is not upgraded with every Mirror Shard. Plus, I am saying this as someone who has strategized through the gameplay. First-time players will experience it with a blank slate (hence why I put some of this under a spoiler tag), and it will have plenty of challenges.
The only feature that confused me was changing my affinity. The (Spoiler - click to show) man at the bar in Honolulu explains how you can temporarily alter your affinity to try new skills, but no matter which beverages I consumed, I could not find an application for any of them or notice any effect on the gameplay. I am probably overlooking something, but what? It would be nice to know. I’m probably missing out on the fun.
Usually I have the “Story” section before the one on characters, but we’re shaking it up. The Little Match Girl 3 is all about the NPCs.
I've played this game several times already. I snatched it the second it appeared on IFDB. Following The Little Match Girl 2: Annus Evertens, I was looking forward to what came next. However, I wanted to hold off on writing this review until after I recruited all four characters. They are a key component of this game’s experience, and I was not sure if I were missing anything important.
It’s not required that you recruit team members. In fact, fighting the Snow Queen alone- you promised not to- has an unexpected but hilarious impact at the end of the game: (Spoiler - click to show) An invite from The Universal Sisterhood of Naughty Little Girls.
Such ruthlessness, coupled with such wanton disregard for filial responsibility, is more than sufficient qualification for membership in our highly selective organization.
In the end, I could only recruit three characters. And so, I decided to proceed with the review just to get it out there. I'll figure out the rest some other time (see the note at the end of this section).
Moving on. As is often the case with the author’s work, the characters shine. There are four NPCs who can join your team to help defeat the Snow Queen. Here, they aren’t just firepower for combat. Their implementation is discrete and yet enriches the gameplay with a refreshing vividness. They feel like traveling companions rather than invisible accessories.
The NPCs I have managed to recruit so far are (Spoiler - click to show) Hrieman, Eunoia, and Nuci. A highlight of the entire game is the spontaneous dialog that occurs as you travel to new locations or examine scenery.
The sky is blazing with millions of silent stars. The ground is bare rock, the color of charcoal.
A nearby crater has been converted into the dish of a large radio telescope.
You can go north, southeast, southwest, east, and west from here.
(Spoiler - click to show)
"How exciting!" Eunoia says. "What an adventuresome place this is!"
Hrieman flies up for a better view, wheeling around for a while before returning to your shoulder. "It's curved!" he says. "I mean, it's round! I mean, of course it's round. But I'd never seen the curvature of anything before."
Nuci stares up at the stars. She is speechless.
It adds unexpected flair that also reminds you that everything is being done as a group.
I was especially pleased to see (Spoiler - click to show) Eunoia, the mermaid princess from Atlantis. I immediately recognized her since she is introduced in the series’ first game, The Little Match Girl. And I'm liking her more and more. She seems genuinely affectionate for Ebenezabeth.
Eunoia sits on the beach, regarding you expectantly.
Oddly enough, in the first game she seemed colder, as did her father and sister. There was- it’s hard to describe- not a bitter or envious vibe but... something that gave the characters a sharp edge that you could accidentally cut your finger on. The effect was subliminal. Now, she has evolved without losing her core identity. Warmhearted, though still dramatic. I’m glad her character made it into this episode.
I must admit though, my favorite NPC in this game was (Spoiler - click to show) Nuci.
Note: I have a hunch about the fourth one: (Spoiler - click to show) Cole, who lives on Deimos, one of Mars’ moons. Issue is that his cow is orbiting overhead. He’s trying to figure out the calculations to retrieve the cow. I don’t know how to help him. Does the large net have a use in this puzzle? I tried (pathetically) throwing it at the cow but that did not work.
I have little to add here. Your contract is to take out the Snow Queen (you already know this) who is fooling around with Mirror Shards to (Spoiler - click to show) channel energy into the Mirror of Reason on the first floor of her palace. It’s an ongoing project. She wants to reach/use a realm called Escalus Manifold via the Mirror. Hence the game’s title. I did not make that connection right away.
Word of advice: If you’re curious about the Snow Queen’s scheme, I highly encourage you to (Spoiler - click to show) examine the Mirror of Reason when you have NPCs (more the merrier) in your party because it produces dialog that provides additional background context for the story.
Sitting at my computer in the 21st century, Finland in the year 1848 sounds so long ago, but that’s at the same time period for Ebenezabeth’s “present day” life in London. The (Spoiler - click to show) date on the official letter at the end of the game reads 1847. So being dropped into Finland a year later would not be much of a difference for her. Just some random tidbit that put things into perspective.
This is a parser game that uses colours in the gameplay. Every location gets its own screen colour. In fact, colour-coding settings was also shown in the second game in the series. It’s excellent at making the player feel like they are being transported to another place.
Also: Is that (Spoiler - click to show) Nuci in the cover art? I pictured her as having less of a humanoid body shape, but that’s cool either way.
Let’s reflect on how far we have come (so far): I have now played three games starring Ebenezabeth. Each one is unique in plot and gameplay while still sharing the same essence. As for a favorite, you can’t really pick one. It’s like having a selection of beloved film DVDs that are neatly organized on the living room shelf.
