Mirror and Queen

by Chandler Groover profile


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Superb fracture on Snow White., January 6, 2017
by Ruber Eaglenest
Related reviews: IF Comp 2016

Disclaimer: (Spoiler - click to show)Hi, this are the reviews I did in the the IFComp 2016. I’m Ruber Eaglenest. Co-author of The skyscraper and the scar, and entry of that year. The review is posted without edition, and need some context about how I reviewed and rated the games. So, apart of my bad English I hope to be constructive. I will point to the things I don't like of the game, but I hope to be helpful. The structure I follow is this: Title, one line review, two to five word; Mobile friendliness, overall, score phrased based on IF comp guidelines. I had back ache and so that’s why I played most games in Android mobile, I looked closely at how games behave on mobile and review and vote based on that.

Mobile friendly: not at all. The CSS has some problems yet and the frame eats the whole space in Android mobile. I think the author is working on that.

Overall: Amazing work that let me pretty excited about in my very first turns. The very concept of it. That marvellous cover. That the play is inside the mirror. The striking beautiful prose of Chandler Groover. I was imagining this as a pretty app for desktop, mobiles and tables alike where the responses of the mirror would fade-in in a pretty rendered calligraphic font as if they were emerging from the mirror as as if it was the surface of a lake of calm dark waters. I think Chandler could do that, with the help of some friends, and sell this for money. (ow! ow! imagine it, with permanent voice recognition: “Mirror, mirror, tell me about…”)

I think any game about consulting a magic mirror, or that has magic mirrors in it, is a winner. I loved the mirror in The wolf among us, and I loved this too.

After too much excitement I was a little disappointed when I learned that it is a retelling of Snow White. I would prefer that the story was about a new Queen, and not that is about THAT Queen and Princess AGAIN, that has been retold thousands of times. However I quickly left that negativity aside and just enjoyed the work. That was worth it because the ending would not be so powerful if it would be for another queen and another princess. It is a great idea and sometimes great ideas must float above the used tropes.

I hope Chandler releases a postmortem, postcomp, because I would like to know how the innards work. How it was made. The mirror is not just a simple input-output information machine. It reflects intelligence (or fakes it, but whatever it does, it works).

I’ve seen that there are has been some criticism about the lack of agency. And that the author says that it is a game that last from 15 to 40 minutes. On the contrary I think it has a too long play for the kind of work. But that is alleviated because the save system works so well. You can consult the mirror, leave it and coming back to it for more (oh! an autosave feature for quiting the game would be awesome, like in roguelikes). So, that’s fine. Respect interactivity and agency, it is the kind of work about database consultation, as in 500 apocalypses, or some works of fiction proposed by Borges and Cortazar, so in that respect Mirror and Queen is just perfect as is. It needs not to go “out of the mirror”.

However some last sentences in the very last turns suggest that maybe there is some zntvp jbeq jub jbhyq punatr gur bhgpbzrf, but maybe I'm misreading or loosing in translation. And that’s why I would like to know more about, in a postmortem.

Final fun fact. I was playing the very last turns while listening to Dark Souls III, song Prologue, and the crescendo fitted so well with the matter at hand that it was a tremendous climax. Keep in mind that when you make the commercial version, Chandler, you'll need an audio engineer who could built a dynamic soundtrack that adapts itself to the countdown of the story.

Score: Excellent. I would give it a 10 if it were not for the trope story.

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