Spring Thing
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The game "The Mamertine" was adapted from this short playable demo of the VIBAE engine.
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The Mamertine

by K Vella

Escape Room

Web Site

(based on 6 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

The Mamertine is a rather confusing cult escape story that evolved out of a tech demo for the upcoming second iteration of the VIBAE engine for Twine.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: April 5, 2023
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: Twine
IFID: 4B0D4AB8-36EE-44B2-8FFD-488798A5224A
TUID: cjet67iywmqbg6ia


Entrant, Back Garden - Spring Thing 2023


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Number of Reviews: 3
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Another Twine-ized parser, April 6, 2023

The Mamertine is a Twine-ized parser game supposedly about you (the player) escaping a cult. I say "supposedly" because I barely saw any hints of such a story when I was playing.

I imagine there's a lot of debate on "Twine" parsers / and a wide spectrum of them besides. Some of them are done so well that you forget that there's any distinction between the two — Twine and parsers — and they rightfully 'escape' into having a whole new genre of their own's. Some of them flounder, a little bit. The Mamertine was somewhere in the middle for me. The controls made the 'parsing' part of a parser easy — but at the same time, they prevented the player (me, at the very least) from feeling fully immersed in the game — this I could tell because I kept wondering during play if this and that 'action' or this and that 'command' might work better in a traditional parser format, instead of focusing on what I was doing and how I was supposed to solve the puzzles.

The puzzles and the endings were very confusing in this game. I couldn't help but wonder what, exactly, was the point for some of them at several points throughout my playthrough. The problem is that the game lacks logical flow in many of its departments. (Spoiler - click to show)e.g. The puzzles — you pull the lever? To make someone scream? What for? I thought you were trying to escape? There was also the sitting skeleton in the room you return to near the end of the game — is that the old man, and if so, how did he wither down to just his bones during the short period of time that we were gone? Is the implication that something happened during our brief sojourn into the outer walls to influence our perception of time or otherwise just make time go faster? But again, I ask, what for? There's just too many questions and not enough answers. The ending, when it came, was just as abrupt and as nonsensical as many of the events that happened before. (Spoiler - click to show)I've only managed to get one ending, with the variation of how many times or whether you managed to pull the lever at all. Let me know if there's anyone out there who's managed to get something different. But the author did describe their game as being "rather confusing" in the game description, so I suppose all of this should've been expected, anyways.

I looked up the title out of curiosity. Surprisingly, "The Mamertine" is a real place — an ancient prison used in Roman times — located in Rome, Italy. It's obviously fallen out of use now, and was in fact used by the Christians for worship since medieval times (the site, at least, apparently not the prison itself), so I'm having a fun time trying to place the "cult" that the player escaped from (Spoiler - click to show)— and, assumedly, been brought back into — in history and recognize its historical significance, if there's any to speak of in the first place ((Spoiler - click to show)and though some of the tools that appeared throughout this game gave off the feeling that the game is based in if not modern, at least very recent times). I'm now just curious why the author decided to choose the Mamertine as the setting at all (assuming it's even eponymous in the first place?). It just seems rather niche and sort of out-of-the-way, not an obvious choice for any author.

This game did make me think of other games with similar fuzzy categories — A Long Way to the Nearest Star or JELLY (my personal favorite), for games that also kind of attempted to destroy, merge, blend (I don't know, okay) the boundaries between Twine/hypertext and parsers, and even The Master of the Land, though that one's more of a conversation puzzle game than parser and a bit more far-off than the others. Anyways, what I'm mostly saying is that these types of games are an interesting developmental direction that should be further explored. (Cue tiny me cheering in a tinny voice at the back: Yeah! Break the boundaries, baby! Okay, that was embarassing. Ignore that.)

As afternotes — I liked the signage of the 'cult' in the story, as well as the background music, which is definitely not for everyone, but I personally found it suited the progression of the game very well — though it stopped quarterway during play for me. Visual design was okay; the fonts could have been done better. Some proofreading and work on sentence structure might be in order to fix a couple obvious mistakes (e.g. (Spoiler - click to show)"You are you don't think ..." right in the beginning few pages) and to break up run-on sentences.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Short game showing experimental new engine, Twine/parser combo, May 16, 2023
by Vivienne Dunstan (Dundee, Scotland)

This is a Twine piece where you try to escape from a cult. It feels more like a parser game than Twine generally does, with geographical locations, and objects that you can manipulate, and verb and noun pairings. Plus inventory management. Oh and it’s partially point and click. It’s an intriguing combination, and works well with the puzzles of the game.

However I found quite a lot of problems. There are a number of typos, and also I ran into a runtime error. I replayed several times, but couldn’t get past (Spoiler - click to show)the room below the swaying cultists. I had pulled the lever 4 times, rating “Psychopath”! Also I am very much not a fan of slow timed text, which happened in the opening of this game. I read very very quickly. I do not like text playing out very very slowly.

However the story and puzzles were intriguing, and fun, and I’d be interested in seeing more works using the game engine.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Cool twine world model demo with confusing plot/layout, May 15, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This game is a demo for a Twine engine that lets you pick up things, move around, open things, etc.

The system works pretty well for me and looks cool, I think it'd be fun to have more games like this in the future.

The game itself was a bit confusing for me. You kind of pass out and wake up in a labyrinth with nothing but an old man for a companion. It's basically just a big maze, and at one point I thought I had gotten locked out, so I restarted, and ended up in the same spot, but then found something new and interesting, so I went to try it out on a room I remembered, but then it wasn't there any more...I eventually found an ending that seemed 'real' but overall the plot was disconnected and the maze wasn't super exciting. I feel like a lot of the elements of a great game were there, but just needed something more to glue it together.

This is version 3 of this page, edited by JTN on 7 April 2023 at 12:32am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item