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About the Story
Trapped alone in a darkened antique store with a man-eating grue, can you keep a light going long enough to survive?
2nd Place - EctoComp 2014
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 2
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To start with: I am not going to review this as an Ectocomp game, because it is so well-constructed, in terms of both writing and gameplay, that there is no way I could have guessed that it was made in three hours. I am going to review it as if it were any other interactive fiction game.
Caelyn Sandel has a history of making Twine games with strong world modelling and well implemented puzzles, more like point-and-click adventures than CYOA stories. It Is Pitch Black falls into this category. The plot is simple, but engaging: you are a kid going into an abandoned hardware store for a bet, one of your friends accidentally locks you in, and you have to find a way to make the light last until help arrives. Because you're not alone.
The writing is excellent: clear, not fancy, transmitting both the setting and the PC's sensations perfectly and without melodramatic effects. The use of graphics (and lack thereof) adds to the ambience. The puzzles are solid; again, exactly what I expect from Sandel's work. It is not extremely difficult, but it took me a couple of tries to beat.
I have very little negative criticism. The world-building feels sketchy, including magic and monsters as well as a vague (but evocative) apocalypse some time before the start of the game, but as the outro text explains that the game is part of a larger setting created by the author, I presume that other works fill in the details. I could also quibble with the use of the Zorkian staple, the grue, in an otherwise serious and non-derivative story. Obviously, there is a reason for the monster being called a grue (and not, say, a gazzok): the game's main puzzle is finding light sources, the average IF player knows that grues are afraid of light, no further set-up is needed. It still brought me out of the game a little bit.
As horror games go, this isn't particularly horrific, but it is tense and atmospheric. Recommended if you want a decently challenging Twine game with a world model and puzzles.
(And no, I still don't know how Ms. Sandel makes games like this in three hours.)
In this game, you are trapped inside a small shop with a grue (a creature from the Zork series). Just any connection with Zork makes a game more silly, but that's not a drawback here.
You have to move through the darkness with limited resources. As you do, you find different sources of light and other surprises. You're just trying to survive.
I had to replay a couple of times to get it right. It has some nice ambient sounds and good use of images and backgrounds.
I really liked it, and recommend it.
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