Nose Bleed

by Stanley W. Baxton profile

Surreal
2022

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Number of Reviews: 9
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
This one just didn't work for me, October 19, 2022
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 15 minutes, IF Comp 2022

In this choice-based game you play as... someone. A non-descript person with a desk job, whose nose continually starts and stops bleeding throughout the piece, without much explanation. The ending intrigued me and put a new spin on the story that came before, but it wasn't enough to redeem it.

This one didn't work for me on several levels. The first was the interface. Instead of clicking on a word or sentence to make your choices there would be 1-3 verbs in boxes at the bottom of the screen and you had to drag them up to the proper noun to make your choice. At first it seemed unique/fun, but in the end it just took me out of the flow of the story. Clicking a hyperlink is easy and keeps my mind focused on the text rather than the logistics, and if you missed dropping the verb tag on the noun by a little bit it would drop back to the bottom and you'd have to do it again.

Another thing that didn't work for me was the game basically telling me "No!" when I made a choice. Sometimes I would pick a verb and the next screen of text would tell me why my character couldn't do that. In other games I've played in the past this mechanic has served to emphasize the helplessness of the character, but I didn't feel like that was justified here. Also, sometimes it works to interrupt your character in the middle of the action as a change of pace, but it happened too often in this story for that to be effective.

Finally, the story just didn't grab me. When you start you have no idea what is going on and the same it true right up to the end. The writing is vague, on purpose I'm sure, but it didn't work for me. If I never know what is going on, even a little bit, I can't get in to the story. And it seemed like the story repeated the same cycle of (Spoiler - click to show)nose bleed -> deal with it somehow -> get ridiculed -> be confused too much.

Clean interface and programming, but nothing about the game worked for me.

ADDENDUM: I've since learned that the interface isn't unique to this game. I thought it was a Twine innovation or something, but it was actually made with Texture Writer, an authoring tool that came out in 2014, but that I hadn't encountered until this game. That said, do to my other issues with the game, I'm keeping my star rating the same. Just an FYI.