The Little Match Girl (first game) is where the magic begins. It is a high-quality game and a strong introduction to the series but did not quite have the same blow-your-mind effect that the next two games had. It’s still well worth your time. Especially if you want to know the full story behind the protagonist. As for the next two…
There was a stronger sense of satisfaction at the end of The Little Match Girl 2, but the gameplay mechanics were more consistent and impressive in third game. For me, the key difference is being able to revisit realms by eyeballing an open flame. It weaves the puzzles through time and space while also giving the player a little more control over the chaos. Both are unique adventures. I can’t pick a favorite.
The Little Match Girl 3 is a treasure to play. It is a mix of action and heartwarming moments blended into a truly unique game. The narrative, character dynamics, and combat mechanics are all integrated together to create a piece that beckons you to play it and return for more. It is perfectly playable if you have not played the first two episodes, although I have a feeling that if you end up liking this one, you will be tempted to play them all.
I am looking forward to the next game, The Little Match Girl 4: Crown of Peals (currently listed on IFDB), but I am also dreading it since it will be the last in the series. Ebenezabeth is getting older. Bittersweet, although I have loved viewing her transformation throughout each game.
UPDATE: I FINALLY FIGURED OUT HOW TO RECRUIT THE FOURTH CHARACTER. In case anyone wants to laugh at me, read on. MAJOR STORY & GAMEPLAY SPOILERS. (Spoiler - click to show)
I would wait until the cow was directly above me: The flying cow passes right over your head. If you need more context, look at the character section of this review.
I tried the following commands:
>throw net at cow
>catch cow with net
You can't do much more than look from way down here.
I now had the impression that I needed to be higher or have some additional mechanism that would allow the net to reach the cow. Or maybe the net was for a different puzzle. Perfect case where I overthink things. The correct solution was "take cow" or "catch cow." Simple as that.
But hold on a minute. Cole and Nuci... get married? WHAT? I did not see any chemistry/individual character dynamics between them at all during the gameplay. Good for them, though.
I want to make sure we are on the same page. At the end of the game, you can get letters from three out of the four possible teammates, assuming they were recruited. Cole sends a yellowed letter and Nuci sends a crisp letter. However, if they are both in your team, you don't get either letter. Instead, you get a picture postcard that says:
I never heard of no honeymooners cutting into their honeymoon time to send any Wish You Were Here cards but Nuci says it's de rigueur so here we are.
It's signed by them as Nuci + Cole. Married? Am I reading that correctly? Wow. Great game.
When I leave feedback in reviews, they are just meant to be a resource for the author(s). Hopefully a helpful one. That said, it’s always cool when someone applies it to their game. When this happens, I leave little "update" notes my review to acknowledge it. Cubes and Ladders is a little different. This is the first time where an author made substantial changes from my feedback that genuinely shift my entire rating.
Everything below the line at the end of this message is of an earlier version of the game where the gameplay had unevenness and small technicalities that made it a four-star experience. I am preserving it as a historical record of sorts because it shows the creative process that goes into game creation, which is one of coolest things about interactive fiction.
Here, the author made a great game, received feedback, and used the feedback to make an excellent game. That is something that deserves recognition, and I hope this is conveyed through this review. Changing a rating is not something I do on impulse or at a whim, but it’s earned its five stars.
In the old version of my review, I listed some weak points that are now resolved. You will not encounter them when you go to play the game. I also mentioned in the beginning that you will either like Cubes and Ladders or dislike it. The changes have made the gameplay more user-friendly. Players can enjoy the surrealness without wrestling with technicalities. Because of this, I feel that it will be more receptive to players and appeal to a wider audience.
Everything else that I discussed (gameplay, story, art, etc.) is the same. I still stand by that. Go read it right now if you want to know more. It is the same high-quality game except that the flaws mentioned in my review are now history.
Please play Cubes and Ladders if you are interested in surreal interactive fiction, a creative take on the office setting trope, or cool artwork.
This is a game that you will either like or you won't. I liked it. Quite a bit, in fact, but I don’t expect the same for everyone.
In Cubes and Ladders, you play as Jordan Michael, a tech support employee. You work at Minimax, a company that used to be a rockstar... in the realm of selling copier machines and other office-based technology. Since then, Minimax has lost steam. To compensate, management switched its specialty to providing financial services. This has proven to be a mediocre band aid.
Now, Minimax has started another round of downsizing. Rumors of layoffs have begun to circulate amongst the few employees the company has left. You are one of them. (Reminder: You have a meeting with your boss at 9 AM.)
I have played a variety of takes on the office game genre, whether they are realistic slice-of-life stories or plotlines where the staff are supernatural creatures. But I cannot recall ever playing a surreal office game. This was not something I considered until I saw Cubes and Ladders.
In some ways, Cubes and Ladders is your typical office game (my boss wants to me to submit a report by noon) but it more ways, it is not. And if you are expecting a surreal trip down the rabbit hole, you will be disappointed. Instead, the game opts for a more subtle approach to the genre. And that’s just one reason I enjoy it.
