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A blend of game types in a spoof on Castle Balderstone, November 11, 2021
For several years now, Ryan Veeder has entered a game with a variation on th name Tales from Castle Balderstone. Previously, these games were parser games that contained many 'mini games' with a framing story that you were being guided around a castle that was holding a contest or reading of short horror stories, with each story being one game. The narrator of the framing story speaks to you directly as a guest, and is usually Ryan Veeder himself.
This game spoofs that general idea, but instead of parser games, it uses Ink, Twine, and Choicescript (possibly more). In an interesting twist, this year's real Castle Balderstone game also blends platforms by using both Twine and parser.
This game uses the same framing device, except now there are more Ryan Veeders; in fact, everyone is a Ryan Veeder.
The overall switching between systems is impressive, but the game has numerous errors, such as doubled periods in the Twine system and a game-crashing mis-defined variable 'raven' in the Choicescript section. My game ended abruptly after the Choicescript section with a screen that I could only see when not in full screen but couldn't click on, so I assume that was the ending.
Overall, the game has funny elements (such as the stats screen of the Choicescript section). I feel, though, that it misses the mark a bit. Castle Balderstone is already a humor/parody series, so making a parody of it is like making a copy of a copy, kind of how Scary Movie made fun of Scream which made fun of earlier horror stories. Part of what makes Castle Balderstone games work so well is that, within the framing, the stories can be seen as completely earnest and actually work quite well as sincerely creepy or heartfelt stories; the games also serve as a combination dumping ground/testing ground for interesting game concepts, many of which are completely new or at least relatively uncommon in the parser scene. This game has a touch of that (with blending Ink, Twine, and Choicescript), but in the end I was left a bit disappointed.
-Polish: I found several bugs, including game-crashing
-Descriptiveness: The game is pretty vague
+Interactivity: I liked the switching systems and some of the mechanics
-Emotional impact: Like I said above, it didn't really grab me.
+Would I play again? Yes, especially if the bugs were fixed!