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Inside

by Ira Vlasenko

2022

Web Site

(based on 9 ratings)
5 reviews

About the Story

We were sentenced to trial by ordeal.

However, there is a way to survive.

I taught you this incantation when I got into your head. Now it's time to take a deep breath and say it. Even I can't tell you what awaits us in the mind chambers, for every witch has a different path.


Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2022
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: Ink
IFID: Unknown
TUID: znuaiecxj5ceohnf

Awards

42nd Place - 28th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2022)

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Number of Reviews: 5
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Strange Tour On A Witch's Mind , November 12, 2022

Inside, in a nutshell, is an INK-written game about exploring and finding the way out of the witch's mind which is filled with memories of the past all jumbled together creating all kinds of strange events similar to when a person is dreaming.

You can choose the name of the witch whose mind you are exploring and interact with her + the world around you in some ways which will decide what ending you get. I got the good ending on my first try (hooray for me) and decided the hide route with the husband. It was a nice and subtle berating sentence at the end about the loss of a talent, a savior and benefactor caused by the superstitious beliefs the people held. Another instance (Spoiler - click to show)is the memory of the witch's mother about to sacrifice her in the altar showing just how far can a person holding those beliefs go (remember the witch trials in medieval Europe).

As far as pacing goes, it was fairly balanced, neither too slow nor too fast. It doesn't tire me out playing through it which makes the game very enjoyable.

Surely, like another reviewer pointed out, I would like to see more descriptiveness when it comes to the scenery around the main character along with more passages to be added for the actions we take when entering the yellow framed window.

It's a game which provides minimal to average interactivity with the story and some sort of replayability but promises a good playthrough experience.


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Sorcerous Psychotherapy, November 23, 2022
by JJ McC
Related reviews: IFComp 2022

Adapted from an IFCOMP22 Review

As an IF setting, "mind palaces" and dreams carry a lot of the same advantages: ability to lean into IF limitations as features, ability to ignore real-world logic, full-on integration of symbology and metaphor. In a way they're kind of the same thing. I mean its not like dreams occur somewhere else.

I liked the central conceit of this one: two (Spoiler - click to show)(or is it one??) witches trapped in one of their mind palaces due to some kind of unnamed real world threat and needing to escape by passing through replayed key events of the host’s life. Escape by solving puzzles! Sure, I’m in.

In practice, I had unanswered questions about the implementation. For example, it seems like the host is at most a middle-aged adult, yet there was an encounter from old age they hadn’t lived yet. There was an encounter as a baby which doesn’t seem like it could be remembered. And in one encounter, it seemed you could effect the past in the ‘real world.’ It is possible, I suppose, that the mind palace incorporated time portals and those were not memories but ‘real.’ There was nothing in the text to imply this, and the unreal nature of the puzzle solving ((Spoiler - click to show)at one point a tiny hand reaches out of a cat’s ear) suggest otherwise. This game doesn’t owe me anything, it has every right to be what it is without my permission. But I felt those choices traded away some of the power of the setting without getting enough in return, dramatically speaking.

Gameplay is mostly puzzle solving, the exploring aspect is pretty limited, maybe 8 rooms. I liked that there were often multiple ways to solve puzzles, that tracked to whether you wanted to be ‘good’ or ‘evil’. The puzzles themselves were a mixed bag. Generally, the text didn’t provide a lot of nudging or feedback on your choices, so solving felt a bit arbitrary. The solutions did not come with that ‘oh, that’s why that worked!’ feeling. I got the sense that either I got lucky a lot, or the puzzles had multiple solutions. Even that is not terrible if the solutions had some kind of thematic through line to draw them together. I did not detect such.

I did like what the final escape implied about the physical fate of the witches, and really liked how understated it was. There was some nice ambiguity about the true nature of the dual protagonists, but the finale only hinted at resolving it which was maybe TOO understated. All in all I think the setting is a strong foundation that would support much tighter thematic construction and payoff. If I awarded points for ‘potential Sparks of Joy’ this would deserve it. Unfortunately, I typically do not.


Played: 10/27/22
Playtime: 30min, finished
Artistic/Technical rankings: Mechanical/Mostly Seamless
Would Play Again? No, experience seems complete

Artistic scale: Bouncy, Mechanical, Sparks of Joy, Engaging, Transcendent
Technical scale: Unplayable, Intrusive, Notable (Bugginess), Mostly Seamless, Seamless


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Season of the Witch, October 11, 2022

Inside by Ira Vlasenko

In this game, you play as a witch inside the mind of another witch, and many of your choices consist of things to say to your host. It was interesting playing as the main character but existing within the NPC at the same time.

Over the course of the story, you are trying to escape from some unknown place you have found yourselves in. There are some light puzzles, but I would expect every player will navigate them easily.

What I liked: Written in Ink, the game makes it easy to progress, make decisions, and eventually replay it. I feel like the majority of the games I’ve tried for this year’s comp so far have been in a click-the-link style, which I am really preferring. It’s great for when you don’t feel like spending a long time on one passage.

What I wish were different: I always enjoy it when I can experience different content by playing the game differently. On a second playthrough, I made a different choice at almost every opportunity, but almost everything unfolded the same way. Also, I would have liked to have more characterization. However, for readers who just want to get to the action, this story moves along at a brisk pace.


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A brief Ink game exploring a 'mind cave' of a dying witch, October 9, 2022
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

In this Ink game, you are a spirit or something similar in the physically manifested version of a witch's mind. Or rather, the witch is in the 'mind cave' and you give her directions while she describes them.

There are several puzzly elements. I never died or got locked out, so its possible that you can't lost, but I'm not sure. I found things like a maze, a giant that attacks you, and then a wide, branching area with different doors, where one 'ultimate door' was unlocked by all the others, as well as alchemy puzzles, a whole city street, etc.

Sometimes things seemed like they had to be done exactly 1 way, but I got by anyway (for instance, I used one ingredient wrong in a potion). A lot of the game seems more about roleplaying than about getting things right, and I'm okay with that).

Overall:
-Polish: The game could be more polished. There were a few occasional but noticeable grammar problems, and the storyline feels a bit incoherent.
-Descriptiveness: Things are often assigned interesting names, but few details are given about them. We know nothing about a 'window with a yellow frame' except it's a window with a yellow frame. We know nothing about a giant except that he's giant; a cat is just a cat. Minimalism can work, but for me here it didn't.
-Interactivity: I just forged forward because I've seen this type of game before and figured almost any choices could work, but I wished there was more feedback.
+Emotional impact: I found the game actually fun; surreal stuff like this is one of my favorite types of writing.
+Would I play again? Yes, it would be fun to explore.


Witch and familiar, November 29, 2022
by Cerfeuil
Related reviews: IF Comp 2022

Fun little game. You play as a witch trying to escape a mental prison. Well, you actually play as her familiar (?), who apparently lives inside her head? Like a lot of other things about the plot, it's never fully explained. But I liked seeing the two characters work together, and there's a nice sense of playful camaraderie going on. No matter what choices you make, it's clear that you're great partners who've been together for a long while. Wish it was explored more.

There are cool scenes inside the mind prison—you can do fortune telling! Brew potions! Feed a cat! But ultimately the game isn't very complex, and there are too many interesting details that are thrown out there and then not really addressed. A few grammatical errors too, but they didn't detract heavily from the experience.

Also, my minor gripe is the potion game takes too long to show you which ingredients you have. Would have replayed, but didn't have the patience to prepare all the ingredients again.





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