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About the Story
You've been on your quest so long you've almost forgotten what it is all about, but now you are nearing your destination -- if only you can stay alive long enough in this frozen wilderness to reach it.
Number of Reviews: 6
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I found it hard to evaluate this game. On the one hand, it’s very well written, the plot is engaging, it’s all well implemented, there are many striking images and it draws you in. On the other – well, I leave it feeling very dissatisfied with how it all turns out. (Note: the rest of this review contains unhidden *mild* spoilers - don’t read it if you want the playing experience to be totally unspoiled - I have of course hidden the more explicit spoilers.)
This is one of those games that puts you into a fairly clear situation, lets you play it for a while, and then it turns out that you’re not really in that situation at all. Personally I find this kind of approach not only rather cliched (it’s only a small step from waking up to find it was all just a dream) but also somewhat annoying: it takes energy to invest into believing in the situation that the game presents us with, and to be told that in fact this situation isn’t real after all can make you feel a bit cheated.
In the case of Snowquest there are definitely mitigating factors. Things that happen in one reality are mirrored in another. (Spoiler - click to show)The obvious example is the wolf in the initial story, who appears as Agent Wolf in the final one – and throwing a stick at him defeats him both times. The theme of “snow” is obviously constant throughout as well. However, I found the overall story quite baffling. This was especially so given that there seemed to be not two but three realities. (Spoiler - click to show)The first is the initial situation, which ends with the finding of the book. Then you’re taken back to the cave of the first part of the game, implying that all the stuff that just happened didn’t really happen; this ends with the finding of yourself in the plane. And finally there’s the “real” reality in the airport. It seems that the *second* of these two realities is shown to you by Wolf in an attempt to prevent you from flying off with the parcel. But what on earth is the first reality? Was it part of the hallucination, and if so, why did Wolf induce it? What purpose does this setting – which seems to be far in the future – have within the story as a whole? Why was the book hidden in such an odd way, and why was the skeleton held together with gold thread? Even the final explanations didn’t really explain very much. These things led to my being far more confused than enlightened at the end of the game. On reflection, what I find odd is that the initial scenario seems to be much better thought through, and generally fleshed out and interesting, than the final “reality” is. Is this deliberate? Perhaps, but it feels wrong.
Overall, the game plays well and the writing is good. It is pretty well implemented, although there are occasional annoying lapses (“examine mountain”, when you’re standing on it, doesn’t give a very helpful response). I found one very annoying “guess the verb” puzzle: (Spoiler - click to show)you are supposed to “turn” the bone when it is in the slot, but “move”, “push”, or any other action won’t work. Given that there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of logic to this scene to start with, it’s hard to see how one could be expected to guess that.
So I must admit that I found this game more frustrating than anything else, mainly because the longer it goes on, the less sense it seems to make. Perhaps this is deliberate and the game is meant to leave the player somewhat unsettled, but if so I’m afraid it didn’t do a great deal for me. The good implementation and writing, together with a story that is interesting (if increasingly disorienting), mean it gets a decent score for me, but the aforementioned problems (at least from my point of view) mean the score isn’t as high as perhaps it might have been.
I lost track of time as I played Snowquet and that’s not something that happens to me often. The writing flows effortlessly, drawing the player in right away. The descriptions are beautifully written, without being unnecessarily long. I found the dream sequence wonderfully surreal, to the point that I no longer felt like I was typing away on a computer.
The puzzles were well-clued and didn’t keep me guessing for too long. When I did have to resort to using the built-in hints, I found them to be well-paced, giving me the perfect nudge in the right direction.
A big part of Snowquest is exploration of the environment. There are times in the game when only very close examination of your surroundings will reveal what must be done next.
The plot seems rather straightforward at first, but there are definitely twists up ahead. At the first of those twists, I found myself staring at my computer screen for a few seconds, trying to take in the new development. The most interesting thing about Snowquest is how well the storyline comes together in the end. Even all the minor details that seemed out of place before fit it nicely in the last few scenes.
Snowquest is a must-play for everyone, whether you’re just discovering IF or have been playing it for a long time.
Snowquest is a competent work with a little extra depth than your usual short game. The first half of the game has a great sense of setting; the first scenes especially have a sense of peril to them. It uses the (Spoiler - click to show)"it was only a dream" trope a number of times, but uses the dreamlike atmosphere in a way that keeps the scenario interesting, rather than feeling like a cop-out. I especially liked (Spoiler - click to show)the scene where you discover yourself in the downed plane.
The game changes dramatically during the second half. While the elements of the first half don't match up to the second half's parts one-to-one, I still enjoyed the dream logic going on, even though the ending was forgettable.
An enjoyable way to spend your night. Not a perfect work (others have noted problems with implementation), but better than most reruns.
Winter Wastelands by verityvirtue
Games set in the Arctic, Antarctic, or any other cold wilderness. Preferably with the isolation and harsh environment featuring prominently. Suggestions welcome. (Sorting is random, but games I have played come higher up)
Surreal/trippy/metaphor/mind's journey, with two worlds by MathBrush
There is a big genre of games where you explore a metaphorical region of dreams or symbolism, and which has meaning in the 'real world'. I love this genre, and these are my favorite examples of the genre. I only include games where there...
Bound by human frailties??? by Stickz
I'm looking for games where the PC is faced with needs like eating, sleeping, and thirst. Unusual inventory limitations. Things that make them appear a little more human.
IF that purposely conceals crucial player character information by Puddin Tame
IF that doesn't explicitly clue players in on knowledge they would/should have if they actually were the player character (The character's motivation, interests, relevant parts of their past etc.), which, for good or bad, results in some...