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Within a circle of water and sand

by Romain


(based on 7 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

A tropical archipelago with countless islands, a young woman on a quest with no clear goal, a strange tribe living on an isolated atoll, a race...

Is your journey merely beginning or is it already about to end?

Game Details


13th Place - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)


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Number of Reviews: 2
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A text-heavy gamebook with an innovative polynesian setting, March 5, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This game has some beautiful styling and good mechanics.

You play as a Polynesian woman on a quest or rite of passage. You meet a strange group of islanders hiding secrets of their own. You have to investigate, with gamebook-style gameplay (finding inventory items, exploring with some time-progress elements).

The biggest obstruction to full enjoyment for me was the huge chunks of text, especially near the beginning. But, if you have time for the reading, and are a fan of gamebooks or Polynesian culture, this is a good read.

Has several well-done illustrations.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Solid, beautifully-illustrated game with a good bit of replay value, December 20, 2018

The title of this game has a poetic ring to my ears, and it does a good job at evoking the game's setting. The credits say the original version of the game was in French, so I looked up the French title: Au Coeur d'un Cercle de Sable et d'Eau. My substandard French would transliterate this as "At the Heart of a Circle of Sand and Water." I like the English title the author selected better than my attempt, but I do think a little is lost in the title's translation: My sense is that "au coeur" captures something stronger than the somewhat weak English word "within" - something that fits the events of the game.

The title screen immediately made me think of a teenage Moana. (I can't help it; my kids are at just the right age for watching animated Disney movies.) But the story is different: The PC, Mananuiva, is not searching for the heart of Tafiti. (Or even for the heart of the circle of sand and water.) She's participating in a coming-of-age ritual that requires her to sail out beyond sight of her island. She's looking for something more meaningful than the typical life of the women of her island, although she's not sure what. She's been gone much longer than is normal for this ritual. The story begins as she finds another inhabited island, where the villagers have something that they want of her.

For me, the first page of the actual game felt rather like a wall of text. It was a bit intimidating. However, once I was a few paragraphs in I didn't care anymore; I was grabbed enough by the story that I wanted to keep reading.

Within a Circle of Water and Sand is choice-based. Playing it felt somewhat like reading one of those old CYOA books I remember as a kid, although the writing is better and the story is more compelling than those books tended to be. There aren't a lot of choices at the beginning, but the game does keep track of certain decisions, and these will affect your options later in the game.

I played through a few times, getting different endings each time and slowly uncovering the truth of what's happening on the island.

Overall, I enjoyed Within a Circle of Water and Sand. I found it to be a solid, beautifully-illustrated game with a good bit of replay value. Also, I have already recommended it to some friends who haven't played interactive fiction; it seems like the kind of game that could serve as a nice introduction to choice-based IF.

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Within a circle of water and sand on IFDB

Recommended Lists

Within a circle of water and sand appears in the following Recommended Lists:

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The following polls include votes for Within a circle of water and sand:

Games That Reward Sticking With Them by Ghalev
Here's a dangerously subjective poll. I can be a bit impatient with text adventures on most days, sadly, and if a game doesn't grab me, shake me, French-kiss me and hump my leg in the first 2,000 words (those long intros count toward the...

Achievements, catch them all and other stuff. by Xionix
Looking for some IF with achievements, like, collect the 50 golden coins, or if you type 20 wrong commands you get the newbie achievement, or if you type "use hat in head" you get the "IF hater-to-be" achievement, well you get the idea.

This is version 4 of this page, edited by Doug Orleans on 17 November 2018 at 10:04pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page