Dysfluent

by Allyson Gray profile

Slice of life
2023

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Number of Reviews: 5
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Empathetic, November 20, 2023
by alyshkalia
Related reviews: IFComp 2023

The main thing I knew about this game going in was that it makes significant use of the "timed text" mechanic. While I did find it slightly too slow at times, and wasn't sure it was needed as prevalently as it was used, it didnít impact my enjoyment of the game, and definitely served the author's intended purpose. It's also very nice to be able to turn it off on subsequent playthroughs.

Anyway, on to the rest of the game! I felt for the protagonist a lot; the game seemed to really capture what itís like to go through life with a stutter, and how difficult it can make everyday interactions. The flashbacks to childhood were quite sad, witnessing this struggling child be ignored and othered (the My Cousin Vinny one especially...). I enjoyed the gameplay, and how it was never a matter of picking the ďrightĒ option--rather, itís left up to the player to decide if theyíd prefer to stumble over ordering their favorite food, or smoothly order a food they hate. The color coding of the choices was a good way to indicate how fluently each option would come out.

Ultimately, the game isnít about beating the stutter; youíre simply experiencing what itís like to have it, and coping with it however you think is best. I played through four times, interested in seeing the differences between a covert, overt, and middle-of-the-road approach, and enjoyed each playthrough (and getting all but two of the achievements!).

One point of critique is that, regarding the job interview plotline, I would have liked some more background on the PCís adulthood experiences, in addition to the childhood ones. I wondered if the stutter played a role in them leaving their previous job, and what it might mean for future job prospects. I think more of an exploration of the PCís dreams, and to what extent the stutter has impacted those dreams, would add a bit more depth. But on the whole, a great game that accomplishes its purpose very well.

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