The start of the game perfectly captures the essence of an office game: your boss is miffed at you, she wants a revised report turned in before noon (which means you have a time limit), there is a clock at the corner of the screen as a reminder, and there are some rumors about the company floating around the office. First time through, I thought this was going to be a game where you complete a series of tasks for your boss and/or upper management to earn their favor. Cubes and Ladders soon departs from that.
Your boss gives you an evaluation sheet explaining why your yearly report is so horrible. Immediately, the anxiety starts crawling in because she wants a revamped report in a few hours. Fortunately, the surreal office setting has some tricks up its sleeve. The answer is as simple as (Spoiler - click to show) making a copy of the report, but Minimax does not build bland office machines. Entering the storage closet opens a realm of worldbuilding as a plaque on the wall explains Minimax’s achievement of the Complexifier.
An old photocopier with a standard paper feeder and exit tray above and a maintenance compartment below.
The machine hums away oblivious to its obsolescence.
The Complexifier is currently switched on.
Apparently, the machine transforms the contents of the report itself, so it is more exciting, more informative, more… you know, content. Your boring report is now a Complex Report.
The report is overflowing with buzzwords, colorful graphs, and projections. It's a voluminous presentation explaining the year-end performance of Minimax Inc. It's substantially thicker than the original.
We now know that the game’s world is not bound by normal physics. Machines can alter the written word itself. It reminds me a little of the machines in Counterfeit Monkey (be sure to play that next) that change the spelling or meaning of your word to create a new product. It was here that I realized that Cubes and Ladders was not your typical “office game.”
I feel compelled to share this: Never have I encountered a cubicle maze that was kind of… nice to explore. In a calming and/or hypnotic way. It has atmosphere, a surreal dreaminess with an undertone of corporate monotony fizzling away in the background. Soon there will be nothing. It’s just you, wandering around a desert of workstations.
You're in a maze of empty cubicles. You could get lost in the sameness. The buzz and flicker of fluorescent lights surround you.
The writing conveys the mind-numbing monotony. But the artwork is what kicks in into a pleasing effect. The space becomes interesting. Combined, these formed a unique cubicle maze that I liked to get lost in.
Wait, there’s a cubicle maze? No, there’s no maze in this game. At first it seems like a vast, sprawling map, but it is considerably smaller after you take a few random laps. Nine locations in the maze, plus two storage closets. I made a map, but only because I felt like doing so. I didn’t need to. A far cry from the cubicle mega-maze in Above and Beyond!
Still, at the end of the day, a cubicle maze is still a cubicle maze.
The sticker features a cartoon lab rat holding the message: "Life is a maze we never escape."
So true. Including in this game.
Gameplay challenges: I came close to giving Cubes and Ladders five stars, but the implementation could use some more refinement.
For example, it does not take long to submit your snazzy new report to your boss, but when you do, she tells you to wait until 12:30 for the executive meeting to be over. This means having a few hours to fill where every turn takes up a minute. There are other tasks you can do until then, but one requires that you have the report, which is being used at the meeting. Therefore, you must wait until the meeting ends to make further progress.
The game does permit the “wait until [time]” function, but it needs to be more obvious that the feature is available. I only learned about it from the walkthrough. Technically, and I hope you only read this after you attempt a playthrough, (Spoiler - click to show) you can complete the entire game without ever giving your new report to your boss. As long as you win before noon.
The other little tidbit that kept bothering me had to do with (SPOILERS) (Spoiler - click to show) finding the research lab. You entice Ray with treats. When you give him the first treat (the melted Oreo), he tells you to keep up the good work and bring him more. It is established that the puzzle is to bring him a satisfactory quantity of snacks for him to help you. But if you give him the donut first, he allows you to access the lab and leaves without requiring another offering. Something about that seemed disjointed to me. It has the feeling of well what’s the point of having the Oreo to begin with? Trivial, but it stood out to me.
Also: The flashlight is trash. It's worse than the Anchorhead flashlight on day three. The laser pointer is far more reliable, although its lifespan too is limited.
The story is partly hinged on the circulating-rumor-in-the office concept, but it goes in unexpected directions. Fact is, Minimax is on the decline. When you hand in your revised report to your boss, (Spoiler - click to show) she gives you a memo that confirms that Minimax is laying off the remaining cubicle workers, including you. Sure, you get a severance package, but is that what you really want?
You can choose to dig deeper. There has been a change in management. Max Prophet Sr. was the founder of Minimax and a master at creating office machine inventions until he died in a work-related accident (it truly was an accident; in case you were thinking otherwise). The business has been handed down to Max Prophet Jr. who does not even pretend to know what he is doing. He fully admits to being unable to match his father’s potential. If only a clever employee would get the ball rolling… Message: you can save Minimax. But you won’t accomplish it by sitting around your cubicle waiting for the workday to end.
I welcomed this opportunity to find more Minimax inventions! I think the winning ending could have been a little more drawn out to see the impact of your discovery, but that’s just wishful thinking. You become innovator of the year with an office, but I wonder how long that will last. All you did was combine preexisting tech to complete a machine. I just hope Jordan Michael has what it takes match the founder’s legacy. What the heck, it’s still a good ending.
