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 StorySomewhere between New Mexico and Arizona, three friends were driving through a barren desert of red rocks, and wide empty skies. It was the end of summer, the end of high school, the end of so many things.
And then they found the Cactus Blue Motel.
Nominee, Best Game; Nominee, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Story; Winner, Best Setting; Winner, Best NPCs - 2016 XYZZY Awards
The Breakfast Review
One issue with a lot of morality games is that temptation is so clearly temptation, and so distant from the player, that it's laughably easy to simply pick the right answer no matter how the protagonist has been characterised. Here, the temptation is more subtly drawn, and even though there seems to be hardly any assertion that we are tempted, we wonder if, after all, staying might be the right thing to do ... and in the end, it really is up to the individual player to decide whether one ending is any better than another. Well done.
See the full review
Rock Paper Shotgun
IF Only: All about Setting
In common with several of her previous pieces, itís playing with the awe-inspiring and the mystical that underlies reality. But the dialogue goes deeper, the characters are more developed, the pacing more confident.
See the full review
IFComp 2016: Five Authors and Six Games
Itís a magical realist story about the end of adolescence, feeling unmoored from a longtime group of friends, and the uncanny feeling of being in a strange place with a group of people you think you know very well.
See the full review
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 11
Write a review
Most Helpful Member Reviews
Strengths include fantastic writing throughout, a sense of place, strong characters, and a powerful voice from a talented writer.
Weaknesses: Where is my soundtrack? What is the url for the motel website? How can I visit here? Why isn't there more? Will you write more? Can I subscribe to your email list?
OK, so maybe those aren't actually 'weaknesses' in the commonly accepted meaning of the word, but come on, let me visit the Cactus Blue! :)
You know, the setting and writing are pretty solid and really captivated me, despite being a bit too much of the short prose style and link-exhausting side. But then, as I kept playing to see where it leads, there it comes, tucked away in the literal middle of the road, blunt as a slap on the face: (Spoiler - click to show)the scene where they're walking to the phonebooth and they pretty much SCREAM OUT LOUD THAT ALL THIS FANTASY SETTING IS REALLY JUST AN EXCUSE FOR YET ANOTHER GAY COMING OUT SIMULATOR. just like Birdland last year and the myriads of twine output that make up most of IF these days. guess this is what we get for decades of puerile dungeon spelunking abuse...
5 stars despite it, thanks to gripping, vivid setting, lush presentation with fine typography and color schemes, some memorable characters, fine dialogues and storytelling, good dosage of drama, comedy and conspiracy... I don't know what to tell without giving out much, only that this is a must-play and well worth it.
There were strong horror vibes that I felt could have been emphasised a little more, which would have added greatly to the atmosphere, even if the piece as a whole was not aiming to be a horror story.
Dialogue felt somewhat canned, and at times melodramatic, punctuated with grammatical inconsistencies. The conclusion also felt simplistic, with the tensions between the protagonist and each of her two friends left unaddressed. While another outburst wouldn't have been desirable, I think a little more resistance from Lex and Becky, and from the protagonist herself, wouldn't have been amiss. (Glancing through the other reviews, however, which praise the game's writing, I seem to be in the minority here.)
I think a large part of my disappointment with the game can be attributed to how much promise it showed. The cover art is gorgeous, as are the title screen and the neon text prevalent throughout the game. Given the coherence of this theme, I was expecting an equally high level of crispness for the story, which unfortunately fell short, in my opinion.
See All 11 Member Reviews
If you enjoyed Cactus Blue Motel...
Related GamesPeople who like Cactus Blue Motel also gave high ratings to these games:
|Open Sorcery, by Abigail Corfman|
Average member rating: (44 ratings)
You are online. You are fire and order. You are here to protect. ---- "Open Sorcery" is a game about technology, magic and becoming a person. It follows the development of an Elemental Firewall--a creature of intertwined magic and code....
|Erstwhile, by Maddie Fialla, Marijke Perry|
Average member rating: (16 ratings)
The neighborhood Thanksgiving party was going pretty well until you keeled over and died. Now you're a ghost, and you're going to figure out who killed you. But you can't exactly interview people or search for clues when you're dead, can...
|Shelter from the Storm, by Eric Eve|
Average member rating: (22 ratings)
It is set in October 1940. Jack is a newly-commissioned sapper officer on his way to his first posting somewhere on Salisbury Plain (in southern England) when his car breaks down. The weather is starting to turn nasty, and his first task...
Recommended ListsCactus Blue Motel appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Favorite "atmosphere" games by MathBrush
These are games that are fun because of the atmosphere and plot more than the puzzles. These games are not too hard and not too easy. They generally have a big over-arching theme. I have included most horror and comedy games in other...
PollsThe following polls include votes for Cactus Blue Motel:
For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Games of 2016 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2016 which you think might be worth considering for Best Game in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not mentioned here will...
The game(s) that changed your mind about Twine by MathBrush
I've seen many people discuss their feelings for Twine. Many of them say that they didn't think it was a 'real' platform at first, but then certain games changed them (see, for instance, the commentary in "IF is Dead. Long Live IF") For...
For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible NPCs of 2016 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2016 which you think might be worth considering for Best NPCs 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 5 of this page, edited by dastridly on 21 November 2016 at 1:59pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item