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Ma Tiger's Terrible Trip

by Travis Moy profile

Science Fiction

(based on 5 ratings)
4 reviews

About the Story

The last time Ma Tiger’s children spoke was thirteen years ago. Now, with nowhere else to turn, she asks for their aid. Requires two players.

Game Details


Entrant, Main Festival - Spring Thing 2022

Editorial Reviews

Ma Tiger's Terrible Trip (2022) by MoyTW - Full Playthrough
jay___ram and ferkung play through the two-player IF game "Ma Tiger's Terrible Trip" from the Spring Thing 2022 competition!
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A two-player Twine game that includes a "conversation" between players, May 8, 2022
by Rachel Helps (Utah)

This game has an interesting concept: two people play as grown siblings. Some of the text displayed for the first person depends on the choices of the second person, and vice versa. As a writer of Twine games, this design intrigues me, but it also seems extremely complicated. There is a second, more action-heavy part of the game where both people are making decisions simultaneously! I am not sure how much the decisions of each person interact with each other, but the effect is having a feeling of cooperation.

As a demonstration of this experimental form, the game was a success. Story-wise, I wanted more development to have the ending be more meaningful.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
An intriguing multiplayer test-bed, June 14, 2022
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: Spring Thing 2022

What with parenting a teething baby whose sleep schedule is as high-stakes as it is random, my life right now is not especially conducive to planning leisure activities, which made it a close-run thing whether I was going to get to play this multiplayer Twine game before the festival closed (I made a joke in the IntFic matchmaking thread that regardless of the merits of Ma Tiger’s Terrible Trip by Travis Moy, Trying to Play “Ma Tiger’s Terrible Trip by Travis Moy” by Travis Moy was unconventionally-paced yet incredibly suspenseful – and yes, I’m reduced to recycling my own jokes).

Happily, I was able to connect with another player and got to enjoy two run-throughs of the game, which isn’t like any other IF I’ve played. It has some similarities with the multiplayer game in last year’s IFComp, Last Night of Alexisgrad, true, including an asymmetric structure that gives you a choice of character up front – you pick which of the eponymous Ma Tiger’s foster children, dutiful son and EMT Jekusheke or prodigal daughter with dark secrets Ebiashe, tickles your fancy. But while that game required swapping codes with your partner after each choice, which could be a little cumbersome, Ma Tiger integrates everything smoothly, so that after one person pastes in a code to join the hosted game, play is seamless with only the occasional “waiting” prompt indicating that your partner needs to make a choice before you can proceed (I only saw these rarely, and just for a short time, indicating a lot of care went into minimizing any differences in length of text between the two perspectives). The game is also pitched cooperatively, which I enjoyed more than Alexisgrad’s competitive approach – sure, the two siblings haven’t seen each other in a long time so there’s the opportunity for some conflict, but mostly I was able to focus on playing my character collaboratively, rather than jockey for advantage.

There’s also a timed mechanic on offer – at the climax of the story, you’re thrust into a quick-moving situation where you only have thirty or sixty seconds to make a choice. This adds some nice pressure to proceedings and underlines the gravity of the situation, without being overly-taxing on the reflexes (I was usually able to pick a solid choice after four or five seconds, so even though I’m a fast reader I think most players should do fine).

For all its gameplay innovations, though – and to be clear, they’re real and they’re compelling – MTTT does play like a proof of concept. Don’t get me wrong, the writing is good, setting a fun cyberpunk-noir vibe from the get-go:

"Her car is ancient, one of the models from before electronics crept into every nook and cranny… She’s ditched her phone, too, left it with a friend back home. If she dozes off and wheels off the road, drives into a ditch or overturns herself on a rock, nobody will know and nobody will come. No. It’s not dangerous; the roads are straight and empty, and the terror of isolation only that, terror. Soon she’ll have real danger to deal with. The problems of running from your past. Or, perhaps, the problems of facing up to it."

There’s also some nicely understated world- and character-building, with moused-over phrases providing a bit of perspective or context from your chosen viewpoint character. And the initial segment of verbal jousting is well-realized; while it seems to more or less wind up in the same place every time, and you need to stick to the overall personality of the character you’re playing, there are interesting choices that feel impactful along the way, like how much to share when catching up with your long-lost sibling.

But after this sequence, you’re thrust into the timed bit, where it feels like the asymmetry between the two characters leaves one with much more interesting stuff to do, and more impactful choices to make, than the other (that character also has more going on in their backstory, and better insight into the mystery of what’s going on with Ma). The denouement also feels a bit rushed, with all the big plot revelations bottom-lined into two paragraphs rather than coming out in dialogue, and one of the big variables in that timed section (Spoiler - click to show)(whether or not you’re able to save Ma’s dog, King) not even mentioned in either of my playthroughs.

Those critiques boil down to saying I wanted more, though – per the author’s note, this was all pulled together in a month, which is seriously impressive for pioneering a brand-new model of IF and having some solid character and gameplay work in there besides. As it stands, MTTT’s formal innovations are its most engaging features, but I can see the technical and design framework it showcases becoming a launchpad for more robust, fleshed-out games to come, which is an exciting prospect indeed.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Co-op sci-fi game about family in a slightly futuristic setting, April 30, 2022
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This game was inspired by The Last Night of Alexisgrad, an IFComp multiplayer twine game where the participants passed codes back and forth to each other.

The author of this game goes further by connecting players through a session ID that allows simultaneous communication in-game through choices. There is even a time portion, although it seems designed in a way that many playthroughs of the timed portion would not need collaboration, which is helpful.

The game is set in a somewhat futuristic setting where genetically engineered animals and cybernetically modified humans exist but are uncommon.

The two players take the role of two adopted/foster children of Ma Tiger, a rich woman entangled in shady business who has asked them to meet together with her after many years.

The MCs are a study in contrasts, one a man who is relatively happy and at peace, and a woman who is dangerous and has much to hide.

The game is fairly brief, which is good for a multiplayer game. The roughly 30 minutes play time advertised is generally accurate.

I played through twice, and your fellow player's choices definitely affect the game. That drew me into the storyline more. The plot arc is necessarily contracted; if anything, this feels like a setup to a longer game in the same universe, not in the sense that it leaves a sequel hook, but just that many plot elements seem like they could be developed much further and there doesn't seem to be a significant emotional resolution for either character.

Overall, a solid concept. It was a bit hard to find people to match up with; perhaps one day there will be a massive online server of people just waiting to sign up to play co-op twines, but it hasn't happened yet!

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Ma Tiger's Terrible Trip on IFDB


The following polls include votes for Ma Tiger's Terrible Trip:

Two-player games by Tabitha / alyshkalia
IF games for two players

Outstanding Use of Interactivity in 2022 - Author's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for a game in 2022 that felt truly interactive. Voting is anonymous and open only...

Trailblazer Award of 2022 - Author's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for a game in 2022 that you saw as a trailblazer. Voting is anonymous and open only...

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