shadows on the mirror

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Number of Reviews: 5
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2 of 21 people found the following review helpful:
Nowhere to Go, No-one to Root for, and Nothing to Do, August 2, 2009
by AmberShards (The Gothic South)

I swear that I don't understand some IF games, and this is one of them. After fiddling and fiddling with the game, I can't find anything to do. You're chained to some guy and you can't escape. In the end you're back home. What happens in between the two points is really just one long exercise in frustration.

The whole "Spend time talking to someone you hate" thing is not fun AT ALL. (Maybe the female gender loves this sort of thing for reasons I'd rather not psychoanalyze. Someone did add this game to a romance list. Yeah. That in itself is creepier than the entire game.) And it's a one-room game, so your claustrophobia is off the charts, but not in a creepy or terror-inducing way, but in a frustrating way. You might end up quitting the game out of boredom before the end comes, but if you hang around for it, there's nothing spectacular awaiting you. That's the ultimate insult.

The ending itself doesn't even seem that awful, so the entire point of the game is pointless. Not only that, but the big feature of the game -- conversation -- is implemented as standard ask/tell. No, there are no topics. No, there is no "Talk" verb. Argh! And if that wasn't enough, there are profanities included for your discomfort, reminding us that the PC is just as scuzzy as the NPC.

So to sum, there's nowhere to go, no-one to root for, and nothing to do.

Comments on this review

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Peripheral, November 2, 2009 - Reply
It sounds like you missed the main puzzle of the game, and that's unfortunately easy to do. Talking to the NPC and examining your surroundings are essential, but if you aren't enjoying that then getting to see the rest of the game probably won't make it any more fun for you. And that's fine. Not everyone's going to like any one game.

As to it being creepy that this game could be considered a romance, it is...if you miss the main puzzle.

It's a fairly mild spoiler, but I'll use the tags to be safe.

(Spoiler - click to show)While talking to and examining the NPC, it should quickly become apparent that he's somehow being compelled to do all of this and is otherwise apologetic. The problem is figuring out how he's being controlled and what you can do about it.

If that's too vague, the full spoiler follows.

(Spoiler - click to show)Note his necklace. He can't take it off, so you'll have to do it yourself.
AmberShards, July 4, 2010 - Reply
For a game that consists primarily of interaction between you and one other person, the lack of reactivity demonstrated by the game is a fatal flaw. I can type "Z" until the end comes without any real reaction by the NPC! At first I thought that was unrealistic, then I thought it was frustrating, and then I concluded that my actions made no difference.

I think the takeaway for me was that this game is a metaphor for romance itself: nothing you do matters.
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