Eat Me

by Chandler Groover profile

Fantasy
2017

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Number of Reviews: 17
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Wow! I was so wrong about this game!, May 24, 2021

At first I thought this game was stupid. How much fun can a game possibly be when the only thing you can do is eat? Oh but it is much more than that. It’s not like you just sit there and repeatedly type the word eat over and over. Though the puzzles are pretty simple, they are much more complicated than they seem at first. I would recommend this game for beginners and experienced players who are just wanting something easy and fun.


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
The way out is through, May 16, 2021

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.


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
a monstrous feast, February 23, 2021

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.


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Truly bizarre, but strangely beautiful, October 5, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: 1-2 hours

When I first started plaything this game I didn't really like it. It seemed confusing and I wasn't sure what my purpose was. The writing seemed thick and I had trouble getting going. There was also a shade of the grotesque to it all that I wasn't into at first. But as I stuck with it I eventually came to appreciate it more and more until I was hooked. Groover's writing is wonderful, even operatic at times. The puzzle components were kind of hard to pick out from the flowery prose, but the solutions made sense in the internal logic of the game and every time you completed a "course" the reward was great. I'll definitely play through it again sometime to see how my opinion of it has grown.

ADDENDUM: I did indeed play this game again more than a year after my initial playthrough and my appreciation for it has grown. I imagine it will be on my ballot for the Top 50 IF Games Of All Time for a very long time.


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A strange but delicious feast, October 18, 2019

An excellent game - original idea, wonderfully grotesque and evocative writing, a highly 'voiced' parser, and creative puzzles using a severely limited toolbox of verbs (you can do little but EXAMINE and EAT.) Your options are constrained enough that none of the puzzles are TOO hard to solve - I finished the game in about an hour and never needed the walkthrough - but they're complex enough to make you explore the castle thoroughly and think about what you're doing.

With a truly new and distinctive concept, and rock-solid, bug-free implementation, this is everything a modern parser game should be. The gruesome images may turn off a few players, but unless you've got a weak stomach, this is one morsel you shouldn't fail to sample.


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A beautiful six-course meal, October 13, 2019

This game was not my first playthrough of interactive fiction but it is one of my earliest ones. It definitely was a great experience. The descriptions were fantastic and the narrator's diction was a nice touch, darling. This is absolutely, positively one of my favorite games, not only because the food was spectacularly described, but because it is slightly grotesque, strange, and amazingly fantastical. Right up my alley.
I got both endings, though neither were particularly satisfying. They fit the story, however, and made sense. (Spoiler - click to show)I do wish I could have eaten her...I wonder what sort of description she would have...?
A beautiful six-course meal sure to fill your stomach. Bon appetite.


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Visceral, lush, a grotesque escape game, July 17, 2018
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: choleric

Chandler Groover’s work often mixes the decadent with the grotesque, the macabre with the picturesque. Think rotting roses; mouldering filigree.

Here, bound in a prison made of food, your only way out is by eating.

Who knew that eating could be so visceral? This is not just simple eating, it is consumption for consumption’s sake, for pleasure, for satiation. This is not going to be a game for everyone: the descriptions are so detailed as to be cloying, and there is heavy use of cutscenes to denote scene transitions.

This game is generous in allowing the player to backtrack and figure out what to do. As the name suggests, the range of actions available for the player are limited to eating, with the occasional exception clearly signalled - similar, then, to Arthur DiBianca’s games, such as Grandma Bethlinda’s Variety Box and Inside the Facility.

Eat Me resembles Groover’s Bring Me A Head, both in setting and in grotesquerie: both set in crumbling castles, each compartment holding just one singular occupant, doomed, it seems, to pursue their one occupation for the rest of time. Eat Me is not for the faint-hearted, definitely, but well worth playing, perhaps alongside other games with a similar setting.

For a lighter version of an eating-oriented game, try Jenni Polodna’s Dinner Bell; for more of the same, Bring Me a Head and Open That Vein by the same author.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A grotesque limited parser game about consumption, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

I beta tested this game, and it was my personal choice for winner of IFComp 2017.

It is a grotesque game; you are a child granted a bottomless pit by a magical character in a fairy tale. You are imprisoned in a dungeon where countless other children have met gruesome deaths.

The game revolves completely around eating, with eating the only real action. Like DiBianca's Grandma Bethlinda's Variety Box, where USE was the only verb, the puzzles in this game revolves around timing and sequence.

I found this game satisfying, and have played it 6 or 7 times.


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Gloriously Grotesque Parable on Gluttony, October 4, 2017
by Angharade
Related reviews: IF COMP 2017

This was so much fun.

I was utterly invested in the story. It was laugh out loud, over the top, and sometimes horrifying. I saw it all happen. I tasted it. I got hungry and had to take breaks to eat pasta, but then I was eating things in the game--that--I never--thought----

This was a visual masterpiece, a chef's horror and wet dream at the same time.

All results thought out, hints were helpful. I will say that I think the ending had a higher potential for depth than was carried out--but overall I felt almost fully satiated. My brain still craves eating a castle door made of devil's food cake, but alas, we can't always get what we want.

Brilliant piece, brilliant writing.


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Cool in a grotesque way, October 3, 2017
by Sobol (Russia)

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.



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