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by Emily Short profile


Web Site

(based on 4 ratings)
1 review

About the Story

You've been haunting old Mrs Fagles for decades. Now she's sold the house, and the new owner's moved in. Sylvie's broke, bad at plumbing, and anxious about everything. And with a living, breathing, fretting roommate, how are you supposed to rest in peace?

Drink blood. Set fires. Tell lies. Give advice, loan out a wedding dress, reclaim your true name. Remix your dialogue options to reflect your mood or dig deeper into the topics that interest you.

Restless is built with Spirit AI's Character Engine to provide conversation flow, character emotion, and highly variable dialogue options.

Written for ECTOCOMP 2018.

Game Details


Nominee, Best Use of Innovation - 2018 XYZZY Awards

Entrant, Le Grand Guignol - EctoComp 2018


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Number of Reviews: 1
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A debut for a part of Spirit AI's new character engine, November 2, 2018
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

First, it's fun that Spirit AI is putting out a Halloween game.

This is a unity game, and it's big: 140+ mb. It has graphics, courtesy of Tea Powered Games, and text, courtesy of Emily Short.

The basic framework is a nice wallpaper-y background with a visual novel-style character you're speaking with.

You have three forms of interaction:
-selecting a topic (I found 3 topics in my playthroughs). Different topics allow different conversation options.
-selecting emotions (up to 6 or 8 or so, each an on/off button). These are independent of each other, so I could, for instance, choose to be curious, open, angry, sad and hungry. These alter the conversational options in a procedural way, sometimes unlocking more.
-the conversational options themselves. Some, with an exclamation mark, have a greater effect on the game.

You play a ghost who is haunting an old house. At first, you have great difficulty in speaking, but that is gradually relieved (unless you mess up like I did on my first play-through.)

This game has many endings and quite a few topics.

Overall, I was impressed by the flexibility of the engine. I could see this being integrated with 3d Unity games, with physical location or costumes being a fourth way of influencing topics or replacing one of the methods above.

The procedural text had pros and cons.

At its least enjoyable: clicking a radio button on and off rapidly would cycle through the options, changing words like 'abject' to 'inconsolable', for instance, exposing the guts of the game.

At its best: when used as intended, the proceduralness lets the game respond to your intentions in a pleasing way that would be horrible to write as an author.

So you only really see it when lawnmowering or experimenting. But in this game, I found it easy to get lost, as I frequently had trouble guessing what the effect of my actions would be. So I ended up seeing a lot of the 'guts'.

As a demo of the system, it worked very well. As a story, I found it interesting and worth playing several times. I'm glad this was in the competition, and I hope a lot of people sign up to try out the engine (I know I'm interested, if I can find the time!)

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Restless on IFDB

Recommended Lists

Restless appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Great "white hat" horror games by genre by MathBrush
This list does not include games intended to disgust or to make you personally feel evil. The focus is on games where good overcomes evil, or that just make you think. That is what I mean by "white hat" games. Games like Vespers or...

Ectocomp Games (All English Winners/Entries) by thecanvasrose
A list I created for myself so I can play all of these games. Sorted by rank and year. English entries. I'll add descriptions and my own ratings (out of 5 stars) to the entries in this list as I go through them.

This is version 3 of this page, edited by CRCR on 10 April 2019 at 8:30pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page