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by Frankie Kavakich


Web Site

(based on 17 ratings)
8 reviews

About the Story

It's the end of the world and everyone's handling it in their own way.

CHASE THE SUN is a game about running, family, and death. It features topics that may be considered surreal, unsettling, or upsetting to some.

Game Details


21st Place - 28th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2022)


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Number of Reviews: 8
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
How will you handle the apocalypse?, October 19, 2022
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes, IF Comp 2022

In this choice-based game, you play as a woman fleeing from a massive storm that is sure to wipe out everything in its path, somehow related to the sun standing still in the sky (?). It doesn't really matter, all that matters is the end of your particular corner of the world is nigh and you have to decide what to do about it.

I played through the game twice. It seems like there are a few branching narratives which have you encounter different NPCs with different perspectives on how the end of the world should be handled. You get to decide for yourself. There isn't much to the game, a few choices that lead you into different philosophical discussions, but not much action past that that I discovered. It is well written and interesting enough for the short time it takes to play through it, but not much more.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A solid work of fiction that would benefit from UX improvements, October 27, 2023

This might be the depressing story of a person who gives up in the face of an unstoppable disaster. It could also be an encouraging connection between two people at the end of the world. (And it might have been an attempt to create a meta-narrative about persistence in the face of adversity? I thought there was no way to avoid bleak destruction, but I kept trying options until I found something positive.)

Chase the Sun puts a lot of effort into establishing a specific atmosphere with its early passages:

“Pennsylvania is known for its winding, aimless back roads like it was known for its abandoned coal mines and its flirtatious relationship with religion. That is to say, only the locals know the grimy, dirty truths.”

It says exactly where you are and how the protagonist feels about it, presenting a consistent, richly described world that holds up across several readings. I appreciated how statements that seemed odd or out of place in the early passages were explained elsewhere in the story.

On the other hand, it would have been helpful if the story mechanics had received a similar level of attention. This work was created in Texture, and it asks readers to drag words from the bottom of a passage to connect them with highlighted points in the text above.

In theory, Texture enables new types of interactivity. In practice, a lot of that potential went unused in Chase the Sun.

From a game design standpoint, there’s almost no difference between passages that end with “click to continue” and passages that end with a single verb to be moved onto a single highlighted noun. Chase the Sun had both types of passages and some other design compromises that felt more like awkward attempts to deliver additional backstory and less like a valid method of reader participation.

My overall impression was that stronger editorial choices or conscious design changes could have improved this story’s focus — there were a few satisfying combinations of words that moved the story forward, but it made the other sections feel under-developed.

It’s a solid work of fiction that would benefit from some improvements to the user experience.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Lyrical mid-apocalyptic road-trip, December 21, 2022
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2022

(This is a lightly-edited version of a review I posted to the IntFiction forums during 2022's IFComp).

I was reading Andrew Schultz’s thread on games set in all 50 states the other day, and feeling surprised everybody was blanking on contenders in the great state of Pennsylvania – it’s big, with a couple major cities, a good amount of history, what’s not to like? Well, I must have been tuning into something, since after The Counsel of the Caves, we’ve now hit our second Pennsylvania-set game of the Comp. The protagonist of Chasing the Sun isn’t a native, admittedly: she’s from Vermont but fleeing a bad marriage and a mysterious slow-motion apocalypse (wait – is that you, Nitocris?!) With the sun stopped low in the sky and an unnatural, deadly storm creeping west across the Atlantic, she starts to run out of gas as she hits a forested part of the state, which is where the game opens.

So far what I’ve described would fit a horror game – at first the premise reminded me strongly of 2020’s Alone, for example – but the mood in Chasing the Sun is far more contemplative, and the language is lush and literary. Here’s one of the opening paragraphs:

"The sunless Pennsylvania Wilds zips past your car windows — trees upon trees upon trees. Green as envy and swollen with humidity. You are surrounded and far, far away from home. The road ahead is quiet. The air is breathable. The cabin of your truck is dry and covered in trash and bridal lace. You’re alone and you’re not dead yet."

The sentence lengths could use more variation – ditto with the choice of verbs – but still, this is a well-written bit of prose, setting a high bar for quality that’s sustained through the twenty minute runtime, albeit with the occasional hiccup (there’s a mention of the onrushing storm “dragging its clouds towards the id-soaked sunset”).

Similarly, the gameplay doesn’t have you making tense, high-stakes decisions as you squabble for supplies with other desperate survivors. For the most part, the drag-and-drop Texture interface gives you two options in each passage, one which allows you to move some kind of examining or exploration action onto a couple of different nouns to go deeper, and one that moves the game linearly forward. Later on, you fetch up at a farmhouse where gas and other necessities are freely available, and you get into an intense conversation with a woman you seem to share some kind of spark with, which does involve more discrete choices, but these are heavily telegraphed, giving the player free reign to define how they want the tete-a-tete to play out.

There is one odd exception, though, which is that if you spend too much time in the opening futzing around twirling the dial on your radio in search of active stations, you’ll get in a game-ending car crash. I think this is an ill-advised design decision, since it punishes exploration in a way that’s ultimately to the game’s detriment (though I have to say, I find the Texture interface finicky since I use a touchpad – the drag-and-drop feels inaccurate and sometimes releasing the click doesn’t seem to register – I of course don’t hold that against the game, but maybe contributed to my disinclination to mess about after that death).

It’s after you reach the farmhouse that Chasing the Sun shows its hand: the conversation with Bird, the woman you find there, is the center of the piece, as you quickly jump past the wary formalities of meeting someone new and leap into unburdening each other of your respective secrets. This works… okay. I can see what the author is going for – Bird has a specific orientation towards the apocalypse that you can choose to agree or disagree with, and which gets at some heavy (though hardly novel or underexplored) themes – and the dialogue feels largely naturalistic.

Still, it feels very rushed, and while the story tries to paper over the way these two strangers immediately reveal their deepest selves to each other by invoking some kind of ineffable, sudden bond (the protagonist, a woman, seems like she might be gay and either closeted or prevented from living her true sexuality by a repressive family), it still takes an act of will to suspend one’s disbelief. Similarly, the details of the storm’s movement and the end of the earth’s rotation don’t hold together if you start questioning them. Taking it on its own terms, though, I found Chasing the Sun rather lovely, and would love to see the author tackle a somewhat longer piece that gives its characters and themes a little more room to breathe.

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The following polls include votes for CHASE THE SUN:

Outstanding Underappreciated Game of 2022 - Author's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the most underappreciated game of 2022. Voting is anonymous and open only to...

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