There are some alternate, less ideal outcomes to this game. I have a bone to pick with the flexibility of one of them. (Spoiler - click to show) If you fail to turn in the report by noon, you lose your job. If you succeed with that task, you have until 5pm before the workday ends and the game calls it quits. If you fail to save the company before 5PM, this is what happens:
The good news is that you're free to find a better job away from the struggling Minimax Inc. But too bad you didn't get a positive recommendation from your boss.
This ending is called: *** Best of Luck in Your Fast Food Career ***
BUT YOU DID GET A RECOMMENDATION. After handing in your updated yearly report, you are told that you will get a “glowing letter of recommendation.” Plus, that little memo notice you receive says that Minimax will provide you with severance. This ending has no mention of either. I feel like there should be two separate endings. One where you fail on your final day and are sent packing (resulting in the fast-food ending), and one where you get your promised recommendation and crawl off to whatever job that recommendation takes you. Instead, the game crams them into one ending.
We do not know much about Jordan Michael aside from a few fun facts provided when you examine yourself, but that’s okay since the game is directed as you (the player) rather than the protagonist’s identity. I suppose the name could be either male or female, so I’m just going to say that the character is gender neutral.
The NPCs in Cubes and Ladders are like fixtures of Minimax itself, creating a fatigued, fleeting atmosphere that goes well with the story and setting. This bleeds into the gameplay, making character interactions more passive, perhaps even at the expense of puzzles.
For example, there is a guard in the cubicle maze who will prevent you from going south, making it seem like there is something important down there. *Turns out, (Spoiler - click to show) you can access the south location by taking a three-move detour. What do we find? More cubicles. He is not guarding anything at all. The puzzle is not important, only what it says about the character’s relationship with Minimax (although you can make him fall asleep if you want). With Minimax downsizing, there is no need for someone to guard an empty cubicle farm. His job is obsolete. And yet, he’s been an employee for almost two decades. There is a sense of clinging to this identity as long as possible.
*Correction: Following a game update, you (Spoiler - click to show) can no longer bypass the guard. The puzzle is now required!
We see this trend in every character. Ray too has been a long-term programmer and muses about the company’s heyday. He almost regards himself as a cynical relic of the company who, despite his contributions, is not exempt from the possibility of being laid off. Meanwhile, Rich is an experienced employee who is 110% a team player, loyal to Minimax, and proud of it. While he is less likely to be laid off thanks to his position in financial sales, there is still an underlying anxiety about being let go.
I liked this portrayal of the NPCs because it alienates the protagonist (you’ve only been there for a few months, newbie) who is the only one moving around in search of a solution to Minimax’s problems. When face-to-face with an NPC, you never feel like you are being heard, which is partly the point. Every turn count, NPCs will spew work related but meaningless fragments of corporate buzz words, idle workplace chat, and self-absorbed ramblings about reports, profits, and Minimax products.
The tradeoff of having detached NPCs is that interactivity is reduced. I do wish they could respond to more dialog prompts. My favorite leave-me-alone line was, "'Run along, kid. I'm busy losing money here.'"
The writing is good, but not enough to stand on its own as a surreal game. The visuals bridge the gap to make the storytelling excellent. Every location has a visual that appears upon your entrance. A few appear to be heavily filtered photographs, but most are illustrations made with different mediums. My favorite ones were the office building at the start of the game and the drawing for the storage closet.
I loved the art, especially how it portrays the characters. People are silhouettes. You never quite see their faces, and if you do, it is a distorted appearance, often cast in shadows or strange angles. For example, when you first enter your cubicle for the 9AM meeting, you see your boss at your desk.
Your boss is sitting impatiently in your office chair.
The artwork shows her seated and facing away from you. Her outline is an angular haircut paired with a sharp business skirt and top. The shadows make it where you can’t quite tell where the chair and her body begin and ends. It is all melded into one figure. This visual left a strong impression on the character that the sentence could not convey on its own.
The entire time I kept wondering when the ladders would come in because the “cube” part was covered by the cubicles, but the second half of the title must be a symbolic reference to the corporate ladder concept. Makes sense. But yes, Cubes and Ladders was a great experience.
I would recommend this anyone, not because I think that everyone will like it, but because it offers something new for the surreal genre and “office game” concept. Besides, the gameplay is light. I’m not trying to lure you into a puzzle-fest extravaganza. If anything, try it for the visuals. The surreal elements simply pulled me in. Artwork, setting, characters, Minimax gadgets, you name it.
I hope the author continues to produce work like this. It is a great piece of surreal interactive fiction.
Scents & Semiosis is a collaborative piece about a perfumer leisurely browsing through their personal collection of perfumes to relive the memories associated with each scent.
This game is an Inform Vorple combo, and in this case, it is merely choice-based. Keyboards are not necessary to experience Scents & Semiosis. Just start by picking a perfume. The game will then give you a list of three perfume bottles to choose from. Each lead to a memory and a breakdown if its scent components.
