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by tumbolia


Web Site

(based on 2 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

A Token Submission to the Single Choice Jam.
This is a short parser game, written in Inform. Expect a lot of characters. No, not that kind! Like text, in words! Someone should really add some screenshots, I guess.

Game Details


Entrant - Single Choice Jam


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Number of Reviews: 2
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Boing! review, September 1, 2023
by EJ
Related reviews: single choice jam

Based on the cover image, I was hoping this was going to be an entry in the rarefied genre of “surreal public transit comedy”, but alas, the subway-station setting is incidental here. Well, no matter: as a surreal non-public-transit-related comedy, it still packs a lot of fun into its short run time.

This is a one-move game with a central puzzle, in which each cycle hopefully gives you some information that suggests more actions that weren’t immediately obvious, gradually moving you closer to figuring out the one winning action. I can say from personal experience that designing this type of game to be challenging but not unfair is a lot harder than you’d think; the sweet spot is small and the fields of “trivial, provides no satisfaction” and “requires the player to read your mind” on either side are huge. But Boing! mostly lands in the right place.

The conceit, if I can attempt to describe it without revealing too much, is that someone is trying to guide the PC through dreams to accomplish a certain goal. The PC can take one action, and if it doesn’t accomplish that goal, they experience a dream sequence that attempts to nudge them in the right direction and then are yanked back in time to the start of the game.

Mostly these nudges worked, and I moved through the game at a good clip without getting too hung up on anything; the only stumbling block for me was the final command. (Spoiler - click to show)Clearly there’s an instead rule at play here, but under normal circumstances, trying to throw the sandwich would trigger an attempt to take the sandwich. And since you only get one move, any action that first triggers an implicit “take” action has the same result as simply trying to take the sandwich—you can’t, say, “give sandwich to mouse” because first you have to take the sandwich and then you’re yoinked. Once I’d failed at giving the sandwich, it didn’t occur to me to try throwing the sandwich because I figured the same thing would happen. So I spun my wheels for a while before stumbling across what I remember as a fairly direct hint about what to do (I don’t remember what I did to get it).

The bulk of the actual story comes after that final command, and I enjoyed the matter-of-fact tone in which the bizarre events were relayed. This level of random silliness is sometimes a little much for me, but for a bite-size game I think it works perfectly—it’s fun and memorable and doesn’t wear out its welcome.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Break the cycle, August 29, 2023
by manonamora
Related reviews: singlechoice

This last-submitted parser for the jam is a bit of an intricate puzzle, requiring the player to read the prompts very carefully to find the solution… or they will be yoinked back to the start. The game is built in one room, where the player can do different action in hopes to reach the end - a sort of Aisle meets escape room, where there is only one true action to solve the puzzle.

And so, you are an investigator (maybe?) stuck in some sort of loop (if you could remember why you are here, it would be greeeaaat), in a subway station, next to a vending machine, surrounded by some critters… and plagued by very strange and prophetic dreams (you really should take note of those).

The twist/explanation of the ending is kind of nonsensical and very trippy, very on point from the rest of the game. It is both confusing and hilarious. I’m glad I played this last.

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