Reviews by verityvirtue

IFComp 2022

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View this member's reviews by tag: 2018 choleric ECTOCOMP ECTOCOMP 2016 IFComp 2015 IFComp 2016 IFComp 2017 IFComp 2022 Introcomp Ludum Dare melancholic melancholy parser phlegmatic Ren'Py sanguine Spring Thing 2015 Spring Thing 2016 sub-Q Tiny Utopias
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1-5 of 5

INK, by Sangita V Nuli

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
song-like exploration of grief, October 22, 2022
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: IFComp 2022, melancholic

A grieving narrator finds a letter with a secret. Playthrough: 10-15 mins

This short game had the cadence of song lyrics, and I found Texture a good fit for the story: I ended up reading the verb (which, in Texture, you drag to the relevant word in the prose) like a sort of chorus.

The loss is depicted as historic, yet the narrator’s feelings are raw, unaddressed, difficult to disclose to others. That gave the developing story a creeping horror(Spoiler - click to show), one which can be read as literal or metaphysical.

I have only minor gripes related to the aesthetics of the platform itself - I wish Texture would display the text at the same size regardless of the amount of text on screen, and so could be more legible. But this is no fault of the author, and I’m not inclined to attribute it to pacing.

A commendable use of this particular platform to tell a story about an unresolved, malignant grief.

Through the Forest with the Beast, by Star

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
a short fugitive monster escape, October 21, 2022
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: choleric, IFComp 2022

You are a fugitive, running through the woods in search of safety.

A highly branching but short story - I reached an ending in about 15 minutes.

I came up against a number of technical issues: I found the text hard to see against the background, and there were a couple of typos.

An inconsistent tone undermined the game’s mood. This was both in the dialogue and environment descriptions - contrasting with both the internal monologues and the theme. Also, I always expect any customisation options to play an important role in shaping the character, however these had minimal effect on the story.

While the core themes were promising, they felt underdeveloped. Themes of identity and the “us vs them” of humanity vs monsterhood all have great potential - with more focus on the narrator's developing self and how it interacts with other characters, it could definitely form a more focused story.

Let Them Eat Cake, by Alicia Morote

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
scavenger hunt-style game with a dark undertone, October 19, 2022
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: IFComp 2022, sanguine

CWs as given in the starting screen: violence, implied murder, and implied animal cruelty

You are assistant to baker Benoit in this small town, and your first day coincides with the Saving Day Festival. What better chance to get to know your neighbours?

The small town with secrets is a well-worn trope of interactive fiction. Different authors and games handle it differently, and in this case this dark side is given a relatively light touch for most of the game. There is signposting throughout the story where the choices get more explicitly horrifying, which I found was a nice tone adjuster

What Let Them Eat Cake did really well was establishing the discomfiting experience of intruding on a close-knit community. Even with nothing explicit going wrong, there is enough awkwardness in the narrator’s interactions with other townsfolk, reaching a satisfying ending in the conclusion when the core secret is revealed.

The game is a good length to replay to try and get another ending as well, or to uncover more about the neighbours. No flashy implementation or mechanical tricks here, but solid storyline, good handling of the themes and enough detail in key characters to be intriguing.

Under the Bridge, by Samantha Khan
the monster under the bridge finds a home, October 19, 2022
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: IFComp 2022, melancholic

CW: gore, violence

You, the narrator, are the monster under the bridge. Prowling in the night to catch unwary travellers.

There is gore; the narrator is a man-eating monster, after all, but the prose reads almost a nature documentary - not revelling in the gore, but framing it as a necessity.

Little bells and whistles: simple text effects which some might find distracting; hand-drawn illustrations which I quite enjoyed.

This story had clear branching and multiple endings which encourages replay, some endings more unexpected than others.

Who Shot Gum E. Bear?, by Damon L. Wakes

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
comic noir: the world is candy, October 7, 2022
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: IFComp 2022, sanguine

In the best tradition of noir crime fiction, you are a private eye, tasked by the police to find out who murdered Gum E. Bear. The world is indeed candy, but it’s not been the same since the old taffy plant closed down…

This was mostly a conversation-led game, in which you bring up topics and characters to each character. The scope is nicely pared down to the bare minimum, without feeling constrained.

The writing had a light touch overall - from the cultural references (”the sky was tainted by the old taffy factory”) to the dialogue - keeping the whole candy theme from becoming overly saccharine (sorry, had to do it).

Overall pretty straightforward, with what I thought was a very clever resolution/’correct’ ending.

implementation: good

mechanics: time-honoured

storyline: good

writing: just right

1-5 of 5