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One Knight Stand

by A. Hazard

Dark Urban Fantasy
2023

(based on 6 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

Part 1: The Beginning of the End

It's another humdrum day as the weekend winds to its inevitable end. The pandemic has stretched on for a decade now. A new serial killer stalks the streets. A ghost haunts your dreams. And your polo club is waiting. Exactly as expected.

Just ignore the sounds in your living room. Just ignore that shadow scuttling across the floor. Just ignore the lies of the 'friend' whose known you for years. He's lying. She's lying. That stranger on the street is lying. And the voices whispering in your mind are definitely lying. Even this blurb is lying.

But that's fine...

Y̸̷̶̷̸̷̷̷̥͑̅̌̔̉ͯo̼̩̖̓ͪ̽͢ǔ̢͢͏̫͕͋'͎̬́͐ͥ᷇͢r̉͏͍̾᷉̓̓e͓͕ͦ̿᷅͆͠ l̜̻̈̅̃͢͞y̡̬͙̪̦̦ͧi̘᷅̓͒̐̍͑n̰͈᷅ͯͥͨ͜g̯᷾̒̑᷄̕͟ t̶̙͍̏͊᷈͠o̙̟ͦ̏̄ͭ͂ő̶͎̘̝̂

Content warning: Violence, Language, Mature Themes, Body Horror, Mind Control


Game Details


Awards

41st Place - tie - 29th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2023)

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Number of Reviews: 2
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Lengthy and wordy Choicescript game about modern take on King Arthur, November 22, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours

This is the first chapter of a large Choicescript game. I played past two hours on my phone, saving occasionally, but I lost about 30 minutes of progress near the end by forgetting to save (I got to the point where you can pack your suitcase). I think I got pretty close to the end, from what other reviews have said.

The scope of this game is large. The current largest Choice of Games title is 1.2 million words (while some Hosted games are larger), so one chapter of 400K is quite big. Production seems to have taken a long time, as there is a lot of reference to face masks and social distancing.

The overall concept of this game is that King Arthur and his court were real and still exist in a certain way (revealed later on) in the modern world. Simultaneously, demonic forces are trying to start the apocalypse, and you can help stop it.

There were two main romantic options I saw, a man and a woman. There are tons of different chance to declare your affection, so many so that I felt I had to constantly be turning down the people I wasnít interested in.

The game has lots of action scenes which I thought were full of descriptive language and feeling like stakes were real. I died in one! (to see what would happen). A lot of times it was over the top (lots of Zalgo text for horror and tons of quip/pun options for humor).

The game is so large, I feel, because all the normal Choicescript stuff is amplified. Usually you can pick a few features of your appearance; here you can pick if you have hair, what length is your hair, what color is your hair, what shade is your hair. Instead of five to ten options, there are 15 to 20. Instead of choosing conversation topics from a repeating list that gets narrowed down, you pick from a list of conversation topics that each open up to their own list of conversation topics and so on.

This provides for a lot of customization but it can kind of interrupt game flow sometimes. I felt a bit of decision paralysis from time to time. Itís kind of the opposite of the problem a lot of games have, where all of the cool branching and decision making is hidden and players think the game is small/short because they donít realize the choices they could have made.

In contrast, here everything is put on display constantly, revealing the massive amount of possible choices. And some donít even seem implemented yet, like the fencing club (unless there is a way to get into there!).

I liked the Merlin character, and saw them as a fun RO/mysterious person. The overall magic system seems thought out and coherent, and the worldbuilding feels like itís on an epic and grand scale. While I did find the large amount of choices overwhelming at time, it seems reasonable given the overall scope. I could definitely see it being popular when it comes out.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Needs to pick up the pace, November 14, 2023
by manonamora
Related reviews: ifcomp

Sitting at over 400k total words, One Knight Stand is quite a sizeable game, with extensive branching. It also is a demo (prologue + 1st chapter), meant to be part of a longer series. Characterised as a mashup between Among Us and Arthurian lore, the story will twist and turn at every corner. I found one Dead End.

The game is very much anchored in the ChoiceofGame style of interactive fiction, with its extensive, almost overwhelming, character creation, lengthy playthroughs, and variation galore. Replay value seems to be an important part of this entry, due to the many many choices available (some are even locked depending on previous choices).

While the amount of available content is impressive (400k for a single chapter is massive), the pace of the story is at times painfully slow. In part due to the extensive nature of the character creation. From requiring you to confirm every single character-building choice, to going into details about some trivial options (like the shade of your favourite colour has a dozen of option per hue), it often felt unnecessary and tiresome (be prepared for choice-fatigue here...).

The entry starts pretty intriguing, with a spooky nightmare set in an Arthurian setting, with a bone-chilling feeling that continues to follow you throughout the rest of the chapter (with creepy voices and creepy feelings)*. To balance it out, the prose strive to add humour when it can, from mentions of or punny winks about mainstream media (Knights of Our Lives, lol), to taking an almost sarcastic or parody approach to some situations**. The balance was not quite there, however, making me question whether the story was supposed to be primarily comedy or horror.
*I had a bit checked-out by the time the horror started to pick up.
** It's kinda funny a fast-food server can be part of a Polo club...

While I was not particularly fan of the pronoun switch between the main text (you) and the choice list (I), as it sometimes broke the flow of reading, [NOTE:this is the ChoiceofGame style] the formatting of the more horror-y beats (especially the ones with creepy sounds or anxious feelings) helped keeping things fresh.
Another thing I hope will be used further into the game was the phone element, specifically the texting side-"game". The options of sending back messages were pretty funny (yay for creepypasta).

For a ChoiceofGame style game, it has a pretty solid base and I suspect it could become quite popular with CoG fans. But I don't think it's my kind of game (I was almost relieved when I reached the end, even if it wasn't a "good" one).

I'm calling it now: you are the long lost child of the Phone Company CEO.

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