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About the Story
In this castle, you'll eat or be eaten.
Nominee, Best Game; Winner, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Setting; Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best NPCs; Nominee - Milking the cow, Best Individual Puzzle; Nominee - The narrator, Best Individual NPC; Winner, Best Implementation - 2017 XYZZY Awards
Kerronta sinänsä oli nautittavaa ylitsepursuavuudessaan ja kieroutuneessa huvittavuudessaan. Grooverin tyyli on tunnistettava, samoin teoksen asetelma. Hänen tarinansa sijoittuvat renessanssi- tai barokkimaiseen fantasiamaailmaan, joka on kauhistuttava mutta harmiton samaan aikaan. Eat Messä lukijaa puhutellaan lapsena ja tarina on kuin interaktiivinen iltasatu.
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Eat Me overflows with scrumptious, scrumptious text. It is beautifully written, maximalist, and absolutely, 100% manages to put the player in the mind of the gluttonous protagonist. The descriptions of the things the protagonist eats were almost physically tangible in my stomach. The game made me hungry.
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The dirty little thrill of adventure games is to act as a spoiler, to walk into an environment and tear it apart as you pick up everything not nailed down and break everything standing in your way. Eat Me gives that pattern a perfect thematic resonance with its surreal plot and setting; you're here to devour this world, and the solution to every puzzle is a matter of what (or who) to swallow when.
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Number of Reviews: 11
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A fruitful idea: taking one common action verb and building a whole game around it. We already had SMELL: The Game by the same author, KILL: The Game, GO NORTH: The Game together with GO WEST: The Game, last year's TAKE: The Game, and even USE - I mean, UNDERTAKE TO INTERACT WITH: The Game. Now it's EAT: The Game.
I often have hard time relating to the games by Chandler Groover with their aesthetics of abhorrent, but this one turned to be not as revolting as I initially expected. The puzzles were satisfying, the images vivid; the game is cruel (I think it should be the first one to boast both "child protagonist" and "evil protagonist" tags at IFDB at once), but not particularly repulsive to my taste - mainly because of two reasons:
1. A strong fairy-tale atmosphere that smoothes everything, gives an unreal, dream-like feeling (and excellently fits in with the game mechanics, as many classic children's tales are obsessed with food - Hansel and Gretel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, etc.).
2. Many food descriptions were pleasant and genuinely appetizing (e.g. cheeses in the armory).
All in all, not a "don't play it while eating" kind of game.
Adventure game protagonists tend to be greedy-grabby types, yeah? Fitting, then, that a child is the protagonist here, with sickly sweets in the very first room. Transgression without judgment, that's what Eat Me offers, and an engaged player will quickly become complicit. Thankfully, Eat Me draws you in with a deft touch rather than going hard-meta, and even on the latter front it allows a chance of subversion by the end. It's also unabashedly weird and gross. I loved it.
On the writing: I have played many well-written games, but this is the first one I replayed primarily so I could read it again. Additionally, this game has the most effective writing I've seen used in service of the traditional exploration-and-puzzles format. It guides and instructs. It tempts and discourages. It acts as both feedback and reward. The imagery and characterization are sensuous and vivid. The writing in this game is highly suggestive, in all senses of the word, and it performs all of these tricks simultaneously without ever sacrificing the mood or being too obviously symbolic. Granted, none of the tricks Eat Me uses are new--some of them are Text Adventure Narration 101--but I haven't played any other game that balances the text and the mechanics so perfectly while operating on so many levels. It is, in a word, harmonious. Every sentence has punch, not a single word feels wasted, and the game is a joy to read and interact with.
It helps, of course, that the game is so focused and small. In fact, if there's one major criticism to be made, it's that neither the puzzles nor the story are terribly complex. I forgive Eat Me in this regard for three reasons: one, it's framed as a fairy tale, and those traditionally don't have terribly complex stories either. Two, there's a lot of optional depth to explore (again: temptation, and complicity once the player starts digging). And three, Groover packs in a variety of escalating surprises as the main events unfold. Even if you guess what's going to happen next, there's probably another layer to reflect on, an alternative that you missed, or at least an amused sense of "okay, well, I didn't expect things to go quite THAT far" afterward.
In the end, Eat Me works better as a simulation than as a captivating tale. It's a slice of Wonderland, a little model of a creepy fantasy world that you can inhabit and play around in for a while, rather than a satisfying story proper. But few games do it better or with more style.
The basic premise of Eat Me is that you’re a child with a hole in your stomach, and you’ve been thrown into a strange, magical castle made entirely of food. What follows is what you’d expect, and it was so much more horrifyingly enjoyable than I could have imagined.
Everything is described so deliciously in Eat Me. The writing never fails to disappoint, and the detail put into it is incredible. Even the walls and floors are edible and varied throughout the rooms. In one of my playthroughs, I just spent the entire time smelling things and it was great.
The parser voice is one of my favourite points of the game- huge spoiler ahead. (Spoiler - click to show)It made everything even more grisly to me. If the narrator is the Sugarplum Fairy and the one speaking, do you actually want to eat the six courses? In the moment just before each course is devoured, the tone of the narration changes, almost as if the parser’s arguing with someone. So the second ending, although framed as the worse one through the narrator's eyes, is actually the better- you’re breaking free.
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