Sweet musk, rough cherry orange zest, pink rose, juicy cinchona. Sadia was wearing it the only time you collaborated.
cinchona feels like the loyalty of progress
rose feels like subtle mentorship
musk could mean enthusiastic arousal
musk is suggestive of Sadia
None of these feel right. Reconsider.
You have no influence over the protagonist’s life and history. Choosing a perfume reveals a memory. What occurred in the memory is set in stone, but you decide how the protagonist feels about it by pairing a specific scent note in the perfume with an emotion or sentiment.
The memory doesn't mean what it used to. Perfumes fade. You set it aside.
Finally, you choose whether the protagonist keeps the perfume or discards it. In other words, is the memory worth cherishing or is it best left behind?
Above all, Scents & Semiosis is meant to be revisited. First time through you may play it until it satisfies your curiosity but returning to it from time to time when you are in the mood for such a game makes its effect enduring.
Considerations on structure
The big attraction with Scents & Semiosis is its extensive use of procedural generation that creates endlessly unique perfume bottles, perfume compositions, memories (down to the details), and scent meanings. I was amazed at how it never seemed to grow dull even as I was zipping through perfume after perfume without abandon. The game contains a link to some nicely organized source code if you are interested.
One side effect of this procedural generation was its broadening of my understanding of possible scents used in perfume. Not that this game is supposed to be a crash course. There is the familiar lavender, rose, jasmine, violet, and sweet pea. But what about hyssop, tonka, angelica, blood petitgrain, galangal, or jonquil? Some of these had me researching them just to see what they look like (and curious of what they smelled like).
Story + Characters
The protagonist is part blank slate, part well-rounded. You do not know much about them personally, but you do have fragments of memories. Just snippets and anecdotes though meaningful ones. What you see is different from playthrough to playthrough, and the game has a talent for painting a complex protagonist whom we realistically know nothing about.
You may find yourself visualizing yourself in the protagonist’s shoes, imaging what their experience was like. The writing, while brief, paints a diverse life. Countries visited, names of colleagues and rivals, lavish events, precarious escapades, humble encounters, of gaining inspiration simply by smelling the fragrance of a passing stranger. All told through perfume.
The cover art is beautiful, and its simple but concise design is present throughout the game. This artwork is then paired with honey coloured links and occasional light-yellow backdrops that create a minimalist beauty.
At the end, the game presents you with a lightly illustrated list of scents and the associations you selected for them. The illustrations are not of the scent itself, just an icon to add a pleasing appearance.
If you just finished playing an intensive 6-hour long puzzle fest game that fried your brain, consider Scents & Semiosis to wind down. It’s like the chamomile (which is also a scent!) of interactive fiction. The subject matter may not appeal to everyone, but there is a sense of tranquility and introspectiveness that carries its own merit. It’s not just a game about perfume. It’s also about memory. Plus, it is one of the most casual games I’ve played. Just you, digging through your collection on a lazy evening.
Even the game’s title has a nice ring to it. Scents & Semiosis....
Anyway. I enjoyed this game tremendously.
I've been looking forward to playing this one. It was announced to be released on the 31st if I recall. There is something fun about waiting for a game that is set to be released on a specific date so you can count the days until you can play it. In a way this game is an excellent "present" for the holidays (sorry if that sounds sappy), but guess what? The game’s intro takes place during the New Year, so I think that comparison is justified.
The first in the series was simply The Little Match Girl (unless the full title really is “The Little Match Girl, by Hans Christian Andersen” as is the case on the game’s listing). You do not need to play the first game to appreciate The Little Match Girl 2: Annus Evertens, but I recommend it. Essentially, a young girl is ordered by her father to sell matches on a cold day. After no success, the girl decides to use a match to warm her fingers. Upon seeing the flame, she is suddenly transported to another world.
The Little Match Girl 2 follows a similar fashion where flames act as a portal to other places and eras in history. The only difference is that our Match Girl is no longer trying to sell matches on a rainy day. As explained at the start of the game, she was adopted by a well-off philanthropist named Ebenezer Scrooge. She even has her own name now: Ebenezabeth Scrooge. Her purpose? A time-traveling assassin who provides services to clients looking to eliminate heartless individuals.
A young-girl-turned-assassin? I know that sounds gruesome, but not quite. I mean, the clients making the request are a group of sparrows. The game begins in London, 1846. We are in the Scrooge household- a simple but cozy apartment. It is Ebenezabeth’s birthday (or a celebration of when she was adopted), but she has received a sudden request for her services. On the roof are some sparrows who need to assassinate “a disgusting old man.”
The senior sparrow gave this upstart a reproving peck. "Don't be crass. 'Take care of' is how we put it. A certain someone, as I was saying. An old man—Older even than I!"
The player is transported throughout different times and places in history. Past, future, ones that fall out of any familiar timeline. It brings an exciting feeling that you never know where you will be sent next. Here, gameplay is organized into “chapters” that feature a setting. The goal for each is to find or obtain a flame that takes you to a new place. Often this is done indirectly. Rather than explicitly searching a space and its contents for a flame source, it will come to you as an unexpected result of a task or through creative solutions that feel reasonably clued.
