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Ectocomp 2014
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It Is Pitch Black

by Caelyn Sandel profile

Horror
2014

Web Site

(based on 14 ratings)
3 member reviews

About the Story

Trapped alone in a darkened antique store with a man-eating grue, can you keep a light going long enough to survive?

(contains sound, but no jumpscares.)

2nd place, EctoComp 2014.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 31, 2014
Current Version: 1.1
License: Freeware
Development System: Twine
IFID: Unknown
TUID: k8w3osnaz3zowmmg

Awards

2nd Place - EctoComp 2014

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(5)
4 star:
(4)
3 star:
(3)
2 star:
(2)
1 star:
(0)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 3
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
I Can't Believe It's Speed-IF, January 13, 2016
To start with: I am not going to review this as an Ectocomp game, because it is so well-constructed, in terms of both writing and gameplay, that there is no way I could have guessed that it was made in three hours. I am going to review it as if it were any other interactive fiction game.

Caelyn Sandel has a history of making Twine games with strong world modelling and well implemented puzzles, more like point-and-click adventures than CYOA stories. It Is Pitch Black falls into this category. The plot is simple, but engaging: you are a kid going into an abandoned hardware store for a bet, one of your friends accidentally locks you in, and you have to find a way to make the light last until help arrives. Because you're not alone.

The writing is excellent: clear, not fancy, transmitting both the setting and the PC's sensations perfectly and without melodramatic effects. The use of graphics (and lack thereof) adds to the ambience. The puzzles are solid; again, exactly what I expect from Sandel's work. It is not extremely difficult, but it took me a couple of tries to beat.

I have very little negative criticism. The world-building feels sketchy, including magic and monsters as well as a vague (but evocative) apocalypse some time before the start of the game, but as the outro text explains that the game is part of a larger setting created by the author, I presume that other works fill in the details. I could also quibble with the use of the Zorkian staple, the grue, in an otherwise serious and non-derivative story. Obviously, there is a reason for the monster being called a grue (and not, say, a gazzok): the game's main puzzle is finding light sources, the average IF player knows that grues are afraid of light, no further set-up is needed. It still brought me out of the game a little bit.

As horror games go, this isn't particularly horrific, but it is tense and atmospheric. Recommended if you want a decently challenging Twine game with a world model and puzzles.

(And no, I still don't know how Ms. Sandel makes games like this in three hours.)

A fun short, creepy game about running out of light, September 10, 2016
In this game, you are trapped inside a small shop with a grue (a creature from the Zork series). Just any connection with Zork makes a game more silly, but that's not a drawback here.

You have to move through the darkness with limited resources. As you do, you find different sources of light and other surprises. You're just trying to survive.

I had to replay a couple of times to get it right. It has some nice ambient sounds and good use of images and backgrounds.

I really liked it, and recommend it.

creepy little adventure, January 7, 2016
by namekuseijin (anywhere but home)
3 kids find some ancient ruins and one of them, you, is unwillingly set to explore it. Too bad it is pitch black and you might be eaten by a grue.

This is a Twine game paying homage to Zork and the Enchanter trilogy, that were incredibly popular text adventure games back in the 80's. Inurashii did a good job of emulating traditional parser-like gameplay in a hypertext setting - including moving around, and even featuring one puzzle!

The writing is very good and is able to stir a lot of tension in that constrained environment, where you're fighting to keep whatever light sources you may find lit until help arrives - or else that sinister zorkian presence in the dark might eat you right away. Worthy of note is that the author seems to set the Zork universe sometime in our future and magic is possibly technology.

too short, but (Spoiler - click to show)At least you got a souvenir (perhaps a zorkmid)

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This is version 4 of this page, edited by Caelyn Sandel on 9 February 2015 at 3:46pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item