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(based on 23 ratings)
About the Story
We are haunted by the houses of our childhood. How unfamiliar they are, when we return. Yet you never forget, do you? You never really forget. A Southern Gothic horror story. Remember, of all the masks we wear, it's the final one that matters.
Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2020
Current Version: 2.0
License: Creative Commons
Development System: Twine
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
Nominee, Best Use of Multimedia - 2020 XYZZY Awards
31st Place (tie) - 26th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2020)
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|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 8
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I struggled with how to rate this game. It is note perfect in so many aspects, from the prose, to the sound, to the pictures, to the interactive elements, and yes, to even the timed text, which I usually hate. My biggest complaint was that (Spoiler - click to show)the plot didn't have enough payoff. But then I decided that wasn't the goal of this piece, that it was mostly about mood and feel, and it absolutely nailed those aspects. So 4-stars instead of three. Bravo!
This is a choice-based piece, with very limited choice. It is pretty much a short story presented with a modicum of interactivity, but it makes the absolute most of those interactive elements. Text changes after you click on it (similar to Will Not Let Me Go). A few pictures and a creepy soundtrack. Even timed text, as I mentioned before, that was timed so well as to leave me in a legitimate state of suspense, but only for a second or two before the story spilled its next secret.
And the writing! Each word is measured to fit its part in the story. Again, other than my one minor complaint above, which is a bit unfair for a story of this length, this is a master class in writing and production.
I don't want to say more as I don't want to spoil anything. I will just say go play this game, it is well worth your time.
There are many types of games that can be made with Twine, but seemingly the most common and to this reviewer's opinion the most frustrating is the game on rails that pretends it's not on rails. The last thing I want to do after spending an hour playing a game is to replay it with all the different choices and discover that other than some flavor text, nothing has changed.
Babyface never pretends that it is a game or that the player has any agency. It's simply a short horror story that uses Twine to enhance the player experience by using inventive visuals, frequent changes in pacing, and opportune music and sound effects. I'm reminded of House of Leaves, a landmark horror novel that used vivid stylings with text to immerse the reader. Similarly, first person perspective here works as we're just along for the ride.
While the story itself is derivative of horror I've read in the past, and there are some loose threads at the end I wish had been tidied up, I was nevertheless engrossed and experienced the tension the author was going for. Good horror is incredibly difficult and I'm excited if Mark Sample continues with this genre.
Babyface uses interaction and multimedia effects to craft a bone-chilling horror story about someone returning to their hometown to investigate family secrets.
The game has very high production values with fades, music, photos, link replacements, and design that all helped to create a foreboding feeling. There is also solid pacing and build up in tension throughout the beginning and middle of the story.
On the other hand, I was a bit disappointed because while the build up is great, the climax/ending is more confusing than scary to me; it isnít clear whatís happening, why itís happening, or what really connects the protagonist to the final events. Also, the forced wait times between passages are a cool idea but occasionally slowed things down too much for me, to frustrating effect.
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