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Starlight Shadows

by Autumn Chen profile


(based on 5 ratings)
4 reviews

About the Story

Lyra Leblanc has a mission: to save her city from the infiltrating nanotech entities. Help her gather allies to fight the demons that threaten her home.

Made in 4 hours for La Petite Morte, Ectocomp 2022.

Game Details


5th Place, La Petite Mort - English - ECTOCOMP 2022


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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
By our powers combined!, November 21, 2022
by Draconis
Related reviews: Ectocomp 2022

A much more lighthearted choice-based game. You’re Lyra, you’re hosting a high school party, an Entity is going to attack in two hours, and if you want to stand a chance against it you need allies. Already I’m delighted by the premise. (To probably no-one’s surprise, this is one of my favorite genres of Halloween spooky.)

The plot is relatively straightforward. Talk to your friends at the party. Convince as many of them as possible to help you. Then fight the entity when it shows up. The first part is a mix of classic choice-based dialogue (choose what you say) and “world-establishing choices”; I’m sure there’s a better word for this, but the choices that define facts about the world rather than your character’s actions, like collaborative worldbuilding in a tabletop game (or the first chapter of a Choice of Games work). You talk to your brother, and the first choice is how positive or negative your relationship currently is—and while having it be negative is probably a bad tactical decision, it seemed like the more interesting story, so I had to take that one. In other words, the start was exciting enough that I was more interested in adding drama to the story than winning the fight, which is a commendation.

Then you fight the entity in a little turn-based system. You can tell your allies to attack or defend in various ways as you try to hurt the entity and it tries to hurt you. This was the weakest part of the game, and I couldn’t really tell what was working and what wasn’t—defensive actions got no response at all, while the aggressive ones mostly seemed to all do the same thing, so I just rotated through me and my allies attacking and stopped worrying about our own health.

While the combat itself was a bit of a letdown (and, to be fair, implementing an engaging tactical combat system in a Petite Mort game is an enormous task), I had a lot of fun trying to figure out the details of this world and my character’s past, driving the dialogue in directions that would lead to flashback scenes. Reminisce with my (ex?) boyfriend and the flashback to our first date establishes that (Spoiler - click to show)nobody in this world has ever seen the stars; let my friend talk about the book series she’s obsessed with and she mentions in passing that (Spoiler - click to show)writings from the old world were preserved through DNA storage. A Petite Mort game is really the perfect medium for hinting at a world without explaining any of it, and I’m now replaying to see how many other tidbits I can uncover.

This is my favorite one so far, and I’m very curious if the author intends to write (or has written?) anything else in this setting, or wants to leave it a mystery for the ages.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Something is coming... will defeating it be enough?, June 3, 2023
by manonamora
Related reviews: ectocomp

Starlight Shadows follows Lyra, a teenager with some sort of telepathic and prescient skills/powers, trying to figure out what to do after she gets a message that something wrong is about to happen at this (costumed?) party...

This short game is quite simple: you have one hour to gather your fighters before a fight with those strange entities is about to break out, and fight them. Unlike Autumn's other time/resource-management-gameplay games, you are able to interact with (and potentially recruit) every named individuals: your twin brother who's annoyed by you derailing his party and would only relent to help with threats, your (maybe more/less) ex who's witnessed your powers before and know you mean business, the social butterfly who's just a school acquaintance and is really into that one old book series, and the underprivilege gifted kid who is a loner. Whether you convince them is a different story...

When you have recruited your agent(s) - you need at least one - you wait until the clock strikes 8 to run fight those strange entities. Follows a turn-based beat-em-up fight against one entity, (Spoiler - click to show)revealing two endings: one failure where you are saved and told you require more training*, one winning where you realise there will be more fights ahead.
*This was an interesting ending, teasing something a bit ominous, maybe an experiment?

The game feels more of a preview of a larger one, where you'd follow Lyra as she takes on fighting different entities, and save the world (or maybe not...) (and maybe explore that past incident?). But considering it was constrained to a 4h deadline for writing and coding, it is an impressive rounded piece on its own.

Even with its limited sizes, there are a handful of Easter Eggs from Autumn's previous work: referencing A Paradox Between Worlds in the book Cy is reading or during your conversation with Cassie (she is a big fan!) (also Cassie's name feels very APBW too), the mentions of DNA-storage/archiving mechanism from The Archivist & the Revolution*... Also the recurrent theme of the main character not liking being around crowd/attending parties (very Karen from Pageant vibes).
*If the names of some of those characters are familiar, it's because they appear in documents of TA&R, making this game some sort of the latter's prequel...

Final note: only when writing this review did I realise that all characters were named after a constellation... and that is also related to the title...

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Assemble your super team and fight, November 14, 2022
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This is a speed-IF written in 4 hours or less. It's written using Dendry.

Basically, you're at a party and need to assemble a party of fighters to take on a coming entity. You have both telepathy and future-telling abilities. You can use your telepathy to talk to others and know what type of arguments will convince them most.

There's still some puzzle elements, despite the mind-reading, as you have to figure out how best to implement what you learn. I always liked Divination specialists in D&D and this game seems to show exactly why being skilled in information gathering would be an excellent power.

This story is brief, but has easter eggs from the author's other works, including A Paradox Between Worlds (referenced in on friends' costume and favorite book series), and The Archivist and the Revolution, referenced in encoding data in DNA.

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