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About the Story
As a lowly intern on Sadler Pharmaceutical’s high-security lunar research base, you set out to find an escaped test subject before your boss does. Along the way, you’ll unravel the mystery of your coworker’s mysterious resignation – and learn the terrible secret of Sadler’s new miracle drug.
Number of Reviews: 4
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I haven't given Twine, or ChoiceScript or similar systems, much of a look. I've been vaguely aware of their existence and looked briefly at a couple of twine games, a little more closely at a couple of choice-of games, but for the most part they weren't my cup of tea.
They never seemed capable of the same level of interactivity and richness as parser-based IF, and seemed wholly unsuited to the types of IF I have previously enjoyed the most - story-based exploratory IF.
The Axolotl project has changed my mind on that. Whilst I still prefer parser-based IF, this game did a wonderful job of exactly that sort of game I thought it was ill-suited for, with an interesting mystery, exploration and an engaging story.
The writing was quite good, neither too wordy or purple nor sparse enough to be without character. The implementation was smooth and did a good job of replicating the feel of parser-based exploration with links to noun descriptions and exit directions. I only came across one implementation bug, and that was the the announcement that cleaning has finished and the apartments were open was replayed later in the game when returning to the area from inside the dorms.
The characters, though quite few in number, were well developed and three dimensional. Tropes were used here but to good effect, and the descriptions and internal monologues did a good job of characterising the protagonist. The world wasn't huge but it was logical and interesting, and the story was entertaining enough that when I sat down "to have a quick look", I ended up playing it all the way through to see how it would end.
Overall, it was a pleasant surprise, an excellent game, and highly recommended.
The Axolotl Project is a choice-based narrative written in Twine. You are a lowly intern researcher working as an animal handler on the moon where research into new drugs is being conducted. Per usual in these types of stories, a sinister plot reveals itself, and you must untangle the threads and save yourself and humanity.
This game got hold of my attention and absorbed me. The prose is well-written and never indulgent. There's a surprising amount of agency, and I never got stuck so the narrative never lost momentum. I'm not sure if I was funneled, but after the exploratory first act, I was always given a well-timed nudge on what to do next. I never felt as though I was being forced to the conclusion, but once the diegetic hints start coming (they're all explained in the denouement) you appreciate them.
My only slight gripe is the story was in the default Twine font and format (I think it's called Jonah? The dark one that clears the screen after each choice). I always appreciate when authors make the font a little bit larger and more readable. There was only once or twice when the text filled more than the upper fourth of the screen, so that would be my only suggestion: style the HTML a bit more nicely.
I went from skimming some of the descriptions at the beginning to actually fully invested and interested in the story that Samantha Vick was telling, as well as her characters. So many of the Twine offerings have very abstracted plot lines or provide just so much metaphorical poetry (which Twine does very well), or are so poorly written that you may as well not bother. So if you've never read a good fully-fleshed out and plotted narrative in a CYOA-type wrapper, then The Axolotl Project is here as one of the best and most recent examples of how Twine can be used to tell an actual linear, non-abstract story.
Axolotl is a fantastic sci fi Twine game with a large map, big inventory, multiple NPC's with menu-driven conversation, and so on.
You play a researcher of alien salamanders on the moon. The corporation you are working for is breathing down your neck, and things start to go wrong. A mystery develops, a surprisingly deep mystery, that I found extremely satisfying.
Also, this is a surprisingly fresh Twine game, as it avoids many of the overused Twine tropes: world-weariness, body horror, and psychological metaphor are all avoided for a better sci fi story.
One of the best Twine games ever.
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