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About the Story
A Spring Thing 2014 entry.
2nd Place - Spring Thing 2014
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 3
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This is a surprisingly good Twine game from Spring Thing a few years back. I say surprisingly, because I never hear anyone talk about it.
It uses graphics and background colors to distinguish between two different worlds: one, a porpentine-like world with beings of slime and technology, and the other the human world, where a father is struggling with mental illness.
It has puzzles; at one point, there is a long sequence involving the food chain. I found bits of this fiddly, but interesting enough that I was happy when it was done.
The overall storyline was great, and that's what I like best about games. So I recommend this one.
The story here mixes a fairly standard domestic conflict with a maybe less standard alien invasion plot. It works well enough; no particular comments on the plot.
But the maps in the game are inspired. I'm not very familiar with Twine, but I haven't seen this done before. The sprawling map of the dark forest when it is reached, is startling in its beauty, a great centerpiece to the more minimal maps.
Unfortunately, the house and office floorplans are much more cleanly drawn than the maps for the alien settings. Combine that with downright vague directions like "up" "down" and "beneath", which are used around the vessel, and the two halves of the game seem unbalanced.
The gameplay flowed nicely. The human character's repeated choice between making stuff up and being honest felt like a natural choice to me, as did the alien's choice between eating things himself and sharing.
There were a few things that I expected to be interactive but turned out not to be. Taking the pills seemed to have no effect on the later story, as the narrator later quips that the human character should have taken the pills to (Spoiler - click to show)prevent a psychotic break.
Additionally, after (Spoiler - click to show)absorbing the bear, I was told that I would not be able to hold onto it for very long, but I was uncertain of whether this was a problem I actually had to solve, or just part of the narration. I'll have to replay and see what changes.
Edit: the two-star rating seems a little harsh in hindsight, and I was using it to reflect my feeling that the game was uneven in parts. Since there are no serious flaws, the game is probably closer to 2.5, so I've updated it to three stars.
The story-telling, mapping, and overall design is very good. The writing is very strong, and the use of Twine is beautiful; the maps in the background add a lot to the experience.
I really enjoyed the creative way-finding; it wasn't your standard (N, S, W, E) coordinates, but I didn't find it distracting or confusing. Other noticeable improvements on the standard Twine experience included the hand-drawn maps and elegant inventory system. This game recreates some of the feeling of a parser game, while stripping away the learning curve and 'guess the verb/noun' confusion that can occur in a parser.
The writing was strong, and the hinted at domestic problems were an engrossing mystery, as was the identity of the character you play. The narrative has a strong punch, and includes the use of red herrings that give you further insight into the character and the story. I recommend playing this game like an exploration on your first go, and 'in character' on the second--as you imagine your character to be, based on the first play through.
(My original review of this game referred to a puzzling early maze-like puzzle; it has since been reworked and improved dramatically.)
|my father's long, long legs, by michael lutz|
Average member rating: (110 ratings)
A weird tale. Some parts make use of sound, so this game is best played with headphones. One ending.
The Matter of the Monster, by Andrew Plotkin
Average member rating: (20 ratings)
You stagger up to its lair. Blue sand drags at your feet. Your Hands don't tremble — well, much — as you ready your new weapon. Your voice doesn't quaver (hardly at all) as you shout out the words you were taught. One, two! Dive and...
|Heroes of Myth, by Abigail C. Trevor|
Average member rating: (2 ratings)
Everyone thinks you saved the world three years ago. It was all a lie. The truth is, the "dark lord" you and your friends supposedly slew never existed; you used magical illusions to fake a prophecy. But now, as you relax into a life of...
A poll for games which aren't normally on polls. by Pinstripe
There are some games which are ubiquitous. A poll for funny, happy games? Lost Pig will be there. A poll for beautiful, dramatic games? Photopia always makes it. Conversational games? Galatea. Artsy games? Pretty much anything by Zarf....
For Your Consideration: Games from 2014 that should be nominated for the XYZZY Awards by Molly
There were a lot of great games released in the past year, and now that the XYZZYs are coming up, it seems like a very good idea to take a poll of all the games from last year people would like to see nominated. The management has asked...
Sci-fi games with truly "alien" aliens by wwenches
I love "Cradle of Eve" by Kitty Horrorshow and I've been enjoying "Coloratura." I would love more sci-fi games (either standard IF or Twine games) that deal with truly alien creatures, rather than just going for standard humanoid aliens...