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About the StoryA Spring Thing 2014 entry.
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2nd Place - Spring Thing 2014
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Number of Reviews: 2
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Great atmosphere, solid writing, incredible use of twine, April 18, 2014
I really enjoyed the creative way-finding; it wasn't your standard (N, S, W, E) coordinates, but I didn't find it distracting or confusing. Other noticeable improvements on the standard Twine experience included the hand-drawn maps and elegant inventory system. This game recreates some of the feeling of a parser game, while stripping away the learning curve and 'guess the verb/noun' confusion that can occur in a parser.
The writing was strong, and the hinted at domestic problems were an engrossing mystery, as was the identity of the character you play. The narrative has a strong punch, and includes the use of red herrings that give you further insight into the character and the story. I recommend playing this game like an exploration on your first go, and 'in character' on the second--as you imagine your character to be, based on the first play through.
(My original review of this game referred to a puzzling early maze-like puzzle; it has since been reworked and improved dramatically.)
But the maps in the game are inspired. I'm not very familiar with Twine, but I haven't seen this done before. The sprawling map of the dark forest when it is reached, is startling in its beauty, a great centerpiece to the more minimal maps.
Unfortunately, the house and office floorplans are much more cleanly drawn than the maps for the alien settings. Combine that with downright vague directions like "up" "down" and "beneath", which are used around the vessel, and the two halves of the game seem unbalanced.
The gameplay flowed nicely. The human character's repeated choice between making stuff up and being honest felt like a natural choice to me, as did the alien's choice between eating things himself and sharing.
There were a few things that I expected to be interactive but turned out not to be. Taking the pills seemed to have no effect on the later story, as the narrator later quips that the human character should have taken the pills to (Spoiler - click to show)prevent a psychotic break.
Additionally, after (Spoiler - click to show)absorbing the bear, I was told that I would not be able to hold onto it for very long, but I was uncertain of whether this was a problem I actually had to solve, or just part of the narration. I'll have to replay and see what changes.
Edit: the two-star rating seems a little harsh in hindsight, and I was using it to reflect my feeling that the game was uneven in parts. Since there are no serious flaws, the game is probably closer to 2.5, so I've updated it to three stars.
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This game is an entry in the Mystery House Taken Over project. The story and graphics are adapted from Roberta Williams' original Mystery House.
PollsThe following polls include votes for Surface:
Games much improved in later versions by Karl Ove Hufthammer
Most IF works are only available in ‘version 1’, but some are released in updated versions. And a few see a large amount of bug fixing, rewriting and polish. This is a poll for highlighting these games, games that the authors have taken...
For Your Consideration: Games from 2014 that should be nominated for the XYZZY Awards by Molly
There were a lot of great games released in the past year, and now that the XYZZYs are coming up, it seems like a very good idea to take a poll of all the games from last year people would like to see nominated. The management has asked...
Sublime Moments by Sam Kabo Ashwell
I've been thinking about games that provide really brilliant moments. This is not about the overall quality of the game: there are plenty of excellent games that never deliver a clear, standout moment of unalloyed excellence. And surely...
This is version 4 of this page, edited by Mostly Useless on 17 April 2014 at 4:40pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item