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About the Story
This dream took an odd turn, somewhere. Why can't you wake up? And so much seems awry here: lost dreams are abandoned in the park, the local poetry trade is drying up, and nobody seems able to get into Night Town anymore.
31st Place - 25th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2019)
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Number of Reviews: 2
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This is a lengthy game that has you surviving a fall in a dream, and wandering around the dream landscape.
I love the whimsical setting here, and its very imaginative, especially the whole cloth situation in the market.
The game uses dream logic, though, and I soon turned to the walkthrough and became baffled by the suggested actions. Errors litter the game as well, such as the game saying you have a smock when you don't get it later.
This is a game that needs more polish. Having experienced beta testers run through it over a few months would have helped a lot.
Surrealism and dreamscapes is something that interactive fiction, a medium where anything that can be expressed in words can be experienced, is particularly suited for. In The Four Eccentrics, you literally dive right into a very peculiar dream. Already the opening landscape, a park filled with globes containing other dreams, sparks the imagination in ways that visual media cannot. From there, the game opens up to a fabulous world of wonders and strangeness.
In a dreamscape such as this, thereís always a danger that navigation becomes an issue of some difficulty; if diamonds are food and words are currency, how do you even begin to guess the verb? The Four Eccentrics handles this very well, and although you can do several unorthodox things in its dream, most of them come rather natural.
In a way, the basics of the story, your mission in the game, is an archetypical one, which makes it easier to find your way forward and finally reach the conclusion. I liked this contrast. Two other surrealistic games I have enjoyed are Shade and Sub Rosa. The Four Eccentrics is very different from either of these, though somewhat closer to the latter. In particular, more things are clear, much thanks to the world being populated by several NPCs to assist you on your way.
To be honest, there is room for plenty of polish for The Four Eccentrics to become a truly enjoyable experience; Iíve seen descriptions coming before they should and others that linger on until the end, objects that are both there and not (but not in a dreamy way), and at least one case of serious disambiguation problems. Still, it was a very enjoyable game, and it certainly has the potential of becoming a classic.