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About the Story
As the only diplomat of a doomed island nation, you need to learn the culture and customs of the Horses in order to succeed with your mission. These aliens are outwardly friendly, but secretive to a fault. You journey to the island of Hagia, where you have the opportunity to learn the secrets of the Saints, a type of religious folk-heroes whose likeness is inscribed on the plains in massive Geoglyphs.
33rd Place - 22nd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2016)
The Breakfast Review
The story often felt a lot more like just me and my Horse friend exploring an island and experiencing whatever it had to offer. And perhaps that is the problem. There's the "Macguffin quest" sort of game, and there's the "explore and discover" sort of game: "Traitor Saint" is trying to do both, and each thread is distracting from the other.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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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. Playable, but it is not ideal. It has not autosave, nor proper way to save the game. It has a bookmark system, common in some Twine 1 games, that I found it unusable, at least in mobile. I don't understand it, and I don't know how to use it. So I could not finish the game, although I tried several times.
General: I will approach this base on the common criticism that the game has received. That is: the art style and the little ponies.
At first I didn't like the art style. I feel it is too much sketchy to pass for proper game art, but then the PC reveals that he is constantly sketching while travelling in his notebook... so this just made clic. It work, because it works in context. Sadly I feel that the first sketches doesn't do justice for what the author could accomplish... because later the sketches about the encyclopedia of fauna and flora of the planet are really great (great inside the context of what I said: the PC sketching in a notebook). So, I ended loving the art style soooo much, just because of that.
The second common criticism is the graphical representations of the horses. You know, the are like fan art of My Little Pony. And I think that criticism has a point. When you read about the culture of the horses you think more in... yeah, talking powerful horses, so the revelation of the art could be striking. But this is just plain prejudice. People has a lot of prejudice against children stuff, more if it is soooo popular as My Little Pony. But I am father of two daughters, and so, I know better, and it is my obligation to let the world know that My Little Pony is good stuff. In the first place, it is great artistic design. You just could cast an eye to any galery of art of wannabees artists here and there to see that the ponies are just one of the main inspirations for them. THERE ARE JUST A HELL TONS of fan art of them. And second, My Little Pony is great storytelling. I know this because I surprise myself getting catch by the narrative of the chapters when my little daughter is watching the show. But this is common. Some children show has bad literature in it, but a LOT of children show has really great literature on them because they are run by really great professionals. Maybe you don't like those because you are not their targeted audience, but as I said, fathers know, and fathers knows better. So... My Little Pony as main inspiration for the world-building and aesthetic design of the game: WHY THE HELL NOT?
Said that, Let's continue what's really great of the game: the world-building. It is just amazing. As some reviewers said, the intro and blurb are heavily dosed on lore and world-building, but it just worked really great for me. This is supported on the encyclopedia, a literally encyclopedia comprising lore and world-building. So... this is neat feat. This is the author showing off that he has built a proper world-building for a new extraterrestrial race, and its corresponden lore. Look here! it is all in the encyclopedia! Well done, Sir. Best of it, the encyclopedia is integrated in the gameplay, with proper links that points to the proper animal or plant that the PC is seen in each location.
This leads me to some criticism of what I think the game does not do very well, or more, it lacks. Ok, the worldbuilding is there, the lore, the fauna, the flora, and such... but: you can't interact with it. You can traverse the scenery, but it is just that: scenery: I miss to interact with the animals, with the highlights of the landscape. To smell the flora, to collect some herbs. Etc. I think this game would have benefited a lot with a parser implementation, because the lacking would be evident while programming the game. But as a player, a lot of my motivations to interact with the world were not supplied or allowed by the game and implementation.
There are more great stuff in this game: for example the characterisation of the PC's companion, or her dialog and conversation system, but I've talked more of those things that stands out more, good or bad. And I could not finish the game, so I could not comment on that.
Score: Great world-building that is not enough interactive and too static. But I love all the love (sic) poured into it, even the ponies and the sketches. Good game that I recommend.
Quest for the Traitor Saint is a short (around an hour or less) Twine-based IF about exploring an exotic but hazardous island.
The game is set in a science-fantasy world where sentient horse-like aliens live alongside humans. The world’s idiosyncrasies are explained through frequent asides, mainly about the local flora and fauna, which I initially found intriguing. After a time, however, all of this exposition became tiresome, and a lot of the world’s quirks seemed to fall into the category of “quirky for quirkiness’ sake”. That said, there were a few moments of light humour that made me crack a smile ((Spoiler - click to show)including Silili’s obsession with socks) and I wish these had been more common.
The gameplay involves exploring the island, and the choices offered to the player are mainly variations on “where do you want to go now?” Most of my decisions in this regard seemed to make little difference in the long run, and I had the feeling of being funnelled towards the game’s final destination before I had explored as thoroughly as I would have liked. Unfortunately, any choices beyond where to explore were few and far between, and I felt a distinct lack of agency. Offering few choices isn’t necessarily a bad thing in IF (I’ve played plenty of games where I was happy to drift along as the narrative unfolded), but if a game limits the player’s choices in order to tell its own story instead, it had better have a damn good story to tell. Quest for the Traitor Saint did not.
The game’s ending might well be its biggest downfall: (Spoiler - click to show)instead of a satisfying conclusion in which I completed my quest, I was treated to a couple of short paragraphs explaining that my quest was doomed to fail from the start. The ending was so dissatisfying, I actually thought I’d lost and this was a “Game Over” screen. Judging by its subtitle, the game is part of a series called “The Saints of Horses”, which could go some way to explaining why it ends before the quest is complete. However, even in a series, the player should feel that they’ve achieved something by the end of each game. In this case, I was left with little sense of achievement, no emotional payoff, and no desire to play any future sequels.
The game also suffers from a couple of smaller issues. Firstly, the writing is marred by a significant smattering of typos throughout. Secondly, several extended sections of the game use purple text on a black background, which is difficult to read, if not headache-inducing.
I can’t say I enjoyed playing Quest for the Traitor Saint. It has glimmers of humour and an interesting setting, but they aren’t enough to overcome the overwhelming lack of agency, direction, and a satisfying ending.
I helped to beta-test this my little pony inspired game.
This game is accompanied by many hand-drawn illustrations of various bizarre creatures and locations. You walk around an island, exploring with your pony companion, and try to discover a patron saint of diplomacy to help your quest.
The illustrations add a lot to the game, and the writing is inventive and descriptive.
The game was fun, but didn't draw me in with an emotional connection. It is fairly long, but ends seemingly mid-story.
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