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About the Story
it's a quest!
Entrant, Main Festival - Spring Thing 2017
Number of Reviews: 3
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This is an RPG in the barest sense of the word. You choose a class. You encounter characters and go places, each narrated within the space of one line. The brevity of each passage belies a very broadly branching decision tree. In fact, given how widely stories could diverge, I found the narration of your choices in the end to be a nice touch. brevity quest makes liberal use of familiar tropes and creatures, making the reader's imagination take up most of the storytelling slack.
Several games share the text-sparse, location-based mould. A few which come to mind: The Tiniest Room, vale of singing metals or even burning temples.
What makes these worth having a look at are how they simplify foreign terrains, diplomatic moves and combat into the sparse language they use. I found pleasant small surprises, at times, when the game (brevity quest, but the others as well) showed me that it wasn't just branching blindly - it remembered the decisions that I made. Of course, this is technically very easy to do, but satisfying nonetheless.
As other reviewers have pointed out, brevity quest takes the stripped-down aesthetics of ultra-short Twine games (such as, for example, RPG-ish) and puts them to work in a more large-scale and sprawling (if fairly mechanically simple) RPG. You can choose between three different character classes, and several storylines are mutually exclusive, thus adding a large element of replayability.
Your feelings for brevity quest will probably depend on how you feel about unabashedly classic (or conventional?) Dungeons & Dragons tropes. Me, I enjoyed it enough to come back for multiple playthroughs. A lot of my enjoyment may be powered by nostalgia, but you know, it's exactly what I needed. The length feels just about perfect. It gets quite challenging early on (the mine quest), but only enough to make me determined to find a way through the obstacles, not enough to make me lose interest. Getting a winning ending is enough of a challenge to feel rewarding. The writing is, as mentioned, succinct, but clear and transparent.
While I described it as being mechanically simple, it's far from stupid. The ending screen tracks your adventures and skills, and while there's no over-arching plot, your previous actions may come to affect the events in later quests.
There are a few flaws that stop me from giving it five stars. Most importantly, it is up-front about being unfair and rife with learning-by-death. The author is disarmingly aware of this and suggests using the Undo button when needed, but the fact remains that picking options without having a fair chance of knowing the outcome hardly counts as "gameplay", any more than flipping a coin does. A minor issue is that the tone of the narration fluctuates a bit: the first couple of quests are written in a straight-faced manner, whereas later ones have a more tongue-in-cheek narration. Now, don't get me wrong: the comedy is good. (I particularly enjoyed the intro to the final dungeon.) Still, I might have enjoyed it more if it had been present from the start.
I also found a bug (I assume): in the final dungeon, during the battle against (Spoiler - click to show)the multi-armed monster, the game displays the links for both success and failure.
The story doesn't really break any new ground in terms of fantasy games: the enemies are conventional, the quests are mostly comfortable fantasy RPG tropes. If you don't have a problem with that, you won't have a problem with this game either.
To sum up: a polished, coffee break-sized fantasy quest. Exactly what it says on the tin, in other words. Recommended for everyone who wants a nostalgic, adventurous fantasy experience, or like their Twine to be on the "game" side of the spectrum.
This seems like a super small game (like TwinyJam or something) but is in fact quite large; the author claims it has "~29000 words in 723 nodes". It is strongly branching, but also pretty fun; it also has nice background changes, especially in the ocean scenes.
It's a fun game for a diversion. Recommended.