Dear Elise

by CD Libine

Part of Running out of Ink: Limited Spaces
Science Fiction

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A claustrophobic exploration game about mystery, science and love , March 13, 2022
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This game is part of the Running out of Ink: Limited Spaces anthology recently released on itch.

The story is about you, a youth who discovers a mysterious door in the forest. You are barred from entering, but when you return as an adult, no one can hold you back.

Gameplay is centered on finding journal entries and tapes. The tapes have very nice voice acting, although I was playing around my kid and the first tape started with some loud profanity, so I ended up just reading the thoughtfully-provided transcripts instead lol.

The feel of the game is simultaneously full of terror but also calm. All of the damage is in or from the past. There are lots of spiders, claustrophobic situations, darkness, hints of obsession, etc.

There are some puzzles in play. The first puzzle completely stumped me. I was flabbergasted, not knowing if I had enough info. Then I realized (moderate-to-strong hint)(Spoiler - click to show)certain parts of the documents are highlighted.

Overall, I found the storytelling high-quality, professional tier; this reads like a sci-fi story in an anthology you'd see displayed at a Barnes and Noble table. The design and layout are custom Twine that look very nice, especially the tapes.

Overall, it's a strong game. I don't know if I'd replay it; while every piece was strong, games also some times need a je ne sais quoi that ties it all together, and for me I didn't get that overarching sense of completion that would make a game perfect. But it is a game I can recommend and praise.