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Lid Astray

by Avery Hiebert and Ryan Samman


Web Site

(based on 4 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

Enter an experimental simulation known as "the Labyrinth," where reality changes whenever you blink your real-life human eyes. Do you have what it takes to escape?

An interactive fiction game made in 72 hours for InkJam2023.

Requires a webcam, to see when you blink. Technically, you can play without the webcam (hold spacebar to close your eyes), but you'll be missing out on much of the experience and gamefeel.

Audio is also highly recommended, and relevant to gameplay at one point (though, strictly speaking, the information is also conveyed visually).

Fullscreen also highly recommended, for the vibes.

Likely will not work at all on mobile.

If you fail the first time, try again. A good ending is possible!

Game Details


1st Place - inkJam 2023


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Number of Reviews: 3
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Insanely cool and unique, November 9, 2023
by Cerfeuil (*Teleports Behind You* Nothing Personnel, Kid)

Out of all the inkJam 2023 games, this one is my favorite by far. It features a wildly innovative mechanic: you turn on your webcam, and through some facial recognition magic it detects when you blink and factors that into the gameplay. The setting is a dream labyrinth of sorts, and the world changes whenever you blink. A pond melts and freezes, a north-south path lined with skulls becomes an east-west path lined with lanterns, and so on.

All the overlapping worlds brought to mind Dual Transform by Andrew Plotkin, another game where you can navigate parallel versions of reality. But Dual Transform relied entirely on good ol' parser commands, while the blinking in this game is (I'm sorry Andrew Plotkin) a hundred times cooler.

Seriously, words cannot express how cool this is. The experience of seeing something different every time you close your eyes and re-open them is incredibly surreal, and really sells the shifting dreamscape where you can never be sure what's under your feet. There's even music and background animations to build up the atmosphere. For a jam game, this has an crazy level of polish.

The puzzles are simple, but make great use of the mechanic. You'll quickly learn when to blink and when not to blink as you navigate the labyrinth, and balancing your intentional blinks with your unintentional blinks is great fun. A whole new dimension of control given to the player.

Quibbles I had: the obstacle in the fourth challenge killed me three times (you'll know it when you see it), and every time you die you return to the beginning and have to do everything again. Making it past the fourth challenge, I was excited to reach the fifth and then promptly died another unceremonious death. There's apparently a good ending, but I don't feel like navigating the labyrinth again to find it. The abrupt ending is probably an artifact of the time limit, since this was made in (only!) 72 hours. If an expanded version's ever released, I'll be sure to check it out.

TLDR: highly recommend.

Playtime: about 10 minutes

(If you have issues with the blink detection, make sure you're close enough to the webcam! You can also simulate blinking with the spacebar, but the experience isn't quite the same without the camera.)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Don't sleep on Lid Astray, November 19, 2023

The eye-blinking mechanic is wild. You've just gotta try it.

The game is short, but I think I couldn't handle an eye-blinking game any longer than this one!

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Blink, don't blink, oh no you blinked at the wrong time!, November 4, 2023
by manonamora
Related reviews: inkjam

This game had a very creative take on the blinking theme, using the player actually blinking to affect the gameplay, via your webcam and facial recognition. While this is super cool and innovative, fast blinkers like me might have a tough time completing a room before the environment is changed. Luckily, the devs included a non-webcam alternative: pressing your spacebar to "pretend" blinking (though you may lose a bit of the immersion/change, unless you blink at the same time).

With this mechanic, you are given a series of puzzle to complete to escape the labyrinth, where the solution often requires you to "blink" to change the environment, so you can get a key inside a block of ice (but now it's melted) or insert it in a keyhole (which didn't fit at first, because it was the wrong door)... The scenarios are quite diverse, so the mechanic never really loses it charm.

However, while the ambiance is heightened by the funky tunes and the animated background*, these soon became distracting (the way the animation moved made me pretty sick, so I couldn't finish the game).
*the author have commented if they update the game, a toggle for animation will be on the list.

Great fun game, with a very cool mechanic. Worth a try at least!

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Lid Astray on IFDB


The following polls include votes for Lid Astray:

fourth wall breaking by Cygnus
Okay, I swear this will be my last poll for the month. BUT. I love fourth-wall breaking. I am a simple guy. I love when games mess with me. There's a plethora of games here, and there isn't an overtly filled fourth-wall tag, so if you...

Outstanding Short Game of 2023 by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2023 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 the best short game of 2023, where the definition of 'short' is left up to the...

Outstanding Surreal Game of 2023 by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2023 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 the best Surreal game of 2023. Voting is open to all IFDB members. Suggested...

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This is version 3 of this page, edited by Cerfeuil on 3 November 2023 at 7:49pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page