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A folk tale-esque game of uncommon depth, May 17, 2017
[Time to completion: 15-20 minutes; full content warnings given at the start of the game]
You are Adalai Trammels, Skeleton Key, and that means that you can unlock any safe, open any door... even intangible ones. It's a surprisingly nomadic job, and you carry naught but your key and the money you earn in exchange for your gift.
There is a surprising depth and breadth as to what you can do here. Sandel deftly creates a web of conflicts in the town that has no easy conclusion, no single villain. Every decision - including the decision to action or inaction - has consequences on the townsfolk: just because you can open any lock, doesn't mean you have to open all of them.
The Skeleton Key finds strength in its structure, borrowing the cadence of a folk tale or fairy tale. Like many fairy tales, the onus is on the hero to pass moral judgement on the villain, and the power of the interactive format is that we, the player, get to decide who we condemn and who we save.
This is a particularly strong example of Sandel's work, featuring distinctive settings and nuanced, sensitive characters; further examples of her work may be found here http://inurashii.xyz/games/.
Readers interested in the folk tale style but with a taste for horror may also enjoy A Good Wick, in which you play a lamp in a town shrouded in eternal night.