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(based on 26 ratings)
About the Story
They say that some of the faerie folk can grant wishes, that they can give gifts to that who gain their favor. Now, you’ve found a portal into their world and you’re ready to step through and claim that prize.
Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: June 25, 2015
Current Version: 1
Development System: Twine
Forgiveness Rating: Nasty
Honorable Mention, Amateur - WAG Challenge
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Number of Reviews: 2
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This game is about a journey into a fairy world. You step into a mushroom ring and emerge in an enchanted woodland filled with enchanted creatures. But the creatures are sly and dangerous, and it's much easier to die horribly on this journey than to find what you're seeking.
I really appreciate the take on the subject matter here. I can imagine some people saying that this is a "dark" spin on fairies, but actually, it's simply accurate. Fairies were respected and feared for a long time throughout history until they transformed into the wand-waving Tinkerbells that people think about today. In certain traditions, they're even associated with spirits risen from the dead. But mainly, they are amoral, and just as likely to drive a visitor to their realm insane for their amusement as to reward the visitor with (probably booby-trapped) gifts.
What we have in this game is almost a "greatest hits" of fairy trickery from different legends. You pass from one obstacle to another and see whether you can survive to keep going. It's nice, but it doesn't really do anything new with these ideas. I suspect that someone unfamiliar with the folklore would enjoy the game more than I did (I'm obsessed enough to have written a novel on this subject matter).
There are at least ten endings. I know this because at the end, the game lists them in ten spots with ???? next to the ones you haven't unlocked yet. But I do not know why it does this. I do not know why games in general do this. By giving players a checklist to complete, the game is encouraging you to lawnmower its branches until you have 100%. Nobody who does this will read the text fully each time. Whatever magic you might have first felt exploring the enchanted woodland is reduced to a mechanical, automatic exercise in clicking through the passages.
With this particular game, I bit the bullet and found eight endings. Finding these eight endings did not make me reevaluate the story or understand things in a new light. It diminished the experience.
I don't like multiple endings that exist just for the sake of having multiple endings. Normally, though, I don't care enough to write a review about it. But in this case, I love the subject matter so much, and the subject matter is so delicate, that being presented with such a game mechanic really threw a wrench into it for me.
I would recommend this game. Especially if you're only familiar with the sorts of fairies that fly around collecting teeth from under pillows. I would not recommend replaying this game once you reach any ending with the queen.
You've heard that faerie, if you treat them right, will grant you any wish. That's why you've sought out a faerie ring, to step into the other world.
Like Dalmady's other work, BtFFYE is a beautifully designed Twine work, with stylistic (and judicious) use of rhyming. There aren't really outright puzzles, though there's a bit where Dalmady does some rather clever things with the text... 'nuff said.
Each scene plays on the tranquil image of elves and fairies playfully cavorting in the woods, combined with common stories: that cold iron will stave off the fae, that eating or drinking food in the faerie world will change you permanently, and so on. Another common theme in BtFFYE's fae world is the search for home. This is explicit in one of the choices you can make early on, but it's there in the other story branches, I think.
Despite the genre, this is not child's play. Dalmady includes multiple endings in BtFFYE, and none of them are happy endings. Some might say that as long as you meet the queen, you're pretty much set for disappointment, if you were ever expecting anything vaguely optimistic to come out of it. It made sense, though, because it was in line with the idea of faerie being duplicitous, of being all about glamour and trickery. Some of the endings are brutal, visceral; others are bittersweet.
A technical note: the link text jumps around every time I get to a new page when playing on Chrome, but this resolves when I put the browser on 90% view. Or switch browser.
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