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About the Story
Straying into the dark is easy, returning is far harder.
12th Place, La Petite Mort - English - ECTOCOMP 2023
58th Place, Best in Show - The IF Short Games Showcase 2023
Number of Reviews: 2
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I enjoyed this poem-based choicescript game that was entered in Ectocomp, and was made in 4 hours or less.
The poem is written in verses of 4 lines each, with the 2nd and 4th lines rhyming.
The topic is a haunted wood with a deep and evil pond. You can get various achievements by delving into the pond's mysteries or exploring the woods.
I found deciphering the meaning of the poetry added an extra layer of interaction with the game, which I liked. A lot of poem IF games are very obtuse, but here the meanings were clear enough to understand.
The meter of the poem kept throwing me off; at times it seemed like it had a pattern, so my brain would set it up, but then it'd go off pattern. The number of syllables and the emphasis of syllables varies a lot. Here's an example:
Deep must the pool be,
For its exterior to be black as pitch
Strange the wind does not disturb,
The mirror smooth surface that seems to bewitch.
What lies 'neath the water,
Where the wind fitfully blows,
Undisturbed and dark with an algae scudded facade,
Surface unreflective in the sun's dawn glow.
There aren't any rules in poetry, of course, and I liked this quite a bit. But I wonder if it might have been good to either lean in harder to a rhyme scheme or meter or to just toss out the rules and go full free verse. But, given that I liked the game, I'm not sure either of those are necessary. Pretty fun!
This was a fairly short light-horror interactive poem about walking in the woods, with a bit of a Romantic vibe to the style. I found the different lengths of the lines making the cadence while reading them a bit wrong, which adds to the horror setting. Since the stanzas are consistent, it kinda makes things a bit uneasy to read through.
Through your walk, you are given different choices, which will lead you to the different endings. Depending not just on your choices but their order, you may or may not find your path out of the forest... or be corrupted forever. It took me a handful of tries before I could reach a different ending to my first playthrough (I even questioned whether there were other endings at all).
I thought that having a fear meter in the on the main page felt a bit distracting, as the poem holds on its own just fine. Keeping it only in the stats panel would have been better.