by Emily Short profile

Episode 1 of Lavori d'Aracne

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Number of Reviews: 12
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Character and craft, December 19, 2021

There's little about the game that hasn't been touched on in other reviews, but, a few things that struck me in particular -

The protagonist was beautifully rendered. The swashbuckling hero, with both a refined sense of manners and a total lack of scruples, will be familiar to anyone who's read Dumas or similarly-flavoured French period fiction -- and his character suffuses everything from the room and item descriptions to the structure of the puzzles. I laughed out loud several times, which I do rarely when reading. This is certainly a puzzle game, and the story is not the focus -- outside of the feelies, which are excellently done and worth reading -- but the prose here is nevertheless among the best of any IF I've read, and very fine even by Short's usual standard.

The puzzles are centered around the game's form of magic, but almost all of them also rely on an elaborate physical simulation of the world. Liquids and light are particularly deeply-implemented, and interact in a consistent way with the "linking" mechanic. Once you've experimented enough to learn the rules of the world, the puzzles are all logical enough and frequently have multiple good solutions... the game is overall still quite challenging, but a thorough player can work their way through the whole thing without a walkthrough.

Altogether wonderfully done.

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