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Needs to pick up the pace, November 14, 2023
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.