Ghosterington Night

by Wade Clarke profile

Horror, Humor
2012

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Number of Reviews: 2
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Monster Mash, December 3, 2012
by Sam Kabo Ashwell (Seattle)

The design of this short piece is not unlike Clarke's debut Leadlight: you are a cute, athletic young woman exploring a macabre setting, getting attacked by wacktastic monsters, and dying a lot. This version, however, is a straight-up treasure hunt. In tone it's more of a light-hearted Halloweeny romp, though there are still a few genuinely macabre images.

You are pursued around the house by two monsters, the clockwork girl and the terror statue; remaining in a room with them results in your death. You can avoid them by moving away (though they may come after you), or by shooting them with your limited supply of bullets. Also limited is a central room, which kills you the third time you enter it. Although the treasures you're looking for (terrible, but highly valuable poetry) are hidden, they're only nominally so; the trick is about finding enough breathing space to look for them, and finding genuine treasures rather than useless scraps.

For a game produced within the time constraints (Ectocomp's slightly weird setup: three hours of coding, as much preparatory writing as you like), it's impressively tight design, and everything pretty much works as it ought to. Poking at the scenery too hard is not to be advised, but in general you won't have much time to do so. There are some sound principles at work here, but for me it wasn't quite entertaining enough to stick at; that sodding clockwork girl was far too persistent, and working out which things hid the genuine poems was too trial-and-error, given that I usually had to burn up a bullet to get one. Too much of my gameplay was spent running in circles, trying to make a swipe at that damn armadillo shell and getting headed off by monsters every time.

This seems to be designed as an intentional challenge, but my frustration level for replay is fairly low. If I'm not encountering new content or discovering new strategies, I don't really want to keep hammering away at the same puzzle time after time. That hurdle is what stops this game from being a generally strong piece, as opposed to just a strong piece given its time constraints.

[Review originally posted on intfiction.org]

Note: this review is based on older version of the game.

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Wade Clarke, December 2, 2012 - Reply
Thanks a lot for the review. You may want to tick the 'older version' box for the review, though. The main thing that was tiring you out (the impossibility of doing Anything with monsters present) and related issues have been significantly reprogrammed in release 2.
Sam Kabo Ashwell, December 2, 2012 - Reply
Gotcha.
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