Number of Reviews: 5
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Didn't quite work for me, November 17, 2023
This was an unusual one, starting with a short Twine piece that leads into a parser game. While the “a father made this for his daughter and wants her to play it right now in the hospital” conceit led me to expect a fairly small, simple parser game, it was actually quite large, with many rooms, hidden objects, and multiple NPCs. I started out exploring all the places and collecting all the things; the notes especially were an intriguing layer, and I felt motivated to hunt them down (I wish I could have talked about them to the dad in the “after” segment). So I was settling deep into the parser, when… I realized that my two hours of IFComp playtime were almost up.
Since I wanted to get to the second Twine part before my judging window ran out, I went ahead and skipped to that one without having reached the end of the parser game. Which made the experience of playing out that portion fall somewhat flat, because the PC had finished the game, whereas I hadn’t. It didn’t help that I had already felt at a distance from the PC in the first segment; for example, when I got the choice of whether or not to lie to my mom, I had no idea why the PC might want to. I couldn’t get a read on her relationship with James, either.
The parser game also suffered from some typos, lack of implementation, and disambiguation issues; at first I wasn’t sure if this was intentional, painting the dad character as an imperfect programmer, but nothing in the game supported that reading, so I think it just needed a bit more polish.
As a whole, I didn’t emotionally connect with this game, and I think the large-parser-between-two-Twines format wasn’t ideally suited to a comp with a two-hour judging window. But I did enjoy my time in the parser game, and will definitely be going back to explore more.