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Early Slice of Life, July 11, 2011
Though listed as fantasy, this game departs from most contemporary fantasy tropes and focuses on the magical in the real world. Sunset Over Savannah is the story of a man disenchanted with his current life and work, spending some time at the beach and rethinking his situation. It's an almost entirely inward journey: the protagonist's mood changes over the course of the story, and he begins to think about ways to improve his life.
What makes this story so enjoyable is the lush, detailed setting and the sense of wonder with which it approaches seemingly mundane details. Savannah's beach, as seen here, is a surprising and beautiful place with surprising set pieces (Spoiler - click to show)such as a sandcastle made and apparently fused into glass by tiny sea creatures.
Supporting all this is a lot of hard technical work. Sunset Over Savannah allows the player interactions that most games would rule out because of the technical complexities of coding: there are passages set underwater, interactions with liquid and sand, ropes and tie-able objects. All of these things generally work, and work in a way that isn't fiddly or annoying for the player to specify; the result is the feeling of a very tangible, viscerally accessible world, where it is possible to affect the environment in precise ways. Few other IF games -- or other games of any kind -- offer quite this experience.
There's a lot of prose to read in this game, and the puzzles are not all easy, so it does require some commitment from the player. What's there is well worth exploring, though, rewarding the time you have to give it.