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About the Story
Greetings, fellow mushroom enthusiast! If you're reading these words, it's because you too have decided to join the exciting and rewarding world of mushroom hunting. The Pamogo Forest is well known throughout the mycology world as the home to a stunning variety of unusal mushroom species, many found no where else on Earth. Of course, harvesting Pamogo mushrooms is strictly prohibited as the forest is a nature reserve, but we've assembled this book merely as a guide for the curious. It should in no way be construed as an endorsement of illegal mushroom harvesting. On the following pages, you'll find a wealth of information about some of the species of mushroom that you might encounter in the Pamogo Woods. Learn and enjoy!
4th Place, Le Grand Guignol - English - ECTOCOMP 2020
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Number of Reviews: 3
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A Twine about a magic mushroom picker lost in the woods after eating one of his finds. Quite verbose, with a big web of links, so reading it feels like the player is stumbling though the dense undergrowth, just as the character is. A cool mirroring of narrative theme and choice-space design. The physical actions the character performs to try to find his way out probably make up only 10% of the clicks, the other 90% being inner thoughts: about his job, his company, the woods and its mysteries, the mushrooms and their effects. Lots of intriguing notions are set up (the God of the Woods for example), but my playthrough ended abruptly before seeing any of it pay off properly. I assume you can use the various mushrooms you find to affect the outcome, but I didn't figure out how.
This game reminded me of Princess Mononoke crossed with Hybras from Sunless Skies.
You are essentially a gig worker trespassing in a national park to scavenge various psychotropic mushrooms which have properties far beyond the ones we have in real life. Normal mushrooms give you 1 cent a cap (fairly consistent with real gig jobs like Amazon Turk), while the King's Breakfast could pay off your rent.
It seems that worldbuilding by far is the biggest part of gameplay. More than half of my play time was spent reading the guide book, and it could have served just as well in static form, but it made finding mushrooms later on more fun.
It's weird to say, but I think that later gameplay reminded me of nothing more than the original Zork. I remember playing Zork as a kid and finding some weird stuff and thinking "I have no idea how this all connects", and getting the idea that there was way more out there. I later went and looked at the code of this game and found that there was way more out there, but the effect still persisted.
I don't know if that particular combination of deep lore dive + unpredictable trip in the woods worked for me interaction-wise, but I appreciated the polish, descriptivenes, emotional impact and replayability of the game.
Excellently written and very peculiar, Toadstools takes you on a mythical-scientific trip through the forest. A good amount of thoughtful world-building seems to lie behind it, part satirical and part wondrous, providing enjoyment, engagement and immersion. As a choice IF, it certainly feels like a puzzle, like you could get rich, crazy or die of hunger, depending on your choices. Still, I was not able to ascertain if this actually is the case, nor whether a good ending exists, during my play. As a horror game, itís not particularly scary, at least not in a brutal way, though I guess one would have to be of some age to enjoy it.
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