Number of Reviews: 6
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Theme, Imagery and Characterization, May 26, 2011
The constraints of Speed-IF force an author to identify and highlight the core elements of their story: here, Pacian has chosen theme, imagery, and characterization. The brief prologue establishes all three in only a few sentences and lines of dialogue as we see a literal blushing romance, evocative phrasing, and hints of the main characters' complementary and contrasting personalities. The first sentence alone sets the stage:
"The zeppelin lurches suddenly and I tumble forward, spilling my books on the deck. Peyton laughs sympathetically and holds out his hand."
The viewpoint character and Peyton explore this dynamic along with the eponymous tower, learning about each other even as the reader learns the history of the setting. For such a short game, there is a great deal of backstory verging on the infodump in places, but never substantially enough to drag on the reader. Only curiosity, and perhaps, a tease of things (never?) to come.
It's surprising to find much replayability or branching in Speed-IF, but even though they're naturally abbreviated there are numerous endings, all logically suggested by the end-game scenario, and several points where the fleeting conversations can be steered into different revelations and outcomes. I found this thoughtfulness, like the developed personalities and vivid descriptions, touching. While it might take 10 minutes to play the first time and 2 thereafter, "Love, Hate, and the Mysterious Ocean Tower" is a vignette I'll visualize and remember for a long time.