The Duel in the Snow

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
The Duel in the Snow, October 16, 2009
by Portmanteau
Related reviews: IF Comp 2009

This game captures the feel of Golden Era Russian literature quite well, with the writing generally very good and effectively evoking the style of period. The memory/dream sequence which presents the basis for the duel, with its Faro, billiards and garrulousness, is particularly enjoyable, though player agency is effectively nil (which is actually the case for much of the game -- in many cases you can explore, but whatever you do it's merely a matter of waiting enough turns before the important event happens, which can be frustrating).

While there are some hiccups in the writing, these minor quibbles stand out at all only because the rest was so well executed. That said, the puzzles in the game are a bit disappointing, with a minor, irrelevant one depending on a bit of cleverness without justifying why the more common sense approach should fail, and the one major puzzle being particularly arbitrary, with many more sensible alternatives being completely ineffectual. Had it been better hinted, it would have been better, but as it is it was somewhat frustrating. Still, the writing and atmosphere was very enjoyable, and the short little story told was quite satisfying.