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About the Story
willow blossoms is a highly personal project about endings and beginnings, about anxiety, about growing up, about living on the internet, about being a teenager, about living in isolation, and about friendship.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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I liked this game, but it feels kind of wrong ďreviewingĒ it. It feels autobiographical, but more than that it feels confessional, like a diary. It doesnít feel like something for general consumption.
Description of the main plot: (Spoiler - click to show) the story is about a teenager who just graduated high school. She had recently made a suicide attempt which left her hospitalized, and caused her to miss her graduation and prom. So her two best friends give her something like a prom, with just the three of them. Overall, itís a rather uplifting story, as far as "twines about mental illness" go. Itís a story about recovery, of moving on from a traumatic moment. The dialogue all feels pretty well-realized; some meta moments almost make it seem like they're copied from the author's own conversations.
In terms of interactivity, well, for the most part the story acts as a kinetic novel. Links usually act as pacing mechanisms. There are a few moments of choice, but I donít think there are any downstream consequences. Using choice mechanics to represent mental illness is a common trend in twine, and itís occasionally done here as well. I'm not a fan of how the screen flickers when clicking on a link, but that's a common twine issue.
The story builds its mood through its musical choices, provided as youtube links. The musical choices are kind of... twee, I guess? Is that the right word? But itís dangerously similar to my own tastes so I enjoyed it. Actually, the previous sentence sort of applies to my experience of the story as a whole.
One of the biggest reasons I enjoy amateur fiction online is that when someone writes it's like they share a piece of their soul with you, the reader, and I definitely felt that in this game.
In 5 chapters of varying lengths, you play a young woman who is texting her friends near the end of senior year, arranging an event.
The game makes copious use of styling and external links, most of which are to different songs. I actually like a lot of them; like the main character, I am into cringy melodramatic teen pop songs and movie/musical music (as a kid, I loved Total Eclipse of the Heart and Don't Cry for Me Argentina). Some I might listen to again.
The game has a definite sense of place, person and presence. It treats a heavy topic, so definitely check the warnings if you think there could be problems. Overall it was a sweet experience that resonated with my inner teen, led me to some enjoyable music and impressed me with its visual appeal.
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