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Number of Reviews: 13
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A reminder why I can't read Lovecraftian horror..., July 19, 2017
by Cory Roush (Ohio)
I still have chills.

Implementation: flawless. Prose: wonderful. Ending: fantastic.

5 stars, 10 out of 10, whew.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Okay horror story, but never becomes greater than the sum of its parts, June 27, 2016
I had high hopes for Ecdysis: the title and cover are evocative, and I am a fan of both Lovecraftian and body horror, and have found other entries in the Lovecraft Commonplace Book Project extremely enjoyable.

In the end, though, it didn't live up to my expectations. It feels harsh saying that, because the game is not a failure by any means. The writing is above-average, doing a good job conveying pain, disorientation and dread, as well as the occasional glimpse of wonder. While it's short and linear, it's polished, putting in quite a bit of information that you might miss on your first playthrough. (For example, try examining the stars when you can see them.) While the NPCs never get any characterisation, the PC's love for them comes through. The core situation with the PC's stepchildren is one that is pretty rare in this type of story. It's all... good, rather than great.

Time for the downsides. Perhaps it's just that I've consumed a lot of horror, but I found it easy to guess from early on where the plot was going, and it didn't surprise me much.

The writing seems to aim for Lovecraft's style a bit too slavishly, without hitting the things I like about Lovecraft's writing. Also, there are a couple of vocabulary blunders: for example, "diaphanous light" in the bathroom. (I guess the writer might mean that the light is faint, as if the darkness is showing through it, but it looks like a plain misused word.) As I mentioned, the game is short, linear, and almost puzzleless. (I say "almost", since there's apparently an alternative ending I haven't been able to get.) That's fine for what it is, but a longer game with a bit more freedom might have had more impact.

Perhaps most damning for a horror game, I didn't find it scary. The situation at the outset is certainly unpleasant, but as I said, after a certain point I could see too clearly where the story was going, and the central scene where we realise what is going on felt a bit too pulpy, rather than cosmic.

Not a waste of time by any means, but not as memorable as I was hoping for. Still, if you're after a quick, very polished horror/SF read, check it out.

A game that crosses the line for me, but may not for others, February 3, 2016
I enjoy horror games quite a bit, but I like to stick to "white-hat" games, where you overcome evil or learn about yourself, and the final feeling is generally uplifting. This is not one of those games. While you can choose your actions, it is a lot like Vespers, where rushing along will lead you down a path that leaves you feeling uncomfortable and unhappy.

Otherwise, the game is well-made. I just can't recommend it to others; for a game with a similar feel and less squick, I recommend the Twine game Eidolon.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
I wish for more implementation, August 14, 2015
by Harry Coburn (Atlanta, GA)
The core premise of Ecdysis is sound. It is tight Lovecraftian horror. However, it needs more implementation throughout to flesh it out. Too little implementation makes a game feel like a railroad or a visual novel.

In fact, this type of tight fiction would be great in Twine, although the important verb in the game would be a little bit tricky to implement.

Haunting and creepy, August 24, 2014
by Jason Lautzenheiser (Navarre, Ohio)
Under-implemented and not a lot going on, however the story is very creepy, one that sticks with you for a time. I love Lovecraft and like these little bite-sized portions games like this give you.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Tons of fun! (For those with perverse sensibilities), July 30, 2013
by Cody Gaisser (Inglewood, East Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, Known Universe, ???)
This is a brief, but disturbing, Lovecraft pastiche. There are a couple of spots of weak implementation, but the solutions aren't too difficult to figure out (and walkthroughs exist). If a grotesque Lovecraftian hallucination sounds like your sort of interactive fiction, then not only should you play this immediately, but it's also probably worth taking the time to save your progress regularly and see what happens to the protagonist when you make him make bad decisions.

