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Solitary Stars

by Stephane F. profile

2024

Web Site

(based on 2 ratings)
1 review

About the Story

First autumn after the war. You received the letter two weeks ago. Hartmann...

"... sensational discovery... couldn't tell you earlier... not a word to the papers or anyone else... I've contacted all the old-timers in the group... scientific and spiritual revolution.... Paloma will be present..."

This terse, impersonal missive, coming out of nowhere, stirs up unpleasant memories and many questions. Why this letter, and after so long? What discovery could the man who had been your mentor all those years ago, before entering the respectable and lucrative career of Observatory Director, have made?

You have no desire to see Hartmann again. Could this be a hoax, a cruel prank, even a trap? But why? Has Hartmann really written to the others? You don't even dare mention their names or faces. It's all so long ago.

*

Itís a game written in Inform 7 (6g60), but works solely with hypertext links.

The story takes place in a parallel 20th century, in the capital of an unspecified country, after a terrible war. Thereís a touch of fantasy too. You can choose between three different backgrounds for your character. They wonít change the outcome of the scenario, but they will influence mood texts, dialogues and certain actions.


Game Details

Editorial Reviews

arcane cache
The game is set in an shadowy post-war country reigned with an iron hand by a small elite Ė the protagonist, once member of a sect, is invited by an old, rather unpleasant acquaintance, and lured in by the promise of meeting the never fully overcome love interest of their youth.
[...]
neither does the dynamic story make the game and its message arbitrary at all, as this piece doesn't ask "What would you do?" but rather, in a most honest way, "What does matter?", nor do the melancholic and dark tones that are present ever shift into nihilism
[...]
The game has a rather large scope, and you should expect to play around an hour for a single play-through. The writing is superb, and utilizes the hypertext technique in an all natural, coherent way. Solitary Stars is clearly an attempt to use video games as a medium for serious narrative art [...] and it's very successful at doing so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Walking down memory lane, February 17, 2024
by manonamora
Related reviews: independent release

Solitary Stars is a hyperlink exploration game written in Inform, set in an alternative earth, in a capital of an unnamed country after a succession of Wars (potentially WWII?). You receive a letter from a former mentor, inviting you to see his incredibly discovery that will change the world. The letter, and travelling back to the capital that shaped the trajectory of your life, forces you to reminisce on the past, bringing up difficult and painful memories.

Through its extensive and flowery prose, the game describes quite the dark setting. Between the memories of a distant past, filled with conflicts, a rise of an authoritarian power, and your own personal struggles (choice-dependent), you find during the little walk around the Observatory a somewhat dystopian society. The city is filled with scars from the war, with buildings left in shambles, flyers mandating orders from the populace or face the consequences, militia roaming the streets. But also consequences of the wars, with immigrants fleeing further conflicts flooding the region, past acquaintances avoiding you, etc...

The outlook of life and society through this lens is both depressing and melancholic (enhanced by the choice of background), with bitterness towards the old mentor, as he has thrived while you (and the rest of the Group) clearly have not. And the revelation of his discovery does not bring solace to the MC - aside, maybe from spending time with an old friend.

I think I found the exploration of the city/neighbourhood with the reflection of the past from the MC more interesting than this final revelation. Seeing how the city changed since the last time the MC walked its streets, as well as how little it did in other regards, is a familiar feeling - like going back home or to a place you spent an important part of your life.

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