Beneath Fenwick

by Pete Gardner profile


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
An promising parser-like twine horror game with many loose ends, October 17, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

This game has a lot of good things going for it, but the end product feels like the author ran out of time or energy with creating the game and decided to focus on polishing what's there (which is much better than making a game with too much scope and not testing it).

Mechanically, this is a Twine game that is built to be like a parser. Most nouns are clickable to get a description, and you have an inventory. Depending on what you are carrying, some items around you have other links. Most interestingly, you can combine any number of items, although I only saw that used once in gameplay.

This game has many similarities with Anchorhead. In both games, you play as a young woman accompanying her husband/partner to a strange and decaying city in order to get work at the city's university. Both have a city of surly inhabitants and a strange house with many secrets, as well as a wood-related mill outside of town.

The unusual feature of this game storywise is that there is a cheerful and warming house you stay at with two talkative inhabitants. The house gains greater importance as the game deepens.

The entire game is lovely. The only issue is that there isn't enough game, I think. The ending itself isn't bad, it's just that it leaves hanging many of the important questions from earlier on. Great games have a narrative arc that builds to a climax and then has a shorter, but definite, denouement; this game essentially falls off a cliff.

Things I can think of that are unresolved (major spoilers!) (Spoiler - click to show)the dog's origin and/or fate, anything with the sawmill, anything with the university, the chain and the slapping in the back room, the ability to combine items, the wicket in the town hall you say you can't go up yet, the pedestal in the town square.

I think it's not really helpful in general to tinker with games, but I think an 'expanded' version of this game that fleshes it out more would be great, maybe entered into the back garden of Spring Thing one year. Of course, just writing another game would be fun, too; the author is good at writing and codig, so I'd look forward to that.

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Tito Valenz, November 11, 2021 - Reply
I agree I would have liked even more. I wasn't sure what you meant by "...maybe entered into the back garden of Spring Thing one year"?
MathBrush, November 11, 2021 - Reply
Spring Thing is a competition in the first quarter of each year. It's mostly for unreleased games, but it has a special sub-competition called the Back Garden that is designed for unfinished, already-published or otherwise strange works.
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