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About the Story
Written for SeedComp! 2023.
Entrant - SeedComp! - 2023
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Number of Reviews: 2
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This game has you play as a clever bird, a macaw, who is trapped in a cage by a kind of illegal exotic animal dealer and has to escape.
All of this is communicated through minimalistic text that primarily uses adjectives and nouns instead of complete sentences. For instance, examining a bird early on gives the response:
sunken eyes. dry skin. depleted energy.
With the loose perch being a clickable link.
The overall style of gameplay is similar to a single-item-inventory text adventure. You get to pick one thing at a time to hold and can use that item in conjunction with items in the game's world.
This allows for some complex interactions that can be fun to set up.
I encountered a bizarre problem on my end while playing (no other player has found this problem and it wasn't on mobile, so I don't think it's the author's fault) where the game had a missing passage or encountered some other problem where I had to hard restart, about 4 or 5 different times. If anyone else encounters this, switching the platform I was on fixed it immediately (from windows chrome to phone).
Overall, the game is very polished and descriptive. I found the interactivity was interesting, and I could see myself visiting this again.
I didn't feel completely immersed in the game, and found it more of a puzzle box than a bird adventure. But I wonder if I hadn't encountered a bug on my end if I would have been drawn in more. So I'm wavering between a 4 and a 5, but I think I'll go with a 4, because while this game was good, I found the author's other games the Good Ghost and Closure even better, by a significant amount, due to their authentic and engaging dialogue.
Full disclosure: this game did use my seed “Room; Closed Door,” which challenged authors to create a room escape game using only nouns and adjectives—no verbs. free bird. combines it with another room escape seed: “Feathered Fury” by Amanda Walker, which instructed authors to write a game where you play as a bird of paradise trying to escape from the hideout of a group of poachers. This combo didn’t even enter my mind as I perused the seeds, but this game combines the two with impressive synergy. Each passage is a series of adjective-noun pairs, mostly disconnected from each other to communicate our feathered protagonist’s individual isolated impressions. This immediately puts us in the bird’s headspace both in terms of cognition and confusion, as it’s hard to extrapolate much past the limited information we get.
Still, the protagonist manages to display a good bit of personality. When we look in a mirror early in the game, it describes itself as “handsome macaw.” It has both a good deal of empathy and of pragmatism, able to recognize other animals’ plights and wanting to help even in the narration outside of the player’s choices. It can also pick one thing up at a time in its beak to use as a tool, which makes for some interesting puzzles. I will admit there was one point towards the end where I felt a little stuck, but exploring further revealed sufficient cluing that I’d missed.
The author has described free bird. as “hopepunk,” and I think that’s a perfect descriptor for a story that grows to depict a communal effort to seek freedom, make positive change, and enact radical kindness. I think we could all use a bit of that—even those of us who can’t fly.
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|The Missing Ring, by Felicity Drake|
Average member rating: (17 ratings)
Sadie Goldberg-Lawson is celebrating Christmas with her whole dysfunctional family at her Gran's house in Vermont. When Gran's heirloom diamond ring goes missing, can Sadie solve the mystery of the missing ring before her family...
|The Good Ghost, by Sarah Willson, Kirk Damato|
Average member rating: (11 ratings)
A wholesome haunt in five acts.
Birds in IF by Wendymoon
What games can you think of with birds in them? What's the bird? Is it important to the game?