Number of Reviews: 3
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unsettling and claustrophobic, March 1, 2015
You're on a dinner date with Caroline. She's mysterious, and just before you leave her for the night, she tells you to meet her at Hydra Park the next day.
Caroline has the looks of a Twine game but uses a streamlined parser. Despite this, though, the range of actions available to the PC was extremely limited - meaning instead of clicking links as in Twine, one has to type out the keywords… word for word.
The minimal presentation of the text, while pretty, made the game feel claustrophobic. Perhaps it was meant to heighten the uneasy atmosphere of later chapters. Perhaps it was to highlight the impact of the words, the terse questions. If it was, then this worked for me.
The lack of choices in what would ordinarily be extremely open-ended situations (sitting in a room with a stranger, for example) felt contrived sometimes. This made it hard for me to suspend disbelief, though this was at least somewhat addressed in the final chapter.
I had a little beef with this curious fact: in Caroline, no one has much of a background story and everyone is generic! The PC is just… a man. Caroline… is a woman. This all added to the claustrophobic feel of the game. In the end, Caroline scores neither on the quality of story, nor on use of game mechanics.