How Dare You

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A brutal breakup, July 8, 2024
by OverThinking
Related reviews: Love/Violence Jam

This one is rough, emotionally. Your partner (Heron) is breaking up with you (Tiel), and you are NOT taking it well. Your goal is to change eir mind. There are several implemented strategies to try, ranging from the desperate to the manipulative to the despicable.

The world feels deeply implemented. Of particular note is that taking inventory gets the response You are carrying nothing but a broken heart. You can then examine the heart. That’s the kind of detail work I love in a parser. “Undo” also has a poignant response in place of its usual function. There are a few disambiguation moments that could be smoother—both your and Heron’s hands are implemented, and doing something to “hands” doesn’t default to Heron’s, unlike most other actions.

One thing that didn’t quite work for me was that trying one of the “game ending actions” precluded trying any of the others. The picture I’d built of Tiel in my mind was of someone who wasn’t about to take ‘no,’ and that he takes one particular ‘no’ over another doesn’t quite hit for me. On my first play I tried to kiss Heron, and then after ey rejected me finally I tried crying—a reasonable response in my mind’s version of Tiel’s mind. But I was told I couldn’t do that and must simply leave. I know the suggestion does risk a bit of combinatorial explosion and a less tight form, but unique responses for those kinds of pathetic or petty reactions after the goal is already lost would go a long way for me.

It’s a very short game, and worth playing multiple times to explore all of the options. It knows what it wants to do and does it well. The author’s notes say it’s based on a game from last year’s Anti-Romance Jam—I may have to check that one out next.

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