Ratings and Reviews by autumnc

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They Will Not Return, by John Ayliff
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Taco Fiction, by Ryan Veeder
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Reigns: Her Majesty, by Leigh Alexander, Devolver Digital, François Alliot, Nerial
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Anonymous Connection, by moniker ersatz
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Sentry, by JoshLabelle
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I Told You This Was A Bad Idea, by Jessica Padkin
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Binary, by Stephen Granade

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Short story about binary choices, September 15, 2021

This story felt to me a lot like a much abbreviated version of Analogue: A Hate Story. If you've played that game, then the comparison itself might be a spoiler. This game is short enough that the premise kind of *is* the plot twist. (Spoiler - click to show)One difference is that Hyun-ae of Analogue destroyed the ship out for revenge, while Almira the stationmaster here destroyed the station out of a utilitarian ethical calculation.

I really enjoyed this. The choices are mostly binary choices until near the end; at first I thought there would only be two verbs (approach or withdraw), but there are others, like conversation options. All paths lead to the stationmaster telling the protagonist about the events that occurred aboard the ship, and then the protagonist deciding whether or not to agree or sympathize with the stationmaster. I liked the writing and flow of the story, the way everything came together at the end, and the final choice.

Anyway, the game takes less than 10 minutes, so it's pretty easy to try out.


VERSUS: The Lost Ones, by Zachary Sergi
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What Girls Do In The Dark, by olivebranche
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Sordwin: The Evertree Saga, by Thom Baylay

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Supernatural investigative mystery, August 30, 2021
by autumnc
Related reviews: hosted games

Sordwin is one of the deepest and broadest Hosted Games that I've played. It is a mystery game with one central mystery and many smaller mysteries, all connected together in a tangled web of relationships, lies, and secrets that the player will have to unravel. I enjoyed playing this game a great deal, and I've played it many times to see more of the possibilities.

The game is a sequel to the earlier Evertree Inn, and copies and expands on its predecessor's mechanics. There is a time-based mechanic, where within certain blocks of time, the player has a great deal of freedom to investigate various locations and leads, in a hub-and-spoke design (there's a time limit that restricts how much investigation can be done). It's a much more freeform structure than is typical with choicescript games, which encourages replayability and is just fun to play with. There are also "scripted events" at certain times, emergencies that move the plot forward. The mystery itself is very well designed in my opinion. While there is a clue system that keeps track of many of the events, ultimately the deduction has to be done by the player; even getting all of the clues will not directly give up the answer to the central mystery.

Sordwin is set in the same world as Evertree Inn, which is loaded with typical Western fantasy tropes - elves, dwarves, wizards, and all that. But within these confines, the worldbuilding is pretty interesting - the mysteries of the island of Sordwin itself are quite involved. I enjoyed the writing and characters; the inhabitants of the island are all more complex than they seem at first. This isn't a romance game, but if that were pursued in the first game, then the romanced character carries over and plays a major role here. It's incredible to me how well the author has managed the possibility for combinatorial explosion, given all the options present between the two games, which becomes even more of an issue in the third game in this series.

Like the mechanics, the game's stat system is copied over from Evertree Inn, and the character build from Evertree Inn is basically fixed, without opportunities to radically change. I don't think the game is heavily stats-driven, in that basically any character build is valid, but playing with different builds unlocks different possibilities.



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