This game was written for the Single Choice jam. As such, it is designed more as a short story, adding interactivity only to punctuate important feelings.
As such, this game relies heavily on the writing quality and the styling of the game. And I felt that this game pulled off both of these very well; having played Fallen London (and finished the Nemesis ambition, although with a different choice than the author), it was clear that this was an author's depiction of her own character and the features/items they possess, but the descriptions were skillfully woven into the story rather than being dumped all at once.
The styling is nice as well, with gentle colors and subtle animations that I thought were just my eyes tricking me at first.
The overall story is a monologue of sorts from an interesting perspective. There are several stories, for decades, of (Spoiler - click to show)'they came back from the dead, but wrong', but this one gives the viewpoint from the other side. Maybe the reason someone else feels (Spoiler - click to show)you came back wrong is because they changed, not you. A lot of food for thought.
It's hard to know how much playing Fallen London affects the feel of playing the game; the ambitions are hard, and it's likely that < 2000 people have completed it. But I think this story has some elements that everyone can appreciate.
This is a parser game entered in the single choice jam, which requires that games only allow a single choice throughout the game.
This takes a clever spin on things by making you only capable of one real action at a time. There are many small things you can do: looking around, taking inventory, etc. But only one action really works.
It took me a bit to find what it was, which was frustrating at first.
Once I did, the game took on new dimensions, basically showing everything that could go wrong with a family party when your values and self-concept don't align with theirs.
Short and constrained, but impactful.
This game always shows up on lists when I'm searching alphabetically, due to its use of parentheses, so I wanted to review it.
It's a Twine game that makes heavy use of 3d isometric perspectives. You play as a little rabbit whose world has suddenly gotten a lot larger.
The game has a kind of mix of cynical and dadaist worldviews. The characters make rape jokes and use strong profanity, drug use is mentioned frequently, and there is a long quest to see the color of the sky, which can break your mind.
The visuals were very nice. The overall philosophy reminded me of late stage Beatles. I think the game is well put together, but it didn't move me emotionally.
This was made for the Single Choice Jam, and it takes that format in a straightforward way. The game has a linear text that spools out until the single choice, upon which the ending spools out.
The styling is done well, with a moody background color and font (as well as well-chosen graphical icons) that add a lot to the flavor of the game.
The story is about Orpheus and Eurydice, told in an engaging and dark style.
Most takes I've seen on this classic story are subversions, so I was expecting the twist in the first ending I saw. But I didn't expect the second, and overall felt this was pretty creative.
The interactivity was the weakest point, but that is severely limited by the jam.
Having played many recent Autumn Chen games in the last year or two, I saw a lot of references to Pageant, and thought, 'I don't really remember that game well'.
Turns out, I never played it! I mixed it up with another game and never even tried it.
Having tried it, it's pretty great. It's clearly influenced by Emily Short's Bee; both use the same system (one from when it was a semi-commercial system and another after it became Dendry). Both are based on quality-based narratives that play out over several weeks, both are about a certain type of rigorous, conservative upbringing, one by fundamentalist Christians and oene by Chinese diaspora parents.
However, this is certainly not just a retread of familiar material. Our main heroine, Karen (whom I recognize from several other games) has a unique and complex approach to life that makes choices not straightforward. Karen is thoughtful and compassionate but also is under enormous stress and has social anxiety at times that makes intended choices (like responding and so on) impossible to actually carry out.
One fundamental aspect is that Karen is extremely competent but does not see herself that way. She does 95% of what a human is capable of doing, but only sees that 5% gap. She works with adult research scientists but only sees her ineptness; she is told frequently she is beautiful but only sees awkwardness; she is loved by others but only fears rejection.
But the key is that she acts in spite of these fears; she just keeps on trucking.
Having played other 'pageantverse' games I immediately narrowed in on interacting with (Spoiler - click to show)Emily as much as possible. This game explores young trans interactions quite a bit: what does a trans relationship look like? Actually, that's not true; this game isn't about 'trans relationships' first; it's just about relationships, and what happens when someone being trans is thrown in the mix. Some of the tensest moments in the game for me were switching between private moments with my friend being able to express herself however she wanted and public moments with her family where the expectation was 'be normal or get punished'.
Overall, I'm glad that this wasn't a 'downer ending' game. I was able to succeed in my goals (being close to someone and doing good in pageant + research while being mediocre in science olympiad and basically ignoring family).
A strong game, and it's clear why it spawned several good followups.
This game takes place in the same universe as Pageant and New Year's Eve, 2019.
This has one of the best mechanics I've seen used in the Single Choice Jam, which requires that players can only make one choice of any important.
What this game does is have many choices in a short-but-not-inconsequential game, but almost all of the options are greyed out (something I've seen in games like Depression Quest, but not recently). So you get lots of 'choices', and can see what you could have tried, but can only make one choice. This is great at giving the illusion of choice in a positive way.
The story is messy, like a lot of real-life relationships are. You have someone you mutually confessed attraction for months ago, but covid has happened and you haven't seen each other. Now you're isolated and it's so lonely. You contact your person and...well, the rest is what the game is about.
Some strong profanity, which seemed to fit the characters and situation. Overall well-written.
This is a brief Ink game entered in the Single Choice jam.
You play as a creature newly formed, emerged from a chrysalis. Being exposed to the brave new world, the creature must adapt quickly, especially since a human approaches.
The game is very short, but the writing is solid, from an alien perspective. Despite the single choice, there is real agency, as all of the endings give logical but not straightforward.
Brief but enjoyable.
This game unrolls as you read through the documentation of a certain piece of software, digging into its API, its pipelines, its documented users, and, at the end, its chat logs.
The dry format allows for contrast with the futuristic setting and the drama-filled true story.
It's surprising this game was able to be made in less than 4 hours, but less surprising if the author already had experience in creating such documentation. Either way, it's an amazing feat.
Very well done. The format did keep me at a distance emotionally, but the story was effective.
In this game, you call your son to apologize for not picking him up.
The reason you didn't pick him up? That's...complicated. The actual answer depends on your choices. You have a few 'main' choices and then a chance to add details.
The system is interesting, with realist options on what to do with the voicemail once you run out of time.
I played about 3 or 4 times and liked each of them. An expanded version of this would be fascinating, but a lot of the appeal here is from the wild branching, and that would quickly get out of hand.
I like this game, the kind of inherent symmetry it has.
It starts with introducing you to a young trio who have recently escaped from a cult and want to do what anyone would do in that situation: start making a movie!
You have several options on what to spend the money on, like a better monster or better set.
While one early option will lock you out of victory, others will lead you onward to greater glory. I had one ending I loved and another that was pretty good.
There's not a lot of game here, but it has plenty of character.