Stone Harbor

by Liza Daly profile


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Number of Reviews: 5
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Amazing premise in an amazing custom hypertext system, August 3, 2017
by Ruber Eaglenest
Related reviews: IF Comp 2016

Disclaimer: (Spoiler - click to show)Hi, this are the reviews I did in the the IFComp 2016. Iím Ruber Eaglenest. Co-author of The skyscraper and the scar, and entry of that year. The review is posted without edition, and need some context about how I reviewed and rated the games. So, apart of my bad English I hope to be constructive. I will point to the things I don't like of the game, but I hope to be helpful. The structure I follow is this: Title, one line review, two to five word; Mobile friendliness, overall, score phrased based on IF comp guidelines. I had back ache and so thatís why I played most games in Android mobile, I looked closely at how games behave on mobile and review and vote based on that.

Mobile friendly: Completely! Very well done! It is custom system that just nails it. it is comfortable to play. It has even a link to switch between day mode and night reading mode. It autosaves. The system fills the scroll with text with no end, and when you resume the game you must go down all the way. It could benefit of separate chapters that clean the scroll. And maybe a dynamic link to the actual reading point (that is, all the way down) could be great. But Iím just nit-picking.

General: Great start for a game about spiritualism. The initial scene is really really great creating the mood, presenting the main characters and the main mechanic of interaction. I just loved it. However it is just not real interactive (insert my subjectivity on the matter here). If you drop the game in a book, it would work the same. It is a pity, because the story, the writing, the custom hypertext system, all have a LOT of potential.

There are some problems in the perspective of PC and the narrator in some scenes. Mainly in the scene of the doll. We donít know who we are, if the doll, the girl, the player. Maybe it is on purpose but it just donít work. The point of view should be more homogenise, but in this concrete scene it seems it is jumping from one view to another.

The writing is superb, however I find one lacking in the interpretation of the PC. At the beginning, when he just get out of the trance, he is quite cold about it

This was the first actual psychic experience of your life.

Come on! it should be as this, for example:

It should "I feel my skin like crawl" to the PC, or to the reader.

I missed a LOT of interaction, I miss free exploration, free interaction, I miss agency. It is a pity. However, I take a lot of joy of what I were reading, it is just, it wasn't interactive.

Score: Recommended with reservations. And it is a pity, this could be better just adding more interactivity in EVERY scene, for example, even in dialogues with traditional branching dialogues a-la graphic adventure or modern CYOAs.