The Land Down Under

by The Marino Family

Episode 4 of Mrs. Wobbles
2020

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A bizarre world of constrained paper-people with moral messages, October 12, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

I beta tested this game.

I've played a lot of the Wobbles games by the Marino Family (although apparently there's a Parrot the Pirate episode I never read?) and this one is definitely my favorite.

The Wobbles series are all written in Undum, a system that was like Twine before Twine and is very powerful but requires advanced technical knowledge to use.

Each game in the Wobbles series deals with a magical house full of foster kids where kids with various disabilities or uncomfortable real-life situations or other things that make them marginalized come to groups with themselves.

It's written at a kid or teen level, and written by younger people, too. I have a son with muscular dystrophy, so I'm glad to see representation in these games of various types of disability.

This particular game has the hero go into a world where everyone is transformed into paper on rails. The world is described with startling specificity that provides a lot of the enjoyment of this game. How would paper people eat? Sleep? Go to school? It's all laid out in excellent detail.

The other main feature I appreciate for this game is the overall. I have to say, I think this has some of the best choice structure in this competition. When I first played this game as a tester, I thought it was somewhat on rails (haha) but on my playthrough today I was able to take significantly different actions and still have it seem like the 'intended story'. That's really hard to pull off, and increases my admiration for this game.

For the detailed worldbuilding and intricate choice structure, this is my favorite of the Wobbles games. If you're going to play, make sure you realize that it is designed with specific morals (although you can go against them), a specific audience, and a distinct narrative voice (that of a talking book). Since most of the games ever entered in IFComp are either adult-targeted genre fiction or avant-garde exercises, this good-natured and marginalization-conscious series is definitely unique.

+Polish: These games are always smooth.
+Descriptiveness: Love the worldbuilding.
+Interactivity: Feels like choices matter
+Emotional impact: The parts with the King and the Queen struck home after my recent divorce.
+Would I play again? Yeah, would like to see different paths.