Castle, Forest, Island, Sea

by Hide&Seek


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Number of Reviews: 2
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Play it for the fantasy, not the philosophy, November 7, 2014
by CMG (NYC)

I enjoyed this game for its whimsical fairy-tale elements, but not so much for its function as an analysis of the player.

Like many online personality tests, Castle, Forest, Island, Sea suffers from the fact that life is too complicated to be boiled down into a questionnaire. This game does succeed in blending the questionnaire with the narrative so that you flow right along with the story. However, in many situations, the choices the player can select are too limiting for the game to generate an accurate analysis about the player's philosophical outlook.

For example… (Spoiler - click to show)after a man-eating three-headed giant has been defeated, the player is asked to either forgive or condemn one of the giant's heads. That head was a pacifist that disagreed with the other two heads for behaving violently. But without any detailed insight into this giant's history, into what arguments the third head had previously made against the others, into how much control each head truly exercised over the body, into how necessary meat-eating was for its diet, etc., I personally found it impossible to pass a judgement. There wasn't enough information. Of course, I had to pass a judgement to continue the game anyway.

Likewise, when confronted with a princess whose governing policies had allowed the giant to run rampant, the player must either criticize the princess for being too rational in her policy-making or agree with her that a person cannot be too rational. This seems beside the point, since one can implement poor policies while still attempting to act rationally. Again, without learning more details about precisely why and how the castle had been governed and what alternatives there might have been, I found it impossible to judge the princess.

When the game ended, my analysis was filled with unhelpful contradictions. I was told that sometimes I judge people harshly and that sometimes I'm forgiving. I agreed with the blackbird more often than the robin, but I also agreed with the robin and the blackbird about the same amount.

I suppose this muddled analysis does reflect my ambivalence toward many of the choices in the game, but it doesn't say anything. Despite that, I can't fault the game too much here, because I don't believe it's really possible to construct an accurate personality test. At least not in this fashion.

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