My favorite puzzle was correlating the (Spoiler - click to show) cyberskull’s sparking mannerisms with the fossil fuel sludge to create a flame. It was well-hinted and the cyberskull was helpful in filling the gameplay with idle but relevant dialog about the player’s surroundings. A tour guide, really.
Thoughts on structure
The first game followed a “fetch quest” format of obtaining treasured objects for NPCs to advance the game which involved returning to the same locations. The Little Match Girl 2 departs from that model by confining tasks to a single location before traveling to the next area, which adds variety to the overall series. I do miss being able to revisit places, but then again, the worlds in this game are not quite as desirable (inside a (Spoiler - click to show) monster’s stomach, for instance) to return to. So, it works out in the end.
I do think the game loses steam a bit later with the (Spoiler - click to show) moon and (Spoiler - click to show) office locations. I loved finding myself smack in the middle of (Spoiler - click to show) Apollo 12. Interacting with Pete Conrad and Alan Bean (not to be confused with Alan Shepard) in their lunar rover was humorous although it lacked the depth showcased in the previous sections. The final solution with the sun, though, was clever.
The office is a high-quality and creative escape-the-room game with some of the best puzzles* in the entire game. However, it drifts from the story’s initial ambience. Throughout The Little Match Girl 2, Ebenezabeth’s core character is seeped into the gameplay. Here, you feel like you could be playing as a generic protagonist. This section is also considerably longer and more difficult, almost like a standalone game which may burn out players (fortunately, there is a generous hint system). *I was especially impressed with the painting/clock puzzle.
The Little Match Girl 2 is a sampler of topics. You know games that have a strong ambience that compel you to skulk around IFDB in hopes of finding another game that conjures up the same feeling and flavor of gameplay experience? I've experienced this with Greek mythology, certain murder mysteries, dystopian science fiction, romance that was actually not that bad, underdog protagonists who feel that thrill of glory after winning a competition against ruthless NPCs. Obviously, this game does not contain all of that, but I was surprised at how often it conjured up familiar memories about getting into a certain theme or historical setting.
The game carefully navigates gnarlier themes without sacrificing a sense of light-hearted whimsical enthusiasm as this girl takes on challenges across space and time. Given the bountiful content experienced in this game, you can almost forget about your overarching goal of assassinating this horrible man. After all, you have been lugging this (Spoiler - click to show) revolver around for the entire game.
We have minimal details besides his appearance, but once we find him, we start to see the goal’s (Spoiler - click to show) connection with the cover art. There is probably extra symbolism that I am overlooking (yes, I know what a stork means), and I also don’t to spoil everything. Just know, the sparrows are right about this guy. Sure, there are some mildly explicit parts, but even they are exquisite. The ending was lovely.
Ebenezabeth Scrooge is a cool protagonist, and I don't just mean her name: On the verge of freezing to death, the little girl manifested an ability to travel through time and space whenever she looked at fire.
It is quite a change from her previous self, but the change is believable. You can see an evolution. She may no longer be selling matches, but a common thread of traveling through a mere flame remains. And now her work is more meaningful. It’s one thing to see a character transform throughout the span of a single game, but seeing it occur through multiple games is its own experience. How old is she, anyway?
I was also pleased to see that the (Spoiler - click to show) cat made it into the second game.
The Little Match Girl 2 does not shy away from using some fun visual effects which is always nice to see in parser games. Each section has its own screen colour, ranging from tomato red to pale blue, that emphasizes a change in setting as the player is shuttled to the next scene. The game also uses different fonts, notably in the (Spoiler - click to show) journal from the Terrible Dogfish section.
Dear Diary. Some of these crew guys brought up the idea of resorting to cannibalism really fast.
The diary has a dramatic, sprawling cursive handwriting font.
Dear Diary. Luckily nobody had to eat each other.
The journal author’s frilly handwriting and insistence of “Dear Diary” in the darkest of times was humorous. And on that note, the writing in this game is excellent.
I only wish there was a way of scrolling to the top of the screen- I can’t find the scroll bar- because large sections of text sometimes get cut off when they appear all at once. I end up having to zoom out to read it all before zooming back in. Maybe that’s just me.
The Little Match Girl 2 is strong addition to the Match Girl series. It’s fun with a meaningful story and diverse puzzles. You may enjoy some “chapters” more than others, but they are all worth your time. Ebenezabeth Scrooge never fails to be an interesting character. If you like this game, consider playing the first one as well.
Several days ago, I visit IFDB and see this:
News on Even Some More Tales from Castle Balderstone: OFFICIAL PLAYER'S GUIDE November 22, 2022 An OFFICIAL PLAYER'S GUIDE is now available for Even Some More Tales from Castle Balderstone, with all kinds of tips and hints and solutions and maps. - Details
I wasn’t sure if I should cry. I had thoroughly played all the games (within the game) and completed them but one. Meanwhile, I was hearing all about (Spoiler - click to show) some secret bonus game that would be unlocked by completing the first four. The words “tips,” “hints,” “solutions,” and “maps,” in this announcement immediately pulled me back to the game so I could finally play it from start to finish. It also means I can give this awesome game a review.
