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|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 4
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This game puts you in the boots of a young cowgirl (who's a bit overexcited) as she travels to a nearby city. The game has a colorful retro aesthetic, complete with 8-bit gun sound. It maintains a very nice focus on shooting: the way you interact with the links conveys excitement (especially the first time it happens, I found), and waiting is done with fiddling with your gun: a very cool example of linking mechanics and theme together.
Unfortunately, I really disliked the end; I felt it was overly dramatic and tragic. The event that triggers it is very interesting, both emotionally and symbolically, and opens up a lot of possibilities; unfortunately, what happens is, I found, the least interesting option, for the player and the relationship. It is probably a conscious choice from the author, serving to illustrate a choice or a point of view; but as a player (and probably as a person with a completely different personality, I guess?), I found myself disappointed, and I didn't feel emotionally invested or connected to the character in any way.
[This game involves self-mutilation and violence.]
Time to completion: 5-10 minutes
You are a city girl, seeking thrills and spills out West. You gather your petticoats, get yourself a gun, and get on the next coach.
Turns out, though, that being out West isn't quite what you imagined...
This game makes extensive use of mouseover effects (this is replaced by the normal touch on mobile), which makes moving through the story very fast. Your only interaction with NPCs and objects is to shoot them, and (on PC at least) having mouseover replace clicks means that when you, the player, interact with anything by touching it, you destroy or maim it. There's a moment where this is especially brilliantly handled, where you can only ever destroy, regardless of your best intentions.
The writing is witty and self-aware. The PC swaggers into a bar, only to be snubbed by the bartender for ordering a bourbon on the rocks; the PC's bravado has her shooting everything in sight, but this gets her told off by the woman she's fixed her eyes on.
The story's surreal overtones are buoyed by the PC's initial idealism - there's something in shooting everything in sight which doesn't strike true for me - so your mileage may vary. I'm sure there's something deeper to it, but, for now, I really just see it as a strange riff on tropes in Westerns.
This work tells the story of expectation and romantic disappointment, as an over-eager and insecure young woman tries to reinvent herself and connect with a woman she finds admirable and impressive.
Nearly every interaction along the way is violent. The protagonist seeks to be a cowgirl and has practiced with a gun, and uses it to advance her story. What at first seems to impress soon disgusts, however, and the violence is turned inward as the rejection becomes complete.
It's a perfect metaphor for the self-loathing and shame that can follow rejection, and the writing and voice feel authentic and real.
Visually the piece is as lovely as the content is depressing. A pixel-aesthetic of burnt orange, reds, and yellows signifies the western theme, and as the majority of actions involve 'shooting' the link text with a gun sight mouse cursor, they are accompanied by a bang noise.
This is a complete short work which left me wanting more from the author and the story. The ending can be read, most literally, as a violent and story-ending moment, or as a metaphor for self-loathing. I'd like to see more exploration of the violence, which I think is lost in the abrupt and sudden twist at the end. I wonder if this would be a better piece if we could make more choices about the violence we dole out, and if the game would sad less or more about this if we had more complicity in it? As it is, the violence is usually required to continue, which robs some of the emotional impact--our only meaningful choice is if we read or not.
|Additional Tales from Castle Balderstone, by Ryan Veeder|
Average member rating: (9 ratings)
Another anthology of terror, edited by Ryan Veeder, again. Also an ECTOCOMP 2019 entry.
|Composition in a Minor Key, by Aleks Samoylov|
Average member rating: (4 ratings)
"Composition in a Minor Key" is a surreal interactive story about love, community, loneliness, etc. It boasts roughly 8000 words, and does not contain puzzles, action, or difficult moral choices. There is a small park to explore, seven...
|Transilience, by Glass Rat Media|
Average member rating: (4 ratings)
"Every time I open my eyes, I see that the world has changed. I'll wake up and it'll be like I'd only dozed off for a while. Like I'd slipped away into a dream during class and no one saw my chin slump down into my chest, or if I'd...