Bedtime story

by Marius Müller profile


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
A great opening., October 1, 2009

I loved this. The main gimmick of the game is its dual setting: you are telling a story to your small son. A nice touch is that the prompt is "The prince then " - inviting you to finish the sentence (in either the past tense, to match the prompt, as if you are really speaking your move to your son, or the present tense, in standard text game format).

Now at first I thought that this was a cute gimmick but nothing more. But in fact the story-telling setting is neatly woven into the whole game. After typing a move, for example, the game may describe what happens in the standard way (in "your" voice - this is what you're saying to your son), and then add the boy's comments. Often the boy decides what happens next, even overriding "your" description of the action. There are points where he takes control of the story quite drastically. The effect of this is that very unpredictable things happen in the story, but while this highlights the unrealistic nature of the story *that you're telling* (about the prince), it actually helps to make the story *that you're in* (about the father and son) much more immersive and believable. When you play this game, you don't believe in the prince and his adventures, but you do believe in the father and son making up the story about the prince. And you care about the prince, despite his obvious unreality, because the father and son care about him, and the telling of his story is an important part of their bonding.

In short, then, what might be a cutesy gimmick is actually a clever and charming technique that draws you into a story in a way that often eludes games that make far more effort for "believability". It is funny, but the humour is not just about jokes, but serves the deeper purpose of fleshing out the characters of the father and son (and the mother) and their relationships. The game as it stands has basically a single, not-too-hard puzzle before its disappointingly premature ending. I give it only a 3 because it is only an introduction, but it is a spectacular introduction and I would absolutely love to play a full-length version of this. I can easily see how more serious aspects of the family relationships hinted at in the introduction could emerge in a longer story, making this potentially quite a thoughtful and moving piece as well as a very entertaining one.