This was an entry in last year’s Ecto-Comp and offers quite an experience. My understanding is that people besides Ryan Veeder wrote and created stories that he then implemented into parser to be showcased in Even Some More Tales from Castle Balderstone. An anthology.
It is the first game that I have played that splices Twine with Inform/Vorple. It begins in Twine. You are a guest at Castle Balderstone and are brought to a room where four cover art photos are displayed on the screen with the games’ titles. It felt like walking into a movie theater and looking at the posters. When you click on one you “walk” to an area where the author of the story is getting ready to read the story to an audience. This transitions to the parser where you can play the game. Immersive approach!
During the gameplay a sketch of the author is included on the right side of the screen with a small bio. It helps you appreciate the amount of brain power that went into each story. Even Some More Tales from Castle Balderstone is the amusement park and the games set within it are the rides. It has nothing to do with amusement parks/rides but that is the analogy that came to mind.
I will discuss this game first because it is the one that I could not complete without the walkthrough.
In Letavermilia you are playing as a bounty hunter tasked to hunt down a hacker who goes by, Letavermilia, the same name of a deadly plague that has run rampant across interstellar space. This is probably the most elegant space bounty hunter IF game I have played. The protagonist has worked their way up to become an “A-list bounty hunter” with high paying clients, and it shows. For one thing, the ship has been upgraded to something classier. If “space bounty hunter” does not sound like your cup of tea- think again. There is something about it that strikes a unique chord. Rather than a typical high action speed chase through space, an emphasis is placed on subtlety. If you try to examine a detail, chances are the game will have something to say about it.
We begin on Ligeia, an oceanic planet where you are vacationing. As you lounge peacefully on the hull of your fancy ship you get an urgent message to track down Letavermilia (the hacker). You are following a trail that she leaves behind. Gameplay involves decoding her messages to find the coordinates for the next planet you travel to. Before the walkthrough was published, I was stuck on (Spoiler - click to show) Zante, trying to decipher the message on the (Spoiler - click to show) etched panel. I feel like I should have been able to figure it out on my own. But I didn’t, and that’s that, I guess. Now I was able to go to the next planet. I was really excited to see what world was in store (and tired of guessing pitifully at travel coordinates). After that, I used the walkthrough on and off.
While gameplay has a narrow focus on one objective at a time, it still injects intriguing overarching story along the way. The big concern looming over everyone’s heads is Letavermilia, the plague. We get a smattering of interplanetary politics. Entire planets infected by the disease are quarantined. Meanwhile, uninfected affluent planets form an alliance called “Isolated Worlds” that cease contact with worlds outside this group.
The player is in a unique position because the PC’s bounty hunter credentials allow access to worlds that would otherwise be unavailable. I feel that the portrayal of bounty hunters in both IF and non-IF (or at least in what I’ve seen) tend to use a profile of a battered scoundrel who accepts shady contracts and walks a fine line with the law. The protagonist in Letavermilia is more privileged with glitzy clients and jobs received from entire governments.
I was not happy with the ending. No, no- It’s a fantastic ending. It’s an effective ending. I disliked it simply because it did not end how I wanted it to end. This may surprise you, but if I were to assess the ending of every story in this game and decide on the scariest, it would be this game without a doubt.
What do I mean by scary? I don’t mean spooked scary where everyone around the campfire screams because they heard a small noise out in the words. The feeling I associate with this ending is deep dread that sets in only when it is too late. You realize what just happened, quietly, without the game having to spell it out for you. (Spoiler - click to show)
Your nose is bleeding.
This bounty hunter had in the bag only to discover that the villain (who, technically, we still never meet) has been holding everything in the palm of her hand. I was rooting for the PC. If it weren’t for the villain, we would be swimming about leisurely on Ligeia. Plus, there is only one ending. In the other three games you can negotiate for happier ones.
This sense of dread is not a sudden event. It develops slowly through the gameplay, and you hardly even know it until it reaches the end. A trend is that (Spoiler - click to show) planet locations generally have small maps that you navigate freely and yet they manage to convey a feeling of being funneled along in a direction regardless of your choices. The anxious man who is a little too zealous about your presence (and your teeth, for some reason) as he escorts you up and down the narrow stairwell to look at the server room. The dust storm that keeps you confined to the area around your ship. The deep elevator (my favorite) that shuttles you deep underground to a concrete room. And somehow this hacker manages to leave her messages before you arrive. You are in control, but ultimately, you are not. The extent of this is not revealed until you paint yourself into a corner. Then- surprise! Down you go. That’s what makes this game scary.
Before I move on, I want to share my favorite planet, (Spoiler - click to show) Ulalume. Here, you are at a planet devoted to the nightlife. While planets are consumed by disease, partygoers continue to live extravagantly without any thought that the vast resources of the Isolated Worlds could be spent- I don’t know- coming up with a cure, maybe? Or maybe they simply want to distract themselves from it. People on this planet have a lot of ways of trying to distract themselves. You use an elevator to reach the bottom level. Its glass walls allow you to see the establishments on each floor. The farther down, the more unsettling things we see.
