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About the Story
Bear Creek, August 1975.
5th Place - Spring Thing 2014
Spring Thing 2014 - Capsule Reviews
Bear Creek (Wes Modes): This is a period piece set in childhood in 1975. It’s a bit reminiscent of She’s Got a Thing For a Spring, and also a little of Six: the action is mostly innocent childhood activity like picking berries and looking at insects, set in an idyllic natural space that has been implemented with considerable care. It does manage to avoid being too saccharine, and it does a good job of creating spaces that you want to explore in a childlike way. The setting is strong: we get smells, sounds, temperature fluctuations, as well as sights. NPCs wander around and pursue their own concerns. The world state gradually shifts around you. There are some clues about Bad Stuff from the adult world, but they remain largely on the sidelines, not well understood by the main character and not a primary concern, either.
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The unique directional system was a nice alternative to difficult puzzles. It took time to get used to the "ups" and "downs" and "backs", and to get used to following the other characters. But it soon felt natural, and evoked a real sense of exploration.
Tension is effectively produced; my anticipation of the ending was pretty visceral. The game tells the player early on that something will go wrong, but the story is vague enough that every event seems a little more threatening.
From the (Spoiler - click to show)barking dog to a (Spoiler - click to show)breaking tree branch, everything seems to carry a little more chance of harm than it might otherwise. In fact, I honestly wasn't expecting (Spoiler - click to show)the game's open ending, despite the game being clearly labeled Part 1.
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