My Brother; The Parasite

by qrowscant

Familial Horror

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Number of Reviews: 6
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Memorable, gripping and full of anguish, October 7, 2023
by AKheon (Finland)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2023, Twine, horror, choice-based

My Brother; the Parasite is a choice-based IF by growscant, published during the IFComp 2023. It's about a complex yet painful sibling relationship between a woman and her deceased brother (Spoiler - click to show)who still lingers in a pseudo-alive state thanks to a strange parasitic disease.

The game has been made on Twine, and it makes extensive use of self-made graphics. The visual style is quite polished, yet it has a certain rawness to it that suits the disturbing tone of the story. As one minor technical fault, it seems Twine can't change images on the screen completely seamlessly, resulting in small "loading times" when scenes and images change. Or could it just be my browser?

This is a very narrative-focused IF without much real interactivity besides clicking links to progress in the story. Timed text adds its own bumpy and unpredictable feeling to the game flow, and hyperlinks are also used in some different ways here and there for variety. Other than that, there isn't much else to talk about the gameplay.

The story itself is highly emotionally charged. The protagonist has to face the reality of her abusive brother's death and make sense of the mixed emotions that are brewing inside her. (Spoiler - click to show)The parasite adds an interesting twist to the storytelling. Although tonally the story is very much about pent-up emotion, like a prolonged, regretful, angry rumination about things the protagonist wishes she could've resolved with her brother while he was alive, in a sense the brother is still around and actually becomes a physical threat in some scenes. In this regard, you could read the story as being a kind of a cross between family drama and zombie fiction, or consider the parasite as a strictly symbolic storytelling device - it seems to work either way.

The writing is quite good in my opinion. The prose is usually compact and restrained, but it has a few more freely flowing and poetic moments when the situation calls for it. The forlorn small town setting is brought to life with some good worldbuilding detail too. It definitely feels like more than just character drama happening inside a vacuum.

Overall, I thought My Brother; The Parasite was memorable, gripping and full of anguish. Although I personally prefer IF with a bit more interactivity, as a story it was worth experiencing.

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