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Reviews by verityvirtue

Spring Thing 2016

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View this member's reviews by tag: 2018 choleric ECTOCOMP ECTOCOMP 2016 IFComp 2015 IFComp 2016 IFComp 2017 Introcomp Ludum Dare melancholic melancholic phlegmatic melancholy parser phlegmatic Ren'Py sanguine Spring Thing 2015 Spring Thing 2016 sub-Q Tiny Utopias
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Tangaroa Deep, by Astrid Dalmady

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Polished deep sea exploration, April 30, 2016
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: Spring Thing 2016, melancholic
Time to completion: 20-30 minutes

In Tangaroa Deep, you are a marine biologist going down to document creatures of the deep in SS Tangaroa. The deeper you go, the stranger these creatures become. After all, there is so much we don't know about the deep sea.

The PC's only link with the outside world is their connection with Jackie, their research partner, and their banter is a delightful foil to the creatures living down below, which get weirder and weirder. Like parser IF, the world model is location-based, which means story branching is dependent on where you move, meshing wonderfully with the overall story.

Several visual features illustrate atmospheric changes as the PC goes further and further down. The air meter ticks down. The background deepens from aqua to black. The description of creatures gets weirder and weirder. Where Dalmady's writing shines, I think, is in the late game, if you choose to go as deep as you can, and then some.

Recommended.

Sisters of Claro Largo, by David T. Marchand

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Telescopic tale of two women and a city, April 30, 2016
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: Spring Thing 2016
Time to completion: 20-30 minutes

When you escaped, you were childless. Now, away from the City and its cells, you have two daughters, both special and peculiar in their own ways. Their stories will shape the future of Claro Largo.

The narrator in this game is pretty much invisible, compared to what the titular sisters do (and end up doing). The story is grim, melancholic; the village setting suggests claustrophobia, despite its promise of freedom. To me, this called to mind stories such as The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula Le Guin, or Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle. (Of course, these comparisons are far from perfect, though they share similar tones and atmospheres.)

This game uses telescopic text (similar to what this tool does) to slowly reveal the story. This gimmick is purely mechanical (technically, there's nothing really to stop this being a linear story), but the order in which text is presented makes clear the conceptual links, the story's chronological order. Sisters is very simple, but tells a good story.

Evita Sempai, by Florencia Rumpel Rodriguez

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Vignettes of relationships and romances, April 27, 2016
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: Spring Thing 2016
Evita Sempai centres around one woman's adoration/love for Eva Perón, who was the first lady of Argentina from 1946 to 1952. It is told in a series of episodes from the narrator's perspective, centred around encounters with Perón.

This game has social relationships at its core, but where other games allow us to manipulate our position in those relationships, the narrator of Evita Sempai already has a predefined position in her social circle. Dropping the player in all these relationships in medias res felt a little disorienting at first, but it also helped to flesh out a fully-formed protagonist who was not only in love with Eva Perón, but also a sister, daughter and breadwinner.

I went into this game without any knowledge of who Eva Perón was, but it's not strictly necessary. Context will certainly explain the later events in this game, and perhaps explain other NPCs' reactions to the titular first lady.

I found the narrator's relationships with NPCs difficult to follow initially, but this is really a minor quibble. Evita Sempai is neatly styled, with changing backgrounds highlighting the transitions between sections.

I am a sucker for local detail and this game does a nicely subtle job of it, even though (to my memory) city and place names are almost never mentioned. Evita Sempai explores a real-life setting not often found in IF, which is definitely something I'd like to see more of.


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