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Post-Comp Release
This is the story-file for the post-comp release of Sub Rosa.
For all systems. To play, you'll need a glulx interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
Competition Story File
IFComp 2015 release
For all systems. To play, you'll need a glulx interpreter - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
Walkthrough
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Sub Rosa

by Joey Jones profile and Melvin Rangasamy

2015

Web Site

(based on 18 ratings)
4 member reviews

About the Story

A puzzle game about secrets in the Age of Lead. You've spent seventeen years preparing for an infiltration. Stealing the Confessor's secrets is only the beginning: it will all be for nothing if you leave a trace.

Game Details

First Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: Inform 7
IFID: Unknown
TUID: 73nvz9yui87ub3sd

Awards

Nominee, Best Setting; Winner, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle - 2015 XYZZY Awards

6th Place overall; 2nd Place, Miss Congeniality Award - 21st Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2015)


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Member Reviews

5 star:
(8)
4 star:
(7)
3 star:
(3)
2 star:
(0)
1 star:
(0)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An espionage game that rewards attention to detail, July 20, 2017
by Cory Roush (Ohio)
This is one of the best - if you're a fan of espionage AND fantasy/sci-fi, you're going to love this too.

I want to see more of this setting. The REVEAL at the end (no, literally - if you achieve a perfect score, you have access to a command that describes the game's biggest twist and explains the "perfect" ending) left me speechless and also wanting more.

One of the game's biggest puzzles is simply leaving no trace that you were ever there to begin with. This sounds like it'd be a real chore, but it actually required me to be 100% engaged at all times so that I could remember how I had entered the mansion and what I had disturbed. It also allows the authors to completely avoid one of the tropes that is my biggest pet peeve with interactive fiction: you're not forced to be a pack rat... in fact, there are a lot of items that you conceivably could pick up and take with you but are prohibited from doing so because they'll leave traces that you could not clean up. So clever, and I appreciate it so much!

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Wonderful., September 18, 2016
I hadn't played any IF in over ten years when I stumbled across Sub Rosa at a local convention for independent games. I was immediately intrigued and had to keep playing at home!

The writing of this game is absolutely wonderful and so much fun to read. It had me laughing out loud and gasping in surprise.

And the puzzles! They were really fun! I can't say much more without giving things away. But A+ puzzle design - tough enough to be interesting, but I was never hopelessly stuck.

The length of the game is great, too. Short - but not too short! Highly recommend.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Weird espionage, November 16, 2015
by CMG (NYC)
Confessor Destine is an unimpeachable authority. His spotless personal record ensures that he can wield great power in society by exploiting other people's indiscretions, charging them with crimes, without ever having his own position questioned.

You play as someone who has a bone to pick with him. You have been preparing for years to break into the Confessor's mansion and dig up some dirt. You begin the game wearing a pellucid llama-suit that makes you invisible, and you will enter the mansion through a spatial intersection in a giant leather cliff that cuts into another physical plane.

I want to say that this game is surreal, but I don't think that's accurate. It's set in a fantasy world with very unusual qualities, but within this world everything is consistent and makes sense. There's no dream logic. There's just strange logic. The finesse required to achieve this subtle distinction in the writing is spectacular.

I don't want to say too much about the world, because the game's primary pleasure comes from exploring that world. I do think you will have to have a certain taste for peculiarity to enjoy the game though. It made me think about Edward Gorey. Consider this organization system in the Confessor's library:

You could choose a specific book or one of the seven eternal categories: damp, forgotten, implausible, pejorative, exhaustive, unsettling and beseeching.

If you look at the "forgotten" books, some titles you'll find are Urn Dwellers, Emponderations Most Wearysome, and History of The Boundless Plains. In the "damp" category there is a book about milking called Milking.

This library is probably the game's greatest achievement. It has 101 books, and you can read them all, and they are all different and wonderful and enrich the world. At the same time, the library also illustrates the game's biggest weakness, which is that it demands an exhaustive attention to detail from the player to solve its puzzles.

Sub Rosa rewards patience and critical thought, and it does not respond well to being rushed through. Some players will be frustrated by its difficulty, and the puzzles could certainly be clued more overtly, but this is exactly what will draw other players to the game who want a challenge. Even though I personally needed hints, that didn't detract at all from my satisfaction with the game's other elements.

See All 4 Member Reviews

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Recommended Lists

Sub Rosa appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Best fantasy games by MathBrush
These are my favorite games that include some sort of magical or fantastical element. Games with mostly horror or sci-fi elements are on other lists, as are surreal games, fairy tale/nursery games, and religious/mythological games. I've...

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Polls

The following polls include votes for Sub Rosa:

For Your Consideration - XYZZY-eligible implementations of 2015 by Brendan Patrick Hennessy
This is for games released in 2015 which you think might be worth considering for Best Implementation in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not mentioned here will...

For Your Consideration - XYZZY-eligible games of 2015 by Brendan Patrick Hennessy
This is for suggesting games released in 2015 which you think might be worth considering for Best Game in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not mentioned here will...

Games with Books/Bookshelves/Libraries by Andrew Schultz
I'm interested in games with lots of books you can read through. Maybe it's just a lot of cool titles and authors. Maybe they're randomly or procedurally generated. Maybe they reference pop culture, or maybe they're the author's own...

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This is version 9 of this page, edited by Joey Jones on 14 April 2016 at 5:15pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item