Other great Lovecraftian IF:
The King of Shreds and Patches

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Hey Ho, Let's Go, January 18, 2013
by N
Ecdysis actually has the honour of being my first IF I've ever played.
So let's get all the bad stuff out first.
The games is short. Too short and too narrow, it doesn't have a lot of choices, so the player can't help but to feel a little caged in the game, although we can count that as a plus. The style used in the writing is far for good, but it's not a lot too, so I don't want to come as so judgemental. It would have been nicer if the prologue was a little bigger, so the player can immerse himself a little more before the weird kicks in.
This said, I gave the game a 4 star rating.
Mostly because of the verb "remember". When I clicked that I can use it, it's introduction seemed really subtle and nice and I like the direction I took things, since it was a nice vehicle to explore more of the game's world.
Although I said that the writing was far from bad I can still give it some credit as being just off enough to be able to set the tone just about right. It's really a shame that the game is this short. Just a couple of more scenes and the story would've been much better.

Thanks for the trip!

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Horrors great and small., December 16, 2012
by Wade Clarke (Sydney, Australia)
Related reviews: horror, Lovecraft, TADS
Ecdysis is one of the English language entries making up the HP Lovecraft Commonplace Book project of 2007, and in spite of its brevity – or maybe because of its brevity in league with its quality – it's probably the best of them. It is based on the following jotting from Lovecraft's book, which I wouldn't actually read if you want to approach the game in a pure state: (Spoiler - click to show)Idea #221: “Insects or other entities from space attack and penetrate a man’s head and cause him to remember alien and exotic things–possible displacement of personality.”

The great idiosyncrasy of Lovecraft's writing and subject matter are capable of indirectly prompting degrees of weariness from IF players, who cannot help but wonder why so many IF horror games choose to follow in the footsteps of one writer. Yet there is still a great variety of stances the authors of these games can choose from when adopting an approach to the material. What is strong about Ecdysis is that it manages to draw both extremes of the scale of Lovecraft's material together into a short game; the epic, cosmic end involving interplanetary concepts and great, smiting alien beings older and more powerful than humankind can comprehend, and the claustrophobic, imminent end involving monsters and putrefaction in the here and now.

Ecdysis is linear and uncomplicated, but the PC is driven in his actions, which tends to be the thing that makes linear games work as interactive pieces. When there are few actions you can take but they happen to be the ones you'll really want to take, it can draw attention away from the absence of a range of alternate choices and help keep the game out of "Why wasn't this written as a short story?" territory.

This is one of those games where to say more would be to spoil the effect, so I won't.

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Evidence as to Man's Place. . ., July 20, 2010
If you look up "ecdysis" in the OED, which I hope that most people would, you may notice the following illustrative quotation from Thomas Huxley's Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature: "A skin of some dimension was cast [by ‘the human larva’] in the 16th century..a new ecdysis seems imminent."

Lovecraftian IF is an important genre. The Lurking Horror, which I played on an Amiga, was (I think) the first IF to introduce sound, but it was more of a whimsical game than a creepy one. (The chanting I seem to remember as rather disturbing, come to think of it.) Anchorhead is the perhaps most well-known contemporary IF in the genre, though I haven't yet played The King of Shreds and Patches. All of those games, If I remember correctly, involve gradual discovery of the unspeakable horrors. Research puzzles, in other words, which are pretty much the best puzzles ever, but which do not, in my estimation, lend themselves well to a sensation of terror. A pleasant sensation of being able to add a useful or piquant footnote to an ongoing treatise, sure. But not cosmic horror.

Ecdysis, however, reminds me a bit of Thomas Ligotti. The "twist," such as it is, barely warrants the name; but that does not diminish what I would call if I were attempting to be particularly pretentious the "holometabolic uncanny" of the work. I would like to solicit psychoanalytic interpretations from all the major schools. Another, passing criticism, is that the eusocial nature of the insect-becoming could have been more strongly emphasized.

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
One-trick-pony with a very good trick, May 24, 2010
by Nusco (Bologna, Italy)
Related reviews: lovecraftian horror, short, mature
Ecdysis is underimplemented, extremely short and linear, heavy on directing the player and very limited in scope. However, it makes up for all of its shortcomings by being a very disturbing small piece of IF - even more disturbing than Lovecraft's average work. Not for the squeamish.

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