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About the Story
How to renew an old story? Put some new circumstances into the game. An old dating sim of mine, made for Twiny Jam is completed with a few new details.
69th Place - 28th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2022)
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Number of Reviews: 5
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I have no idea if using the term "short" is even the right word to use for this game. It says dating simulator when there is no proper dating involved except for some awkward lines written when you choose with whom to go on a date.It jumps from the presentation phase straight to the date.
Even the 'Edit 1,2,3,4' who are available for the dating, only have a tiny description. Some of the "character presentation/meeting you for the first time" sentences are even more awkward.
There is a serious need for some massive rewriting on this game if the author wants to get a higher rating.
From the picture, blurb, and length on the IFComp page (which I swear used to say 2 hours, but I think I must have misread it because now it says 15), I expected this game to a big, polished Twine game with cool visuals, like Porpentine's Crystal Warrior Ke$ha.
Unfortunately, this is a very short Twine game with 1 major area, with simple links to rooms and back (each room being one passage). State doesn't seem be to be tracked at all. Almost all the endings are just vague statements that you slept with someone.
I think the author can do better. This kind of game can be written up in 30 minutes or an hour. That doesn't mean you can't make a great game in that time, but it's hard and needs good luck. I'd like to see more length and/or effort and/or cool new idea.
Adapted from an IFCOMP22 Review
4 Edith + 2 Niki proclaims itself a dating sim, but this game is not what those words suggest to me. It all feels very slapdash. You enter on the grounds of psychiatric hospital I think. This setting is almost never referenced again. I guess you work there, because you are presented with a corridor of offices to visit. The descriptive text of what is on this corridor does not match the choices on offer. This is a befuddling choice. Twine lets you embed the destinations in the description itself, itís MORE work to provide two (incompatible) versions! You visit all 6 rooms, barely interact with their occupants, then pick one to date. One of the choices here is a date that was not referenced in ANY of your initial conversations so you kind of have to deduce who itís referring to. Did I mention one of the interactions has a weird sexual harassment vibe?
Selecting the date presents an end screen. Thatís it. No time to build Sparks of Joy let alone Engagement, though the text was really too awkward to supply either of those anyway. Besides its really rushed presentation, the thing that sticks out most is the amped up Bro tone of the thing.
Bear with me while I expand a bit on the genus and phylum of Bro-tone. All Bro-tone comes from the same extended lineage that culminated in the 80s/90s teen sex farces. Its key hallmarks were 1) faintly knuckleheaded cis dumbasses 2) carefree good humor 3) treating women as sex objects to achieve and 4) inhabiting narratives where the world happily rewarded all of those. (There was another gene, 5) Gay Panic, that is not relevant here.) And it was toxic as hell, once we looked at it close enough. Prominent in movies like Porkies, and I donít know Joy Sticks (deep cut!), but really you couldnít swing a dead cat in a cineplex and not hit one back then. Nowadays it is most readily identified by its excessive, prejorative use of the word Ďwoke.í
There was a key mutation in the late 80ís that forked the line. Iím speaking of course of Bill and Tedís Excellent Adventure. This mutation dramatically diluted gene #3 above, and somehow made the species stronger. Suddenly, knuckleheaded amiability could rise unfettered by toxicity. Subsequent mutations actually flipped the gene to engage women as people, and even modified #5. At first haltingly in supporting characters in American Pie, then fully-fledged in Neighbors or its Final Boss form, Josh Segarra in his roles in She-Hulk and The Other Two. Spoiler alert, this is NOT the Bro-tone phylum 4E+2N showcases.
The Bro-tone main line had another mutation in the last 4-7 years - a new gene of mocking self-awareness. Where the joke is how awful the main line is by subtly amplifying the meanness of the worst if its excesses. A great example of this line is Michael Cheí on SNLís Weekend Update. He deadpan advocates the most insane, exaggerated Bro-tone behaviors for laughs. Colin Jostís role here is indispensable - his comedically beleaguered disapproval is vital to the identification of this strain. Superficially it is so similar to the main branch they can easily be mistaken for each other.
And these separate-but-similar Bro-tones are where we are in 4E+2N. My first ending I was presented with (Spoiler - click to show)"Over the years, you realize that she's a little hysterical, but which woman isn't."
My impulse was to hear it in Michael Cheís voice and snorted in amusement. My second ending had a less over-the-top but clearly still Bro-tone blurb that made me question what I was looking at. As I contemplated a third run, I realized I was holding a Schroedingerís cat box. At this point, the game was in superposition between the two Bro-tone lines. If I opened the box with a third run, it was going to concretize into one or the other. I donít think I want that.
Playtime: Less than 10min, two runthroughs.
Artistic/Technical rankings: Mechanical/Intrusive
Would Play Again? I dare not trifle with the quantum superposition.
Artistic scale: Bouncy, Mechanical, Sparks of Joy, Engaging, Transcendent
Technical scale: Unplayable, Intrusive, Notable (Bugginess), Mostly Seamless, Seamless
This game is apparently about selecting parties. It is chaotic and confusing, but not in a good way. You are in a courtyard that contains several offices, within each is a character looking to have a fun time. (Spoiler - click to show) After browsing your options, you get to pick who to visit. A small paragraph describing the encounter appears on screen and the game just ends. There is no story structure.
I find it so frustrating when Twine games do not have any indicator that the game is over, and instead either leave the player with a blank screen or a screen with text minus a concluding passage (does not necessarily have to be link) that confirms that the game is over. Just some indicator will do. Otherwise, I get the impression that I came across a broken page. It is like someone singing and they decide not to sing the last line. This game (Spoiler - click to show) opts for the latter, and they hardly feel like endings.
Visually, everything is organized well enough. Then again, there is hardly anything to critique because the game is so short. It sticks with the standard visual model of black screen, white text, and purple links. But that is the only positive in this game.
4 Edith + 2 Niki is too incomplete for this competition. It was tough to even find the gameís main idea and story. Feel free to check it out if you want, it will only take up a minute of your time.
This game is just about as brief as they come. There were so few details that I didn't really get any imagery in my mind. However, it did create a certain feel. Rather than describe what it was like, I would say give it a try. It's so quick, you may as well experience it to make up your own mind.