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Cactus Blue Motel

by Astrid Dalmady profile


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Reviews and Ratings

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Number of Ratings: 56
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- Bartlebooth, December 7, 2018

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Beautifully presented, but could have been better written, September 2, 2018
This game left me feeling a little unsatisfied.

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.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Welcome to the Cactus Blue Motel: you wont ever want to leave!, July 15, 2018
Please bear with me as this is my first review ever!

Cactus Blue Motel feels a bit like a "walking game" (Dear Esther or Edith Finch). And as such, it is pretty easy. BUT that doesn't mean it isn't fun or engaging. It avoids soooo many pitfalls common to these types of games. Dalmady manages to paint a vibrant world without being overly verbose. More specifically, I feel that Dalmady manages to walk that fine line between describing the world of the Cactus Blue Motel and giving us as players something to do. Finally, (without giving away too many spoilers) Dalmady inserts so many symbolic characters and objects that you cannot help but to "get the point(s)" of the story eventually.

The dialogue is fine as well, but God help all budding Interactive Fiction writers if Dalmady ever studies script writing!

I do sort of wish some of my choices had a bit more of an impact on the game world, but really this is a minor complaint in what otherwise is a fantastic game.

- Karl Ove Hufthammer (Bergen, Norway), July 13, 2018

Not much of a game, exquisitely written, July 12, 2018

by f-a
I encourage you to play this Twine: despite being quite light on the "gaming" part, it is expertly written and touching.

The game sports "multiple ending", but I was satisfied with just one walkthrough.

It is quite short (say: half an hour to an hour).

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A Very High Recommendation From A Die-Hard Parser Guy, July 12, 2018
I'm a parser guy. I once believed that I'd never be able to give five stars to a Twine game for various parser-bias reasons. Then I played Cactus Blue Motel. And then I subsequently redefined my IF schema. Intriguing, Engaging, Inspiring, Thought Provoking. Life-Changing? Perhaps. This is an interactive story; this is a game; this is literature; this is art. Do yourself a favor and experience it for yourself.

- lavieenmeow, June 20, 2018

- DustyCypress (Hong Kong), May 19, 2018

- Stas, April 1, 2018

- airylef, December 25, 2017

- Dominia, December 22, 2017

- LatinAlice (Canada), December 10, 2017

- Prosilire (New York City), December 3, 2017

- helado (a small ceramic bowl), October 4, 2017

- Julia Myer (USA), August 29, 2017

- Wanderlust, August 3, 2017

- Spike, July 22, 2017

- Ivanr, July 20, 2017

- John Ayliff (Vancouver, BC), July 17, 2017

- lastplaneout (Boone, NC), June 22, 2017

- IFforL2 (East Asia), June 13, 2017

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A heavily location-based long Twine with excellent styling, May 22, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour
It took me 209 choices to complete this game on my third playthrough.

This game took third in IfComp 2016, but as of this writing, it has the highest rating and number of ratings on IFDB.

In this game, you arrive at and explore a mysterious old motel with a supernatural flair. The game uses two main types of links: mostly-static location-based links for movement, and then conversation/emotion links for small scenes that play out as you move.

The two kinds of links are very consistent, making for some great gameplay. The styling is also good, with some nice animations and fonts and colors.

- NJ (Ontario), May 19, 2017

- Laney Berry, May 18, 2017

- gapaot, April 27, 2017

- Ismarus, March 11, 2017

- Devon Preara, February 23, 2017

- Squidi, February 17, 2017

- Witchy W, February 5, 2017

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Evocative surreal atmosphere, January 28, 2017
I found the writing and the world created here to be unique and very intriguing. There's a lot of uncertainty here: what's really happening, how characters relate, what the consequences are of your actions, some of what's really going on with your character. This works well both for the uncertainty of a teenager whose life is about to completely change and for the surreal, uncanny environment. All in all, while it's not as game-y as some, it's a well-done literary/existential twine game.

- kala (Finland), January 17, 2017

- Mona Mae (South Africa), November 30, 2016

- Doug Orleans (Somerville, MA, USA), November 24, 2016

- E.K., November 22, 2016

- The Xenographer, November 19, 2016

- dream, November 18, 2016

- Joey Jones (UK), November 17, 2016

- Liza Daly, November 17, 2016

- Robin Johnson (Edinburgh, Scotland), November 16, 2016

- CMG (NYC), November 16, 2016

- XianXian, November 16, 2016

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
I was there, November 7, 2016
by streever (America)
This piece transported me to my own confused teenage years. Trying to sort out my future, scared of adulthood, pushed by forces beyond my control, I desperately could have used two close friends, a road trip, and a magical motel.

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! :)

- Bruno Dias, November 6, 2016

- hoopla, October 28, 2016

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Glowing in the desert., October 26, 2016
by Owlor (Sweden)
A gorgeous-looking Twine with a surreal Twin Peaks-esque atmosphere that is open to interpretation, but contain themes of reluctance to move on, very much recommended.

- Pegbiter (Malmö, Sweden), October 23, 2016

- mr.jones, October 20, 2016

- LayzaSkully (Italy), October 17, 2016

- Brendan Patrick Hennessy (Toronto, Ontario), October 14, 2016

- Denk, October 14, 2016

- jeffhos, October 13, 2016

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Run around in a motel., October 12, 2016
by DS Phelps (NY)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2016
Haven't you ever wanted to do that, run around in a cheap motel in the middle of the night? This was a lot of fun and encouraged an adventurous attitude. I felt bathed in the neon glow as I raced around trying to solve the riddle of the place. Fun and trippy.

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), October 8, 2016

- Matt Bates, October 7, 2016

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
roadtrip, conspirations, twilight zone, October 7, 2016
by namekuseijin (anywhere but home)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2016
3 girls on a roadtrip stop by an old motel in the middle of the desert to spend the night. Once the neon flower is lit, the hotel comes to life with a plethora of eccentric characters reeking of nostalgic times. Should the girls move ahead, should they stay? Do they even have reasons to go on? What's going on? I thought it might hide some horror behind it, but instead it treads along a Twilight Zone path.

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.

- Sobol (Russia), October 2, 2016

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