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About the Story
Entry in Ectocomp 2014.
9th Place - EctoComp 2014
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 4
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This was a fun but frustrating little puzzle. You are a parasite in a human and you want to get out.
There are 7 steps to getting out, but you have to do them in exactly the correct order. Timing is essential. The game allows you to take several incorrect paths at first, so you can't just go through the options systematically, you have to read the failure text and respond.
I liked it.
1) The puzzle is neither too easy nor too hard. You can beat the game in several minutes - but it gives you a surprising amount of satisfaction for such a short playtime.
2) The sequence puzzle perfectly fits the choice-based format. When all the options are laid out openly in front of the player and they don't have to guess the right actions - how can you make the player think, create the element of surprise? By making them guess the right sequence of the given actions, of course.
3) The choice-based format perfectly fits the xenobiology puzzle. Imagine if you had to type commands you need here - like DISENGAGE CREMASTRAL HOOK - again and again in a parser game; Twine mercifully lets us just click the links.
4) The game gives you interesting feedback when you do things in a wrong order. There are 7 different ways to kill a pharate; there are 94 losing paths through every game cycle and only one way to win. But when your plan goes south, you always learn something new and put together a new plan in the light of fresh information.
5) The game's horrific nature is not just for the sake of horror. It suits another purpose: the creatures are so monstrous, evil and repulsive that the player isn't likely to feel sympathy and get attached; so they can experiment freely and sacrifice as many pharates as they like while trying to understand the logic of the puzzle.
6) It's well-written. Laconic phrases and preteritions let the player's imagination run wild; that's one of the strengths of interactive fiction, an effect which is hard to achieve in a graphic game.
Time to completion: 10-15 minutes (your mileage may vary)
Three cycles since fecundation. The pharates can taste our thoughts. Their pupal minds yearn for mothers' milk.
You are sending commands to a parasitic, insectile entity, and there are a number of steps it must complete before it can successfully parasitise the host. Your task, then, is to figure out the correct order for the steps.
The puzzle is aided by informative failure messages, but even then, I took many turns to figure out a vaguely correct sequence. There is no question of error.
The writing in this game is deliberately wielded as well: the language is florid, like that favoured by Lovecraft, but terse; a tally of the casualties (or the pharates you fail to guide to eclosion) reminds you of the consequences of your clumsiness. This is body horror the way I like it.
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Ectocomp Games (All English Winners/Entries) by thecanvasrose
A list I created for myself so I can play all of these games. Sorted by rank and year. English entries. I'll add descriptions and my own ratings (out of 5 stars) to the entries in this list as I go through them.