Ghostfinder: Shift

by Han-Joo Kim

Episode 2 of Ghostfinder series

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Number of Reviews: 3
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Serial murder investigation in Twine, October 13, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

So this one has a lot of good features and some that didnít mesh with me. Iím not sure Iím the target audience.

This is a long Twine game with a mechanic that Iíve not really seen in IFComp before. Thereís a long, mostly linear prologue where you meet all the main characters, then youíre given a bunch of journal entries/case files to go through. As you go through them, you can type them into a database to learn more, kind of like Her Story.

This is a game about a serial rapist/murderer. In fact, itís the third game Iíve played in this comp that prominently features a kidnapper/sexual assaulter. This game specifically seems heavily influenced by stories like those featured in true crime podcasts and documentaries, and by the Golden State Killer specifically.

+Polish: A lot of work went into this game.
+Descriptiveness: Has a level of detail similar to true crime podcasts.
-Interactivity: The main mechanic was overly difficult to me. Typing in things that I knew were important (like 'bulger') didn't always work.
+Emotional impact: It was an emotion I didn't like, but it did it.
-Would I play again? Not my cup of tea, content-wise.
The graphic depictions in one of the assaults and the extensive profanity/abuse definitely set me on edge, and I donít think Iím the target audience for it. Writing-wise, this game is good on the individual level, but some of the twists didnít make much sense to me, especially the ending sequence which changed the genre of the game completely.

The mechanics are interesting, but I think they could use more testing for robustness. I will say if you havenít played it yet that it keeps a running notebook for you at the very bottom, which I didnít notice until near the end.

Overall, the author seems very talented. This game was beta tested by several people, but I think the next game in the series could use a couple of more people, especially Twine authors who have done well in the comp before. Iím assuming there will be more in the series, and Iíd be happy to see that, especially ones with less sexual violence (for my personal taste, may not reflect all readers).