The Gift of What You Notice More

by Xavid profile and Zan

Surreal escape room

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Number of Reviews: 9
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
An adventure game with open-ended insights, October 8, 2023
by Bell Cyborg (Canada)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2023

While leaving your house in the aftermath of a breakup, you literally get lost reminiscing on old photos of you and your partner, and have to travel through each picture to diagnose the issues that led to your separation. As I progressed through the photo spaces, I found myself uncovering "insights" that apparently solved the dilemma in the photo, but something wasn't quite right--I felt frustrated by cut-off routes, loose ends, and inventory items I couldn't do anything with. But then I was sent back through the same rooms again, looking at them from a different angle and burrowing deeper into each puzzle room, and I realized this was intentional. It evoked the feeling of unpacking old issues with a friend or in therapy, having to cycle through the same ideas again as you gain further insight into your own character. The structure was a very interesting way of reflecting themes in gameplay, and the ultimate conclusion is somewhat defined by the player.

This felt like an exploratory parser game (my first pull was Photopia) but implemented in Twine, and I quite enjoyed it. I was thankful for the link + inventory format, due to the lateral nature of many of the puzzles (lots of testing inventory items against everything). (Spoiler - click to show)"Cut the wrapping paper to make a smiling mask" and (Spoiler - click to show)"dip a rock in garlic spread" were some of the more out-there examples that I only found through trial-and-error.

+: Interesting surreal puzzles that reflect themes, open-ended conclusions, robust puzzle areas with generally clear clues.
-: Unclear direction at the beginning/some trial-and-error, repetitive structure with returning to the poets.

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