Now you can see through the haze. Humans are sprawled over velvet pillows, wearing expressions of vacant satisfaction.
No one cares that you are plunging deep underground in an elevator to reach a cold concrete room with a message from a hacker who borrows inspiration from a deadly plague. Now, that’s atmosphere.
Visit Skuga Lake
Your boss went to write some articles on a little-known town but has gone missing. As her intern, you travel to the town to investigate only to be thrown into a motel closet. Seems like outsiders are unwelcome. I did not need the hints for the Visit Skuga Lake because I had already devoured back when I first found the game. I mapped that place to death. Notes, lists, you name it. I did consult the guide’s amulet/eyestone chart because it is much more organized than the table I created.
When I first played Visit Skuga Lake last year during Ecto-Comp, I remember the parser being a tad slow with my commands. It would take about half a second- just enough to be noticeable- for the game to respond. But not really a big deal. When I replayed it a few days ago the delay time was even slower. The longer I played the greater the lag. By the time I managed to (Spoiler - click to show) retrieve the key from the sleeping guard and get the boat running to reach the smaller island it was taking three full seconds for the game to respond to each command. I’m not sure why. This was not a big deal since I already knew what to do, but if this were my first ever playthrough, experimentation would be a nightmare.
This game has heaps of cool content. Every animal, landmark, and found object have important content attached to it. What I like best is how there are plenty of puzzles, but their solutions are flexible. While many puzzles are optional, pursuing them are still relevant to your objectives because they follow a similar concept. (Spoiler - click to show) You collect animal amulets and eyestones. When paired together, they give you powers- a wide variety of powers. Experimenting with them is so much fun. You do not need to find every (Spoiler - click to show) magical item, but it is a welcome task, and one that will likely prove useful later in the gameplay. Experimentation is the main attraction. I hope the lag is just an issue on my end. That aside, the story, gameplay, and characters are excellent. Lag-time or not Visit Skuga Lake is a must play if you feel like sampling the stories in Even Some More Tales from Castle Balderstone.
Singing for Me
Definitely, my favorite in all of Even Some More Tales from Castle Balderstone. It is meant to be played repeatedly and offers a lot of strategizing. My high score is (Spoiler - click to show) $1938. "I suppose this is adequate," said the Waldgrave. I’m still proud of it.
The protagonist is a young man returning home after college. He tells the story through humorous journal entries shaped by the player’s choices. The entries depict an oddball town that grows weirder and weirder in a way that suggests normalcy in its community. If you keep shuffling along with the town’s traditions, you get sucked right in. Next thing you know, the (Spoiler - click to show) Harvest Festival arrives. The ending is delightfully disturbing and unexpected. Even better is the redeeming ending. The game makes the player work for it, but it is fulfilling. I’d share more but I’m already starting to sound like (Spoiler - click to show) Darren.
Nyvo the Dolphin
This game gave me a lot to think about. If you happened to be standing on a tall cliff while staring at the ocean and see a dolphin equipped with a (Spoiler - click to show) prosthetic arm, a (Spoiler - click to show) grenade launcher, and some (Spoiler - click to show) foreign object in its eye, what scenario would play through your head? What explanation would emerge as you try to rationalize what you just saw? Nyvo the Dolphin has the answers. An adolescent dolphin comes across a shipwreck. Not some storybook pirate shipwreck but the wreckage of a high-tech ship carrying (Spoiler - click to show) classified military cargo. The highlight is the writing. It has a dramatic yet clinical tone as it narrates Nyvo’s encounter with (Spoiler - click to show) dangerous human technology…and how he is changed by it. It’s also in third person which makes it even more potent.
You mean there’s (Spoiler - click to show) more?
Finally, this was the moment I was waiting for. (Spoiler - click to show) The bonus content: a FIFTH game. Hunted , if I remember correctly. A stop and start Christmas nightmare. I think. This kid is on the run in the North Pole. When he gets caught* the gameplay switches where you are the “Bad” version of the kid. The Good and Bad version of the kid’s identity battle it out as you flip flop between two gameplay sequences. And then sometimes the parser would kick back to the Twine format where everyone is sitting in a circle to hear a story before launching into more gameplay. It was overwhelming. Cool, but overwhelming. At one point I was in a cozy house, but then that changed. The entire time I was all, “wait- stop, stop, stop. I wasn’t done yet!” I would gladly replay the entire game to revisit it if not for the lag issue I had with Visit Skuga Lake.
Nonetheless, I am so happy to have reached this point.
*Also: (Spoiler - click to show) I found a key that presumably unlocks the office door, but right before I reach it Krampus gets me. Is it possible to outrun him or is failing the whole point?
A truly ambitious piece. It also defies the notion of quality over quantity, or quantity or quality. It’s a quality game, and there’s lots of it! A lot of planning and care seems to have gone into its creation. Sometimes you may find yourself coming back just to revisit one of the stories. Especially Singing for Me. There is something in it for a wide range of audiences in terms of length, technicality, and subject matter. Make sure you turn on the rainy music that the game recommends before you start playing.