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About the Story
Swan Hill is an interactive story about brothers who have grown apart. It has multiple endings.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Low-key fantasy hypertext about the relationship between two brothers. One chose to rule. The other ended up practicing magic, which goes by the high-brow name of philosophy in the Swan Hill universe.
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Number of Reviews: 4
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This is a very simple Twine story with a smidgin of interaction. Usually this type of thing gets boring, but I found this excellently written, and an interesting story about two brothers. One uses magic, and magic causes pain. The more powerful the magic, the more chance it can kill the wielder.
The story isn't about this specifically, but it shadows the relationship and the obliquely subtle plot. This feels like a tiny fragment of a much larger world, and I enjoyed the little glimpse of it that this story gives. I hope this writer has more to show us because the story is achingly lovely and melancholic.
Loved this! The relationship between the brothers is beautifully textured and well-drawn, the approach to magic feels interesting and fresh even seven years after it was written, and the interactivity is subtle and immersive rather than obvious in a way that felt in keeping with the tone and spirit of the prose - this is a world of things that go not quite said for years and years, full of characters living lives of restraint, and it makes sense that the branching should feel meditative and restrained too.
The writing in Swan Hill speaks for itself; it's full up with sentences that could cut glass. So in lieu of a review, here are a couple of my favourite paragraphs in Swan Hill, which I'd suggest maybe saving until you've gotten to read them in context:
(Spoiler - click to show)"Bushels of papers hide the counters. Crates are piled in every corner. The old experimental equipment— iron racks and dusty glass— cut a mad sillhouette against the moonbright windows on the far wall."
"Your brother shines his light onto a small wooden table and a split-log seat. A black and moldy breakfast encrusts a wooden platter. A withered lump of cheese sits on a folded handkerchief. On the cloth beneath the cheese is a perfect halo of translucent greasestain."
I loved the story, the setting, the sense that I was steering the story while making the subtlest of choices. It was one of the few hypertext games I've played where I felt like there was a reason NOT to click on all of the informative links and I picked that reason up through gameplay.
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