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[IFComp 22 - Beta] Cannelé & Nomnom - Defective Agency

by Younès R. & Yazaleea

Episode Beta demo of Cannelé & Nomnom

Web Site

(based on 13 ratings)
5 reviews

About the Story

Set foot in Falaisant, an enigmatic city full of magic and mysteries. You are an amnesiac individual who, in a desperate attempt to find out who you are, hires the only agency willing to take the case. There's only one issue: they are catastrophic.

Follow Cannelé and Nomnom, a duo of disastrous detectives on their chaotic investigation to solve those three mysteries: 1. Who are you? 2. What's your magical ability? And 3. Who erased your memories?

Content warning: Slight gun violence, slight fantasy fictive drug use

Game Details


22nd Place - tie - 28th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2022)


Cannelé & Nomnom — Defective Agency was previously published in a beta demo to IFComp 2022. After integrating player's feedback and more developments, it has now been released as a full game on itch.io.

Right now, C&N — Defective Agency is in its Investigation Phase.

At some point, the game will ask you to submit your personal theory about the main mystery's solution. The dev team will read all the answers sent to us before Spring 2023.

The most compelling answers will have a chance to become part of the story's canon and influence the Resolution Phase's endings.

Who knows? Perhaps it's your theory that will change the characters' fate…

Reported by pyrofoux | History | Edit | Delete
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Number of Reviews: 5
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Stop Fighting Me Game, I'm On Your Side!, November 24, 2022
by JJ McC
Related reviews: IFComp 2022

Adapted from an IFCOMP22 Review

There is a really great game in here, struggling to get out. The setup: (Spoiler - click to show)You are an amnesiac in a magic city trying to figure out who you are and what happened to you. You choose singularly bad detectives to help you. A lot of the writing is flat out delightful. Your frenetic, bickering partners have character and unique voice, and their banter is often lively and fun, as is the protagonist’s increasingly exasperated or impatient reactions. The Mind Map is a really cool mystery solving mechanism, and the clues provided are plentiful enough that solution is not intractable, but neither is it mechanically easy. The graphical use of color, font, static images and animation is really attractive, functional and appealing. The swinging pull string alone is just an amazing touch. There is also a “scoreboard” that tracks when one or another of the rival detectives “scores points” against the other. I laughed out loud when I realized what it was for. It doesn’t seem to have any other game function, and I kind of hope it doesn’t. What a great detail.

The mystery is engaging (lower case) too! It leverages the fantastical setup, tweaking the premise in a way that builds on the most interesting pieces of the fantasy background. Amnesia is a well worn IF trope, but here it seems to serve a larger plot purpose in an intriguing way. I would be lauding any work that accomplished two or three of the hundred things this work accomplishes. I haven’t even talked about the sound, the graphic flourishes, the hundred delightful turns of phrase (“somehow shriller voice” “Hoboolean coin” “DEFECTIVE AGENCY” so many more).

So why did the game make me fight it to enjoy it?

For everything it does right, the game seems to make equally misguided decisions. The pace of this thing is sooo slow. It took 45 minutes to leave the detective office! Part of this is an artifact of the writing. There is an extended “water drop” introduction that meanders through the city before the protagonist is even introduced. When this is done in cinema, the point is to establish the geography of the setting, and maybe show off the production value a bit. Here, the journey is too narrow both in description and path taken to do either. It’s not helped that the water drop has an insanely large surface cohesion, such that not only does it move frictionlessly through the city, it won’t even merge with other water! And it goes for a bit. As far as I can tell, that entire sequence should be the first thing to hit the cutting room floor. But even initially humorous scenes either go on too long, or are injected into the story as elaborate cul-de-sacs. A briskly paced piece can afford some pointlessly funny side quests, but when you are already struggling to make headway it feels… disrespectful?

The interactivity also deliberately, maddeningly slows things down. You are asked to hit the space bar
for [space]
every [space]
sentence [space]
in the text. Even in long blocks of descriptions. Even in dialogue, when only one person is speaking. It is a maddening choice that slows things down so much. Even when it is used for comedic impact, the effect is so blunted by repetition as to be lost. At a minimum paragraph breaks would be an improvement. “Reviewer,” you might be saying, “chill out! Just spam the space bar, it’ll be fine!” Except frequently you are called on to click a player interaction with the mouse. Many times with only a single option! You are shifting from one input to another for no narrative reason! (Well maybe not “no reason.” There is a difference between affirming protagonist action and ungating narrative. How about “…for narratively intrusive reasons.”)

The mind map also frustrates over time. It is implemented as a small window that you can pan around, drag, arrange and connect yellow sticky clues. It is a delightful idea, except the implementation is inexplicably frictiony. You quickly accumulate a super dense amount of clues, so many that organizing them becomes a slog of click-drag-pan, click-drag-pan, click-drag-pan. No zoom out. No “fullscreen mode.” And even the underlying workspace ends up being crowded despite the pans! Its a virtual desk, why is it so constrained? The graphics and constrained space end up meaning, once the clues get dense, that you grab objects you don’t mean to SO often, introducing more drag. I went from playing with it because I could to dreading when it would be needed in less than an hour. Even ‘solving’ with the mind map has unnecessary delays. If you connect everything right, the mind map itself does not tell you that. You need to go back to the text interaction and click, then be told if you solved or didn’t.

