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Nominee, Best Setting; Nominee, Best Puzzles - 2015 XYZZY Awards
Entrant overall; 1st Place, Overall; 1st Place, Best Writing; 1st Place, Best Story; 2nd Place, Best Puzzles; 1st Place, Best Use of Theme ("Sunrise"); 3rd Place, Best Technical - ParserComp 2015
These Heterogenous Tasks
This is writing, I should stress, which really understands the importance of rewarding the player. It’s a big deal for me if a passage of writing can make me grin – here it’s not so much a matter of razor-honed prose as it is of wittily deployed concept, with the prose itself mostly doing an understated job of letting that shine.
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Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling
ParserComp: Chlorophyll (and a digression about female characters)
I wouldn’t really have pointed out mother-daughter relationships as a Thing That Is Lacking before playing Chlorophyll, but when I encountered it here, I found it refreshing all out of proportion with what actually happens in this game — which is a pretty good sign of an unsatisfied longing.
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Number of Reviews: 3
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However this game's true strength lies in the subtle revelation of the intricacies of the plant folk and the amusing parallels to our own world. No expository text dumps; you learn about the world room by room in the description of items, books left lying around, and the thoughts of the protagonist. The puzzles are not difficult and are mostly vehicles for delivering details about the clever parallel world of sentient mobile plantfolk.
Where Stationfall suffered greatly from "guess-the-verb" and "find this tool to put in this slot" the puzzles in Chlorophyll are a joy to perform. They are generally easy to figure out but not lacking in the pleasure of a subtle Eureka moment. The basic premise of returning power to the station is not a series of grumbling repetitive chores, but rather a series of playful experiments, especially (Spoiler - click to show)seeing how many illegal activities you can perform.
There are a few red herrings that are simply for your own amusement, (such as (Spoiler - click to show)going to the barber shop) but the plot elements are so seamlessly and naturally resting amongst the idle amusements of the mall that you cannot right away tell which are for fun and which are for the solution. As a result, it's all fun. You are encouraged to play with everything, explore, and basically, be a kid wandering through an abandoned mall.
Chlorophyll is just the right length, not long enough to draw a map (like Stationfall) but long enough to satisfy. Very well written with a great background story, and a likable protagonist, with intuitive, easy yet satisfying puzzles reminiscent of Infocom (without all the diabolical stuff.) Lots of fun, good for a beginner or someone who wants to recall the Infocom style without spending a week on a game.
It's a mid-length game set on a distant world. You play a young plant-woman with her plant-woman mother. You must explore a base while also coming to grips with your own coming adulthood and independence.
At times, I stopped playing Chlorophyll for a few weeks because the game seemed too open without much direction, and I felt overwhelmed. As I pressed through, though, I found that you were guided pretty well, and I found the last three areas enjoyable.
The only other sticking point was the long intro where you can't do very much. It made it annoying to restart. Other than that, this is one of the best 'recent' games.
A Little Gem, April 22, 2015
Steph Cherrywell has developed her own unique mythos, then teased out the core ideas into myriad of satisfying little details. The result is an original, clever and cohesive world, which is a delight to explore.
I was reminded a little of science-fiction exploration/puzzle games such as Infocom's Planetfall, but without the now overly-familiar tropes from that era. And although Chlorophyll contains elements of mystery, drama, and adventure, it's the humour (frequently light-hearted and occasionally hilarious) which elevates the overall experience to such heights.
Another point of difference is that you're not in the role of a faceless, ageless, gender-neutral person. On the contrary, you're... well, you'll see.
The game is small enough to complete in an hour or two, and I never felt the need to draw a map (both of which I consider to be pluses!)
I thought the handful of puzzles were very good: well-balanced, integrated into the story, and most importantly, logical. I suspect that more experienced players may consider some of the puzzles to be a bit on the easy side, but personally I was happy to keep the story moving forward without getting bogged down. And there are a few red herrings thrown in to keep it from being a cakewalk.
The level of polish seems to me to be commendable, both in terms of prose, and the game's implementation. I look forward to more from this talented author!
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