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Savoir-Faire

by Emily Short profile

Episode 1 of Lavori d'Aracne
Fantasy
2002

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Reviews and Ratings

5 star:
(64)
4 star:
(24)
3 star:
(5)
2 star:
(2)
1 star:
(3)
Average Rating:
Number of Ratings: 99
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- Mike Spivey, August 12, 2017

- mapped, July 3, 2017

- Denk, May 30, 2017

- EngineerWolf (India), May 11, 2017

- megatherium, May 6, 2017

- Audiart (Davis, CA), February 21, 2017

- sadsack29 (houston), February 10, 2017

- Sobol (Russia), January 7, 2017

- prevtenet (Texas), November 24, 2016

- nosferatu, July 9, 2016

- CMG (NYC), July 8, 2016

- NinaS, July 3, 2016

- Xavid, May 10, 2016

- Guenni (At home), January 24, 2016

- namekuseijin (anywhere but home), January 7, 2016

- Janice M. Eisen (Portland, Oregon), January 1, 2016

- Aryore, December 13, 2015

- mixscarlet, October 14, 2015

- Khalisar (Italy), July 28, 2015

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
One of the great puzzle games, July 28, 2015
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
I still haven't finished Savoir-Faire. I played through almost the entire main part of the game a couple of months ago, but then I had to move house and the game languished for a while. Returning to it, I was overwhelmed by the amount of objects I had collected and the amount of information I had at one time processed. I found it very hard to get into the game again. Enough had slipped away that I needed to replay the game, but enough remained in my memory that this would have been mostly boring. No matter. I'll put it aside for now and return at some later point in time, knowing that there will be still more for me to discover -- including de denouement.

For let it be clear that Savoir-Faire is a game you will wish to return to, not so much because of its plotting (which is slow) or its characterisation (which isn't exciting), but because of the beauty and intricacy of its puzzles and of the model world that supports them. Savoir-Faire is in many ways an old-school puzzle game, which means that it is hard; but it is also fair. Banging your head against its mysteries is bound to be a very rewarding experience, and I would encourage you not to use a walkthrough or a hint file. This game is worth persevering.

A large part of the game's beauty comes from its central puzzle mechanic, which is incredibly flexible but also strict enough to give coherence to the whole. This mechanic is the Lavori d'Aracne, which I suppose translates to the "labours of Arachne", that is, the spinning of spider webs. It is a kind of magic in which you can link objects that are like each other, and they will then start exhibiting the same behaviour. E.g., you link two boxes, and then, when you open one of them, the other will be opened as well. A large part of the game is spent exploring the possibilities and limits of this system, and while these limits may sometimes feel a bit arbitrary, they are consistent enough that one will keep faith in the game.

Savoir-Faire is possibly my favourite large puzzle game. And next time I return to it -- perhaps in a year or two -- I'll finally solve it! I'm sure of it.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Technically brilliant game with unsympathetic PC, July 13, 2015
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours
Savoir-Faire is a longish game set in an alternate-world version of France. The game prominently features a magic system involving linking items together so that they share certain properties.

The puzzles are brilliant and the game is well-implemented. You can experiment to your hearts content, and most reasonable solutions to problems work. The writing is excellent, and the storyline well-thought out.

I finished the game years ago. Every time I try to replay it though, I lose interest. Why would anyone lose interest in such a technical marvel? Because I really don't care about the PC's situation. He's a wishy-washy wimp; he can't decide if he's investigating his adoptive family's disappearance or looting their house; he can't decide if he's a rake with a million love interests or a romantic with one woman at heart; he can't decide if he's a member of the royalty-hating lower class or a priviliged upper-class man; and he can't decide if he's starving or picky.

Short hasn't written him poorly; she's just very accurately portrayed a disagreeable man. I wish I could have him slap himself, remove his silly white feather, and tell him to just eat the andouilletes plain or stop whining. I don't care about finishing the game because I don't want to go through all that trouble just so his aristocratic palate won't have to endure stale bread and unseasoned lentils. The ending helps a bit, but it is too little, too late. If he really cared about his family, why is he stealing everything?

Others may not have the same reaction.

- chux, May 19, 2015

- Matt W (San Diego, CA), March 25, 2015

- Thrax, March 11, 2015

- hoopla, March 7, 2015


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