Aaand there’s minigames that don’t serve the narrative. There is a clever gambling word game whose interactivity (again tied to excessive space bar/mouse clicks) impacts its enjoyment, in turn making you anxious for it to be over so you can get back to the mystery. It doesn’t end for a while. There’s a timed ‘avoid disaster’ sequence that requires excessive input after the point of ‘oops this isn’t going to work’ before you can try again.

In the end, the friction in the game overwhelmed its many, many charms and that’s a shame. Fireworks shows have fewer Sparks of Joy than CNDA. But when I hit the chapter break at the 1:45 mark it was almost relief. “Only 15 minutes, no point starting this.” That’s not a great reaction. Its not buggy per se (maybe one - the text attributed a “point to Nomnom” that the scoreboard didn’t score during a coin toss). But the interactivity choices were Intrusively impactful. This feels fixable though, right? Some nip and tuck in the text, some coding changes in the spacebar break points, a zoom/fullwindow for the mind map, tighten up the minigames… It’s like a chunky, craggy slab of granite with Michelangelo’s David patiently waiting to be freed!

Played: 11/10/22
Playtime: 1.75hr, finished chapter 3
Artistic/Technical rankings: Sparks of Joy/Intrusive (frictiony)
Would Play Again? No, too much friction, but would ABSOLUTELY play a greased up update!

Artistic scale: Bouncy, Mechanical, Sparks of Joy, Engaging, Transcendent
Technical scale: Unplayable, Intrusive, Notable (Bugginess), Mostly Seamless, Seamless

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Two detectives, no brain cells, November 17, 2022

Cannelé & Nomnom - Defective Agency is a game you can get a very accurate read on from just the title and summary. You’re an amnesiac who has hired the world’s most dysfunctional detectives to help you regain your memory. (They hate each other and are constantly wrestling for control of their single shared brain cell.) Your task is to keep them on track long enough to work on your case, and not get themselves into too much trouble – a tough task, given that neither of them have any morals and the fantasy world they’re in gives them far too many opportunities to wreak havoc.

This summary doesn’t even come close to doing C&N justice. First of all, this is the most polished Twine game I’ve ever seen! I am in fact COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY by how much effort and polish went into this. There’s (timed!) sound effects, music, art, extremely good use of text effects, and even multiple custom minigames! (One where you connect the post-its on your evidence board with red string and one fully implemented graphical card game, so far). If the authors added more images this could be a full-blown visual novel. The writing is equally good, and the mystery is as compelling as the characters are wacky. The farcical antics of our defective detectives are balanced extremely well with the increasing hints that there is something very rotten in the state of Falaisant.

What I Liked

I already spent a while gushing about this game but this is my review thread, so I can gush more if I want! I already vaguely mentioned that this is set in a fantasy-ish universe, so I want to throw a spotlight on the worldbuilding. The game takes a little time to explain how magic works at the beginning, but from then on does an extremely good job showing and not telling. I never felt confused, but I also enjoyed the bits and glimpses of what Falaisant is like and never felt like I was being beaten over the head with lore.

Also, for anyone who watched Pokemon just for Jessie and James’s antics – you’re going to like this game. Cannele and Nomnom are basically those two with the player character having to act as their Meowth.

What I Didn’t

The writing is fantastic but could have used one last editing pass by a native English speaker (I assume, given the large amounts of French, that the authors don’t speak it as a first language. My apologies if that’s incorrect). There’s a few spelling issues and weird turns of phrase that could have stood to be ironed out. Also, The Contre Morte section was a lot of fun to play, but the delay in seeing the options pop up made it frustrating to go through multiple times (which I had to because I’m dumb). Still, these are minor things that in my opinion don’t distract from a very well-done game.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A long and rich comedy detective game with shares-one-brain-cell duo, October 24, 2022
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

This is quite a large and complex Twine game that has a lot of humor. It's about a mysterious male protagonist who wakes up and seeks the help of two magical detectives named Cannelé and Nomnom. They are a duo who act like siblings (maybe are?) and express intense dislike for each other while also acting pretty dumb.

The game has excellent styling with colors used for text, animations, and some minigames that are quite well done. One is a card game; another is a complex 'detective board' with red string and post-it notes that unfortunately doesn't always work well with saving and loading, but is fun while it lasts.

The game is very long already, lasting over two hours for me, and is actually incomplete. The player is invited to post their hypotheses and guesses for the finale online, with the author taking these hypotheses into account for their later writing of the big finale.

I loved the images, the interaction between the protagonist and the two detectives, the minigames, all of it. Except...

I don't like the dynamic between the two main NPCs. It's just pure negative all the time, completely unrelenting. It can be a funny bit, but I wished for just an occasional gleam of fondness, or loyalty, etc. There may have been some, but it was few and far between. This is 100% just personal taste; I think there could be many people that like this so it doesn't have to be changed. But I like 'jerk with a heart of gold' more than 'jerk with a heart of jerk'.

I also found more than a few small typos and had some trouble with saving and loading and keeping the 'memory board' the same.

Overall, this is one of my favorite games of this comp, and the criticism above is just a small detail in a great work. I'm looking forward to the finish, and can recommend this.

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This is version 10 of this page, edited by manonamora on 19 January 2024 at 11:23pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page