Have you played this game?You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.
Playlists and Wishlists
RSS FeedsNew member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page
Winner, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Story; Nominee, Best Setting - 2002 XYZZY Awards
-- Emily Short
>VERBOSE -- Paul O'Brian's Interactive Fiction Page
The Moonlit Tower is a rich and gorgeous piece of work, and a very strong debut from an excellent new author. Easily the most striking thing about this game is its writing, burnished and evocative prose that sets a very elevated tone.
See the full review
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 5
Write a review
Most Helpful Member Reviews
My one complaint is that such a stunning story, more than capable of carrying itself entirely on the strength of its surreal and deeply implemented setting, is at heart a puzzle game. The mid-part, where you must figure out how to use the sundry gorgeously described items you find, was for me the weakest, the flow of the prose being constantly interrupted by the need to wonder what on Earth (or elsewhere) I actually had to do to make the story continue, or by trips to the terse and occasionally frustrating hint menu.
But even if you are, like me, puzzle-averse, this is some of the most affecting writing I can call to mind, and the chance to explore this exquisite world should not be turned down.
The writing, as other reviews have said, is stunning. Even the error messages ("you can't go that way", etc.) are beautifully in-world and you have to examine every element of the setting to piece together the back story. I really wish this had been the final chapter of a longer game -- it felt like getting a glimpse into a wonderful elaborate world that I desperately wanted to see more of.
The puzzles are where this game breaks down a little. It's possible to win without solving one of the central challenges, yet the end-text assumes the puzzle was completed, making me wonder if I did something in an order that the game hadn't expected. The puzzles themselves vary from interesting but not at all challenging to combining elements in ways that I never would have figured out without the hint system. This would have been a more effective game in my opinion if the writer had played more to her strength in writing and left the more complicated puzzles for a second run.
The story itself, from what I could piece together of the hints, is a tragic one. The tower is symbolic of your character's inability to accept, to let go, to forgive himself. As you play through, there is a fun revelation going on, where each new discovery fleshes out the character's backstory more and more, but you never get anything really concrete. It's all implicit. Still, I found the character to be both sympathetic and likable. The tower is pretty small, but choices you make in terms of how you solve puzzles impacts the various endings.
The puzzles were intuitive. There was one that I got stuck on how to word my command. I knew what I wanted to do but had a devil of a time getting the game to understand me. I managed it in the end without hints, but it did cause some frustration. But don't let that put you off. I know which combination of choices produces my personal optimal ending, and having seen several of them, a little more of the backstory gets revealed the more endings you see. It's possible to finish the game without solving all the puzzles, but this produces a less satisfying ending. Puzzles are well-clued based on the writing, however, so it's not really possible to not know what to do. The puzzles feel natural and not intrusive, made to serve the story, just the way I like it.
I think this is a good beginning game; something that showcases what IF can be when it's done well; why there are people who choose to play a story in such a medium instead of one where things are explicitly drawn for them. IF should provide the immersion and escape of a good book, along with the emotional engagement and food for thought of great literature. This game does that, and it's short enough to replay for the endings. Everyone should give this a try.
See All 5 Member Reviews
If you enjoyed The Moonlit Tower...
Related GamesPeople who like The Moonlit Tower also gave high ratings to these games:
|Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home, by Andrew Plotkin|
A far-future story of discovery.
|The Act of Misdirection, by Callico Harrison|
The curtain lifts to a torrent of applause, as the city's gents and ladies lose their decorum for a just few moments in anticipation of something magical. The spotlights drown the glitter of sequins and pearls, the metal cane-tops and...
|When in Rome 2: Far from Home, by Emily Short|
Recommended ListsThe Moonlit Tower appears in the following Recommended Lists:
PollsThe following polls include votes for The Moonlit Tower:
Best Short Games (5-60 minutes) by Sasha Davidovna
I'm pretty new to IF and am having a lot of fun, but in between a toddler and a job and other real life stuff, I'm having trouble finding time to finish many of the longer games I want to play. Can you please recommend me some fun and/or...
NPC-less Exploration by Dannii
Supposedly one of IFs strengths is for exploring places with few other people, often abandoned places, but I can't think of many works which have zero NPCs and consist of a lot of exploration. Usually there's at least one NPC, or the...
Diversity in IF by The Xenographer
Most English-language IF that's set in something resembling the real world seems to deal with vaguely WASP-y types in the US, the UK, Australia, or Canada. What are some works that explore different settings from these and/or characters...
This is version 3 of this page, edited by Dave Chapeskie on 29 April 2009 at 6:14pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item