Etiolated Light

by Lassiter W.


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Number of Reviews: 6
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Well-lit Gothic, May 17, 2023
by Wynter (London, UK)
Related reviews: Choice-based fiction

A short/medium-length Twine narrative about being pushed into an early marriage with the child of a strange, wealthy couple, and going to live with your new spouse on an unnerving island, unable to leave. It reminded me a little of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, even though the narrator of that novel gets married willingly: it had the same sense of not being wanted and not being able to escape.

The game does a great job of creating a Gothic atmosphere, with a protagonist who feels distinctly out of place and in the dark about what is going on. I say ‘in the dark’ but the palette of this story is one of light and brightness, and the haunting emptiness of those, rather than the shadows and night-time that I would expect of a Gothic tale, and Lassiter pulls this off well. At the very beginning, you are prompted to provide your own name, and it is suggested that the name is something to do with paleness; later on, a character remarks that the colour white, rather than having connotations of purity and goodness, feels empty and hostile.

The choice-based aspect of the game allows you to choose the gender of the three protagonists - I played twice, and experimented with these - and also, wisely for a game that turns on the main character’s powerlessness, the extent to which you decide to cooperate with those around you.

The overall look of the Twine interface was very nice, and the writing was good.

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