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About the Story
Congratulations! Your essay, "20 Reasons Why I Would Like To Visit Tuisere" has won Triptacular Magazine's "Let's Send You To Tuisere" contest! See the sights during your three day, three night trip to a fantasy kingdom! Abuse centaurs! Harass teenagers! Kill forest entities! Ruin a foreign country more than it's already been!
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In essence, Tweezer is a stripped-down fantasy parody RPG created in Twine. You are a tourist with a limited number of days to spend in the fantasy land of Tuisere. Every day or night, you can choose to either visit a shop in town or go adventuring, with different features showing up depending on whether it's night or day, as well as on the day of the week. The day/night mechanic and some of the areas reminded me a little of Castle of the Red Prince, but Tweezer, while it does have a few borderline horror elements, is 100% not serious.
A particularly entertaining feature is the fact that you have a guide, who provides the narration. That's a trick I have seen in the occasional parser game, but never in a Twine game before now. Tweezer is as much the story of the guide as of the PC, and the guide's narrative voice stands for some of the most hilarious lines.
Let's talk about the humour. It's all over the place, ranging from gratuitous swearing and insults to old pop-culture jokes to understated wit. The first time I played, I found it overly broad (visiting the hippie alchemist first). After a few playthroughs, I started to appreciate the variety. While fantasy parody in IF goes back to the 90s at least, this game does manage to infuse it with its own flavour. Whatever your tastes, it's likely that there will be something here to annoy you, and also something to make you at least chuckle.
While this game has an RPG format, with the possibility to buy weapons and items and engage in battle with various fantasy clichés, the actual challenge level isn't very high. Surviving your stay in Tuisere is not particularly hard. (If there is a more "winning" ending other than that, I have not yet found it.) Essentially, in my playthroughs, I noodled around, explored, and figured out which items to use on which challenges. I haven't found everything, though. Don't let the superficial silliness fool you: there is quite a lot to find here, and since every playthrough is quite short, you will need to replay it if you want to look for the things you missed. I still haven't (Spoiler - click to show)beaten the quicktime event, or figured out whether Queen Ghoulia actually appears in-game.
Some of my favourite parts were the losing endings. (Spoiler - click to show)The vampire ending, getting the Blood Sword, and the one where your guide has to register for unemployment come to mind. The black comedy of these misadventures is where the understated narrative voice shines.
As usual, PaperBlurt abuses the multimedia capabilities of Twine in various cool ways. Your mileage will possibly vary on how much use any of it is. I'm not sold on the automatically appearing and disappearing text: I can appreciate that it is more dynamic than pressing a "Continue" link, but there is always the risk of it being either too slow or too fast. (That said, most of the time, the speed seemed good to me.) However, other coding tricks were things I had never seen in Twine before, and they worked well, possibly because they only appeared in small amounts. The colours of the backgrounds are a good minimalist way to illustrate the settings.
Tweezer is a difficult game to rate: I enjoyed it, but I realise that other people have a lower tolerance for clichéd fantasy parodies or wacky humour, or will find the game element too basic. Well, what can I say? It has a dorky passive-aggressive guide, a B-movie mad scientist, and drug jokes. If that sounds like your bag, give it a shot.
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