Yet again, this author astounds me with a total reimagining of the IF navigation model. Yet again, it puts the typical model to shame.
I love how this isn't just gimmick (though that would have been enough) - the gameplay ties into the story and setting absolutely perfectly. The visuals evoked are fantastic, and the entire thing is a shining homage to some of the most iconically bizarre products of the masquerade era. If only it were illustrated accordingly!
This game definitely isn't for everybody. The overall feeling of melancholy and wasted potential never lifts. There is no choice that will not make you feel trapped and resentful. The disorienting lack of clear direction was likely intentional, but holy cow did I ever get tired of playing "guess the direction!" while the NPC I was trying to talk to ran to another room.
In the end, I was too overwhelmed by frustration with the ineffectual main character's lack of meaningful decision-making (stay in hospital slightly longer? agree with someone's else's decision? file invoices??) to do anything more than sleep the last few days. For crying out loud, MC, this is why we have feminism! Dump the husband! Move out on your own! Ride a motorcycle! For once in your pathetic life, TAKE A REAL RISK!
No question, this is absolutely my favorite IF of all time. Between the fantastically written characters, incredibly creative setting, and innovative navigation interface, I can hardly choose a favorite aspect! In a medium that typically shirks character interaction to hide its weaknesses, a work of IF that boldly embraces is highly welcome.
I've kept up with Cherrywell's comics since Muertitos, and as a longtime IF fan, was very thrilled to see them branch into the medium. Works very well for their signature quirky humor! Lots of cute jokes, but the fruit puzzle had me banging my head. Also, never knew (Spoiler - click to show)drive-in screens were made of silver...
Finally, something worthy of the term "Lovecraftian"! The game keeps you moving without seeming too easy in a way that few of this length do. Keeps up the mystery wonderfully, definitely worth a play.
Excellent game! As others have said, it's well worth challenging yourself to complete it without the walkthrough. Word of advice, though - do NOT save after answering any questions UNTIL you've been given the okay by the principal!! Needless repetitive hell when you realize you've messed that up. (Otherwise, proud to say I finished in a matter of hours, though I did have to check the walkthrough after somehow failing to examine the rope :P)
As someone else said, the clock tick is really inconsistent, so undo is your best friend here. Above all, it's not as hard as it seems, so long as you keep notes on the offset from current time for each version of yourself.