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Heretic's Hope

by G. C. Baccaris profile

Episode 2 of Sacred Tides series

Web Site

(based on 19 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

Eser is the only human left alive.

Gods and monsters, blessings and curses, an island ruled by giant insects — and in their midst: a reluctant human priest. Grief-stricken and bound by oath to obey the Queen’s newest divine decree, Eser will seek advice, encounter strange visitors, draw the attention of powers beyond comprehension, and surely make mistakes.

As a baby, they were brought to Achthoven to save their life.

As an adult, they must decide what kind of life is worth living.

Game Details


Nominee, Best Story; Winner, Best Setting; Nominee, Best NPCs; Nominee - Pontiff Apocrita, Best Individual NPC; Nominee, Best Use of Innovation; Winner - Tie, Best Use of Multimedia - 2019 XYZZY Awards

5th Place - 25th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2019)

Editorial Reviews

Last Pylon
Clerics and Carapaces
Starting off, I became high priest of a religion I didn’t believe in, and improvised a prayer to crowd of enormous insects. [...] I fist-fought a bee. I … enjoyed this game. A ton. [...] It’s one I could see myself playing again in the future, making different decisions, for the hell of it.

Also, I got to give a benediction to some maggots at the behest of a face-stealing bugman. What more could I ask for in a game, I tell you?
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IF Comprehensive

[...] it’s well-paced, consistently interesting, and takes place in an original setting. [...] It’s difficult to anticipate exactly how the conversation branches will affect the development of the plot, but there are definitely branch points in the story and meaningful choices to make. There are also three different mentors from which the player can choose, encouraging replaying the game. The custom interface for the game is both beautifully designed and easy to use. The polished and professional writing is consistently strong throughout, conveying the utter alienness of the world and its inhabitants.
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EJ's Interactive Fiction Reviews
[...] [I]t employs its weird fiction tropes in service of a story that felt fresh and unusual for the genre. Heretic’s Hope is, as I read it, a sort of allegory about the experience of growing up as an Other, specifically in the situation where everyone around you belongs to the dominant culture and you have no community of your own people for support. [...] I found it a well-written story that felt emotionally real despite the fantastical aspects of the situation, and while I can generally take or leave graphics and sound/music in IF, both the visual and sound design were well-done and helped to enhance the foreboding atmosphere.
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Comfort Castle
The presentation is as gorgeous as Devotionalia. The visual styling is great [...] – I haven’t seen anything else like Baccaris’ games. This game also comes with profile pictures and scene-setting pictures to dress up the text. Music is used throughout, with appropriate music selected to raise tension or fill quieter moments. [...] This is a dialogue-heavy game, and something I love is that each dialogue choice comes with a little stage-action telling you what the protagonist means by it (“Evade,” “Agree,” “Deflect”…). [...] Honestly, what I read into this game wasn’t about being a human, but about being made an alien. There’s a strand of imposter syndrome – being forced to fake it and hope you make it, feeling like an outcast, feeling like everyone mistrusts you.
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These Heterogenous Tasks

This is a very polished piece: the writing is at a professional level, and a very thorough job has been done with presentation. But it didn’t really click with me [...] It was not for me, but I feel it deserves high placing.
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Iris Colt ⁠— Interactive Fiction
I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I was going to at the beginning. I was a little hesitant about how fantasy with nice interface it was, but this is a strange and alien exploration of what it means for two dying races to flourish once again through a new found and tentative symbiosis. (Well, it is more about facing realities, and that those realities are complex and not always easy to untangle.)
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Stephen Granade
Let's Play Interactive Fiction Ep 6: Heretic's Hope
I play G.C. Baccaris's "Heretic's Hope," in which I am the religious leader for a bunch of giant insects. I also get a chance to punch a bee.
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Member Reviews

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Number of Reviews: 3
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Idiosyncratical and stunning, November 19, 2019

The thing I appreciate the most about Heretic’s Hope is the same I appreciated about Devotionalia: it sets out to tell a story whose subject matter, structure, rhythm, style, etc. are very much at odds with most things at IFcomp, and even more at odds with most things in videogames, and even most things in popular culture.

“What is it to be holy?”, the game asks. What kind of question is that in a videogame? The game doesn’t compromise to make the subject more player-friendly. Hats off to anyone willing to do all this in such a coherent way.

The story is fine, the aesthetics stunning, the interactions well thought. I have problems with them sll, but minor. It’s memorably written and illustrated. Both the story and the design follow the same principle: horror vacui. It’s a very dangerous thing to try, and you need to have it under pretty good control. The game keeps piling characters, locations, plotlines, pictures, colored words, decorated frames, but amazingly, it mostly pulls it off. Perhaps it's the sheer imagination of it all, even when it's way too much.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A fantasy/horror game with deep worldbuilding and impressive UI, October 3, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This author has become well known for Twine UI work. with many people interested in learning how to make games look the way, for instance, Devotionalia did.

This game has that same rich UI. Buttons instead of hyperlinks, character portraits, rich backdrops, multiple save files in a button in a collapsible menu.

Story-wise, this is heavy stuff, epic fantasy mixed with horror. You are a lone human burying their mother, living on an island filled with huge, sentient insects. You have been offered a controversial position on the island in the religious hierarchy, and life is complicated.

Most choices are about your attitude and response to others (agreeing, disagreeing, deflecting). Others have agency affecting the story. The real replayability factor is in the characters, not all of which you can talk to in one go through.

It's polished, descriptive, interactive, creepiness-inducing, and I would replay, so I'm giving it 5 stars!

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Wwow, October 2, 2019
by huckanddorothy (Los Angeles, CA)

The story was moving. The graphics were amazing. This pushed me to do better.

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The following polls include votes for Heretic's Hope:

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Overall NPCs of 2019 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2019 which you think might be worth considering for Best NPCs in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination.This is not an official list. The point of poll is partly to suggest games...

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Innovation of 2019 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2019 which you think might be worth considering for Best Innovation in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination.This is not an official list. The point of poll is partly to suggest...

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Use of Multimedia of 2019 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2019 which you think might be worth considering for Best Use of Multimedia in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination.This is not an official list. The point of poll is partly to...

See all polls with votes for this game

This is version 12 of this page, edited by EJ on 22 February 2023 at 1:04am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page