Muse: An Autumn Romance

by Christopher Huang


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Number of Reviews: 4
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1-4 of 4

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A mid-length conversation-based Victorian game about romance, February 3, 2016

Muse is a bit on the long side for an IFComp game. In this game, you play an English clergyman who becomes interested in a young woman.

The game is focused on conversation and a few keyed actions. This is a game with good writing, but underclued puzzles, and so I took my standard tack for such games of just using a walkthrough after muddling about for a bit. (As an example of an underclued puzzle, (Spoiler - click to show)It says your room is stuffy. If you don't open your window, you can go around and do things for hours, but you will never solve the puzzle.).

There were also other word issues. You have to say "daughter" instead of the daughters name sometimes when speaking to the father.

All in all, I think that everyone would enjoy this game more with a walkthrough than just playing through. The puzzles are not compelling.

But I strongly recommend the text.

8 of 16 people found the following review helpful:
Immune to the Charm, April 5, 2010
by AmberShards (The Gothic South)

This is another game where I must be immune to the charm, as Muse didn't strike me as either particularly emotional or Victorian. Although bugs threatened mimesis (you can carry around your trunk even though the game tells you it's too heavy, you can talk to the minister without introducing yourself), it was the lack of direction that really confused me.

There are no points that I could discover, and I had no idea whether what I said was leading anywhere or whether it was more idle conversation. Muse doesn't clue in the player when the PC makes progress and the PC doesn't often think about his conversations; it's very frustrating and left me just guessing topics and trying them out with every NPC.

The story cries out for a immersive world (say that you and the painter get angry; why can't you buy him an ale?), but instead it's bare-bones implementation time. I'm sure that there are certain paths that you should take, but I'm left mystified as to what they are.

I guess I could fight my way through to some ending, but I've got better things to do than spend an hour or more guessing the conversation topic. Muse aims high (Victorian romance) and sadly, falls short.

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
Unique, November 3, 2008
by Pavel Soukenik (Kirkland, WA)

Muse is taking place in a French coastal village in 1886 and it tells a story (in the first person, past tense) of a 59-year-old English clergyman encountering a beautiful young German lady. As such, it is a unique title in the world of IF, and the superbly written introductory paragraphs make you feel you are in for a great time.

The protagonist's character permeates the writing so we get his perspective, ideas and feelings. Occasionally though, these do not go deep enough or fail to feel authentic given his age and experience. The writing also captures the Victorian period well (as does the insistence on greetings and introductions). The past tense in the first person fits the story but the author could have adapted the 'library' even more ("My trusty old steamer trunk lay here," you read before the first prompt, where "lay there" would be seamless). The feel is rounded off by well-selected quotations (mostly by Lewis Carroll), although these border on a recommendation for "less is more".

The game is well hinted (although you might feel a bit lost if you are not on the optimal track) but could have used more testing. Specific problems (tiny spoilers ahead) are as follows: (Spoiler - click to show)After two turns when you were unable to do anything but look at her, the main character must not say "I wasn't sure what 'her' referred to." After the boatman tells you "We must go," the response to BOATMAN, WAIT could also have been anticipated and tailored. You can get nonsensical ending if your first two commands happen to be PUSH TRUNK TO BOAT, GET IN BOAT. And in my play-through, Mr Von Goethe did not "recognize" my referring to his daughter by her name even after he told me what her name was.

Since several appear at the very start of the story, this is distracting. Similarly distracting is the choice of the names (John Austin, Von Goethe). The otherwise very nice prose suffers somewhat by the need to include directions; to alleviate this, the direction to the "previous area" is sometimes not repeated in the "current" location. (Spoiler - click to show)(I was once "trapped" in my room: with no exit direction in the description, my short-term memory, the door object missing from inside, and the "out" and "exit" not implemented, I had to try the directions one by one.)

Despite these problems, this is a nice and emotional short story featuring several endings, and it has a unique voice which recreates a specific atmosphere and period. Its only significant flaws are that it should have more depth and breadth so that the ride would last longer.

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Still stuck on this one. I think., November 10, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: Christopher Huang, ***, didn't finish

I've had a few goes at this game now, and although I've managed to reach a couple of unsatisfactory endings, I've not yet been able to complete the storyline I'm aiming at. It's not as though I'm obviously in a failure situation, either; I'm just stuck at a point where nothing I do seems to progress the story. So I can't really write a proper review. Also, I occasionally found myself guessing at the correct syntax, something that shouldn't really be necessary in a well-tested game.

I do want to say that I like the way you can ask characters about other characters (and indeed themselves), and I like the way the story's told in the past tense.

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