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
About the StoryA 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.
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)
Sub Rosa's post-comp release is now available to play. A number of minor bugs and typos have been fixed, some hints improved, and some new entries have been added to some of the exhaustive volumes in the library.
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 4
Write a review
Most Helpful Member Reviews
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!
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.
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.
See All 4 Member Reviews
If you enjoyed Sub Rosa...
Related GamesPeople who like Sub Rosa also gave high ratings to these games:
|First Draft of the Revolution, by Emily Short, Liza Daly and inkle|
Average member rating: (37 ratings)
It is dangerous to deceive a husband of magic-using rank... Juliette has been banished for the summer to a village above Grenoble: a few Alpine houses, a deep lake, blue sky, and no society. Now she writes daily to her husband. She tells...
|Sequitur, by Nigel Jayne (as Tin Foil Jenny)|
Average member rating: (3 ratings)
The only person who can explain what happened in a long-forgotten house with four dead people inside is comatose and clinging to her life in hospital. Detective Stephen Cochone of the New Orleans Police Department needs to accurately...
Vicious Cycles, by Simon Mark
Average member rating: (12 ratings)
Recommended ListsSub 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...
PollsThe following polls include votes for Sub Rosa:
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...
For Your Consideration - XYZZY-eligible puzzles of 2015 by verityvirtue
This is for suggesting puzzles from games released 2015 who you think might be worth considering for Best Individual Puzzle in the XYZZY awards. Leave a brief description of the puzzle in the comments. This is not a zeroth-round...
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...
This is version 10 of this page, edited by Autymn D. C. on 18 December 2017 at 4:03am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item