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About the Story
The Ritual awaits...
Entrant, Main Festival - Spring Thing 2023
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Number of Reviews: 2
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This is a curious parser/Twine combo. I admire the author’s bravery for trying to implement a parser in Twine. Though I found it more often than not somewhat frustrating.
For example there’s a point where you are asked your name. Rather than just type that into the entry box you have to type e.g. “name Viv”. Which felt unintuitive.
Often I would struggle to get the game to respond. Not helped by the screen also often not scrolling down to show me when new text had appeared if I did type something recognised, so there were frequently times when it felt like I’d had no response but I just didn’t always see it before trying other commands.
There is a crucial choice moment where again I was running into a parser brickwall. I tried something different, and got an interesting outcome. Then replayed and managed to get a bit further through the choice, to get another ending. Then tried one last time and got a third ending. But I did not want to replay further. And ran into a bug when I tried to use BACK at the very end to go back to a previous choice.
The underlying story is interesting, intriguing scifi-esque, but I think this game might have been better if written as a more conventional Twine piece. Often I would be repeatedly typing C or CONTINUE to move the story on, which felt like little more than clicking “next” or “continue” in normal Twine. And then when I needed to use the parser I would struggle.
This games has a parser written from scratch in Twine.
Making your own parser is a fraught thing, and many people have tried and failed over the years. The last-place entries of IFcomp are sprinkled with poor parser of years past. The biggest issue is that there is a bewildering amount of tradition in parser games that varies from group to group, all of whom may get upset if your style doesn't match theirs (like GET vs TAKE, X vs EXAMINE vs LOOK [object], G for again, Z for wait, abbreviations for cardinal directions, hitting 'up' for copying an earlier command). A few people have managed to make very robust custom parser: Robin Johnson, Nils Fagerburg, and Linus Åkesson.
This one is better than many I've seen, especially since it doesn't require downloading a Windows Executable and it has fairly quick response times. However, there are a few oddities that got in my way a bit: compass directions are part of play, but the text does not indicate possible compass directions to go in. Some basic actions are not repeatable, although no reason is given for it (generally things that give you one-time info). On the positive side, keyword highlighting is in use, similar to many Aaron Reed games, where you can interact with objects by typing their names. On the neutral side, much of the game occurs by typing Continue.
On the story side, this is reminiscent of books like The Giver or Divergent, where you are in a futuristic society and your role in life is chosen in a big ceremony.
I liked the overall story, and found it fun. I ended with a pretty big surprise in my playthrough, which was good. Some of the individual word choices stuck out as strange to me; one guy was referred to as 'the being' and 'the male' a lot, which made him sound kind of alien, and there were a few other choices that were a bit odd.
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