Harmonia

by Liza Daly profile

Mystery
2017

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Number of Ratings: 59
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Disappointing, having played this after Stone Harbor, September 14, 2021

Immersive presentation - unique in that aspect, as far as IF goes. Journals, excerpts, newspaper clippings, and handwritten notes are presented realistically. The protagonist's scribbles are charming at first, but they soon become annoying. Eventually I stopped clicking through them as I just didn't care.

Storywise - not very compelling. A little boring. Disappointingly so, having read Liza Daly's Stone Harbor - a compelling psychic mystery, and one of my favorite IFs.

Quality - caught some mistakes in uniting the branching choices at the end. The ending of my first playthrough mentioned a character I never encountered. Didn't realize until I replayed that it was a character from a different branch of the story.

Interactivity - Great! Novel!
Fiction - Not bad. Could be better though, knowing the author's previous work.


- sunmono, August 25, 2021

- nosferatu, June 2, 2021

- Austin Auclair, March 1, 2021

- lavieenmeow, December 19, 2020

- ellsbelles, September 14, 2020

- ppoulsen, August 9, 2020

- okcockatoo, June 12, 2020

- Arrowhead12 (Edmonton, Alberta), June 11, 2020

- Marc-André Goyette, May 28, 2020

- Ry (Philippines), September 30, 2019

- Whom (Wisconsin, United States), August 21, 2019

- wohanley, August 16, 2019

- Kwills (UK), August 7, 2019

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
ENG204 - 21st Century Criticism of Interactive Fiction, June 17, 2019

Harmonia's beautiful presentation and fascinating premise is what drew me in and kept me reading, and the experience as a whole was a good one. 19th Century Utopian literature and the movements that grew out of it are an interesting subject, particularly due to the social commentary that we can draw out of it in hindsight. Harmonia reads and feels like a true academic's journal with its footnotes, asides and even comments on comments, each part and story beat quite literally unfolding one after another.

However, it must be said that despite being a work of interactive fiction it is a thoroughly on-rails experience, with only one significant choice: the ending. Don't get me wrong, I was interested in the story and its characters, and even though a couple of reveals were a little predictable, I felt that it made narrative sense and was overall an enjoyable read.

All in all, Harmonia has a lot going for it and I recommend you give it a try. If you're anything like me, by the time you're done you will have picked up not only a respect for the design and the writing but a healthy interest in the history of Utopian communes as well. Four astroliths.


- Wei Yuan Lee, March 7, 2019

- JoQsh, January 31, 2019

- mrfrobozzo, November 21, 2018

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Beautiful, important, but quite linear, November 19, 2018

(Sorry for English mistakes in this review; not my native tongue).

When I decided to register at IFDB and start playing IF again (I played many of the classics partly or complete years ago), I was first looking for newer stories or games, published in recent years, although I also plan to re-play older games.

Anyway, Harmonia by Liza Daly (2017) was one of the first games I added to my mental "need to play" list. For sure it was due to the great first impression -- as other reviewers have stated, the quality of the presentation (typography, illustrations, marginalia) is just awesome, which you'll notice once you've clicked the title screen and are presented with the first chapter.

It's really a joy to click the links while reading the well-written narrative, thereby revealing marginalia seemingly added by the protagonist (and sometimes other characters). This nearly evokes a haptic feel, as if you're browsing through books, letters, and piles of old newspapers. At the same time, the design is not "over the top", it is very clear and perfectly serves the purpose of the narrative.

In fact I think if the story was not about an academic, the design may not have worked that well. I, too, worked in academia for several years, so I remember the feelings one has as a young teacher and which are conveyed plausibly in the story. I also remember how a few of the more eccentric and egocentric personalities in academia coped with each other and their subordinates; I found parts of that in this story.

The author explores this topic focused on the role of women in research and society, which has often been neglected over decades. One example in the story was esp. well done: (Spoiler - click to show)Prof. Lynn's ridiculous (but oh-so typical) idea to reward his female assistant (who has done most of the actual research) with just a bunch of flowers is presented as a marginalia next to the main text -- the story's presentation serves as very effective symbol here.

The plot itself (Spoiler - click to show)(about discovering a time machine, built by a member of an historic utopian community that once lived on the college's land) was not exactly surprising, but still decent and I enjoyed observing the protagonist, as she uncovered the secrets.

So while I really enjoyed reading the story, I sometimes wished for more meaningful decisions. I think besides the big main decision at the end of the story, there were only one or two occasions where I felt that I can influence the plot in a meaningful way. The main experience felt very linear and would have also worked in a printed book (Doug Dorst's and J.J. Abram's "Ship of Theseus" came to my mind). Nevertheless, I highly recommend this story.


- Molly (USA), September 30, 2018

- fooberticus, August 16, 2018

- wisprabbit (Sheffield, UK), July 4, 2018

- DustyCypress (Hong Kong), May 19, 2018

- Obter9 (New Zealand), May 15, 2018

- dgtziea, May 9, 2018


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