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IFComp 2023 version
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Tricks of light in the forest

by Pseudavid profile

2023

(based on 14 ratings)
8 reviews

About the Story

Some year not too far, in a foggy morning just before sunrise, a normal girl takes a normal walk in a normal forest.

A Gruescript choice-parser hybrid, exploration walking simulator with light puzzles.

Exploration
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A forest full of plants, animals and tricks of the light, as fog slowly lifts and the sun unveils all kinds of life.

A living world
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An environment full of unexpected noises, glimpses, animals that come and go, and much more. Interact in depth with almost everything you find. Things can be touched, smelled, picked up, and more!

Things are not as they seem
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Play a 12 year-old girl on an exploration trip to places she has never seen on her own. Her thoughts and emotions will adapt to what you find and choose. Guess what the post-global warming near-future looks like through the thoughts of a kid.


Game Details


Awards

14th Place - 29th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2023)

Winner, Outstanding Gruescript Game of 2023 - The 2023 IFDB Awards

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(2)
4 star:
(8)
3 star:
(4)
2 star:
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Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 8
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Woodland Wonder, December 3, 2023
by Rovarsson (Belgium)

A very intruiging title. I didn’t know what to expect. The “tricks” part made me think of magicians or wizards at first. The game certainly has a magical air, albeit of a more realistic nature.

My parents’ house is surrounded by farmlands in all directions. A mile or so down the narrow road is a small forest. There were no children my age in the street where I grew up. My favourite passtime after school was exploring nature around my house, catching (and releasing) spiders, crane flies (we call them horse mosquitos), grasshoppers, etc… And no, my best friend is not a tiger…

Lara wakes up before sunrise and heads into the woods near the village with her sample box. She’s looking for stuff she might take to school for show-and-tell, and also just out of curiosity and wonder.

At first, Tricks of Light in the Forest comes across as a slice-of-life walk in the forest. Your sense of touch, smell, taste, are as much part of the experience of your surroundings as sight. Nature in all its forms is described in loving detail. Trees and flowers and moss in terms of their fragrance, colour, soft leaves or hard and brittle bark. Bugs up close with shiny beetle shields, dew-glistening spiderwebs, larger animals mostly heard instead of seen.

During the long walk, more and more images and memories and stories about Lara, her parents, the village’s history are triggered by the surrounding forest. These are personal to Lara, showing just a small part of her life here. Put together however, they lead to a fragmented realisation in the player of the broader setting. ((Spoiler - click to show)Twenty, maybe fifty years into the future. Global warming is in full effect, though not in a dramatic post-apocalyptic way. Trees are dying in the drought and uprooted by sudden rainfalls. Species have disappeared and others have migrated into the area. The cities are partly abandoned, skyscrapers are crumbling down.)

The subtle and gradual introduction of these elements into the story has an unsettling effect on the player, but for Lara they are part of her life in this place. She is aware of the changes through stories her parents tell her, and through events during her lifetime, but these things are simply part of the natural flow of things in her experience.

We get to share her view on the woods through an intimate first person viewpoint, with her fears and delights intertwined with her observations of nature.

Later in the game, some puzzles are introduced in a spontaneous manner, blockades and obstacles one might reasonably expect in a forest that has been returning to its wild state for many years now. Their solutions are not that hard, they serve more to force Lara off the beaten track and penetrate deeper into the forest where she witnesses more of the changes to the environment.

Tricks of Light in the Forest is beautifully illustrated, with drawings reminiscent of images out of old natural history books. When Lara reaches notable landmarks, a handdrawn map pops up and shows her progress on the forest path.
Most impressive and impactful are the subtly changing colours and intensity of the background, depending on the lighting of the location (bright sunlight, overshadowed by the canopy,…), or reflecting the time of day (early morning fog, noon sun,…).


A deep, slow, thoughtful piece. Beautiful and detailed descriptions of nature. Themes of loss and wonder and inevitable change. Nature in all its flowing resilience.

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Not just tricky - also mesmerising , April 1, 2024
by Max Fog
Related reviews: IFComp 2023

This game I really enjoyed. Long, interesting messages in a gruescript parser, it was interesting and peaceful. I liked the story and background, as well as the setting. It was very clever.

... And that's literally all I have to say.

Song: There, There. Plus some I Might Be Wrong.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A gruescript walk through a forest with much to see, including dangers, November 22, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

Pseudavid has been consistently putting out thought-provoking games that are near-historical or near-real with cool UI for a while, so I looked forward to this.

The engine for this game reminds me a lot of Gruescript, and has clickable buttons but otherwise operates similar to a parser, for a parser-choice hybrid.

The idea is that you are exploring the woods at a time you aren’t really supposed to, taking pictures and looking for things to bring to school to show others.

The game has enough nature to feel like a nice walk through the forest, like the game The Fire Tower. But it’s odd enough to feel unusual. Plastic is seen as something exotic and rare. An abandoned hut contains what seems to be evidence of torture…or dental care.

I liked the overall vibes, and thought the game looked great, especially the background changing over time.

The game implied I missed out on something at the end, or at least my character did. I didn’t see any opportunities to do more than I did (I crossed the bridge and, looking at the walkthrough after, I had done everything in it).

Sometimes it was a bit of a chore to have 4 different things to click on every thing (the original click to look, then photograph, then smell/touch, then collect).

At times I struggled to use items. I can’t tell if there were bugs or just my way of clicking was bad. At times I thought that clicking to use an item and then clicking on a scenery object would bring up an option on that scenery object to use the item. At other times I thought that clicking on the object itself would bring up the option to use it on the scenery item. I suspect the latter was the case most often.

Also, it seemed like the map kept getting bigger (which was awesome) but at some point the X got stuck in the upper right.

Overall, I enjoyed this a lot; the complaints above are minor things, while the core game itself was something good and interesting.

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See All 8 Member Reviews

Tricks of light in the forest on IFDB

Polls

The following polls include votes for Tricks of light in the forest:

Outstanding Underappreciated Game of 2023 by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the most underappreciated game of 2023. Voting is open to all IFDB members....

Outstanding Gruescript Game of 2023 by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2023 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best Gruescript game of 2023. Voting is open to all IFDB members. Eligible...

Outstanding Slice of Life Game of 2023 by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2023 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best Slice of Life game of 2023. Voting is open to all IFDB members....

See all polls with votes for this game




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