The Shadow In The Snow

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A promising Twine game about a stranded motorist, October 11, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

I taught a summer camp in Twine a few months ago. We spent about a week going over adding multimedia, setting variables, beta testing, etc. They liked it and kept working on games even after the camp, some which were pretty cool and impressive.

This game reminds me of that, the game of someone who has recently learned twine and puts in 10-20 hours of work making a fairly complex game. It has a soundtrack, custom styling, and non-linear puzzles.

It reaches for a few things without quite making it. I vividly remember when I entered my first IFComp game, one of the most famous people in IF made a comment about my game:

"I found *Ether* least effective when it explicitly went for pathos in the writing, because it was asking me to empathize[...]and it hadnít put in the time to build up that empathy."

I was hurt by that at the time, but it's true, and it's true about this game, too. The violence and the blood in the snow aren't as frightening because there wasn't enough buildup. The game is asking us to be afraid or to be disturbed by the death of others, but we know nothing about them.

It wouldn't take a lot to fix that. The difference between an okay story and an awesome story is usually just a few tweaks. In my experience, the best thing to do is just try something, see how people react, and change it if it doesn't work, then repeat. That's why I usually have 10+ beta testers, it lets me work out all the questionable parts of a story before I release it. In this case, if I had to suggest anything specific, I'd give our character some more personality: maybe this is their first cross-country road trip as an adult and they're a little lost and terrified of how dark it is. Maybe they run out of the room at the first sight of blood. If you say something is scary, the reader isn't usually scared. If you say the character is scared, though, then a lot of times the reader will empathize with them.

The puzzle parts of this game weren't too bad. There are a lot of unfair deaths you can't undo, but the game is short enough that you can try over and over again. I still would have liked a few more hints at what works and what doesn't, and maybe expand the story and game a little longer. Overall, I definitely think the author should keep writing; I'll keep an eye out for any future games.

+Polish: I didn't notice any bugs, and the multimedia aspects worked well.
-Descriptiveness: Like I mentioned above, I think the story could use some work.
-Emotional impact: Same as above.
+Interactivity: The puzzle structure wasn't too bad.
-Would I play again? Not at this time, but I would play another game by this author!

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hovinarri, December 12, 2020 - Reply
thanks for the crit... i appreciate it...
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