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Night Guard / Morning Star

by Astrid Dalmady


Web Site

(based on 13 ratings)
3 member reviews

About the Story

My mother made a deal.

So here I am, working the night shift, alone with her work.

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: Twine
IFID: D674C58C-DEFA-4F70-B7A2-27742230C0FC
TUID: h6jpja7b22x6bvk5


Nominee - The mother, Best Individual NPC; Nominee - Leonora, Best Individual PC - 2019 XYZZY Awards

7th Place - 25th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2019)


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Member Reviews

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Number of Reviews: 3
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Slices of life from different pies you have to eat together, December 3, 2019
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)
A beautiful Twine game by veteran Astrid Dalmady, this nevertheless left me a bit cold. It’s funny how an art exhibition is practically an IF trope, and it was ripe for the Twine treatment. And while the use of medium is top notch, my feelings are mixed on the story. The prose is certainly evocative, though a bit melodramatic for my tastes and to the point where I find myself not sympathizing with our protagonist.

I quite enjoyed the first ending I came across where (Spoiler - click to show)Leonara becomes the artist, enough to try the game again. However, each ending I came across was less satisfying and made the story feel broken (I mean, really, (Spoiler - click to show)killing my mom is an option?). I enjoy multiple endings in a comedy or adventure game; but in a serious dramatic piece, I say tell the story you want to tell. Being able to change the PC’s morals on a whim feels gross when the stakes are this high.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A mother/daughter relationship told through paintings and pain, October 4, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
I'll admit, I'm a big Astrid Dalmady fan. From her earliest games like You Are Standing at a Crossroads, I've found her writing comforting and cathartic.

So this game, I ate it up. It's not big on traditional interactivity. You just explore everything, then move on to the next step (on the surface, at least. In truth, the game tracks state and has many endings, but it doesn't appear like it).

What I like about it is the story. The label I'd like to apply is 'magical realism', although that's a subject I'm not an expert in, so I might be using it wrong. A day to day story with fantastic elements brought in that are treated matter-of-factly, for the most part.

What happens is you are the night guard for your mother's paintings, and (Spoiler - click to show)they begin to come to life. You must gather items for a ritual to summon back a lost painting.

You have options. Some choices cause you pain, and others cause you sadness. There are many endings.

Overall, I found it almost like a cleansing for the mind. The deep discussion of the mother-daughter relationship helped me think about my own relationships, and the ritualistic structure was like a form of meditation.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A very solid effort, November 19, 2019
I love classic surrealist painting. Women surrealist painters (other than Kahlo) don’t get the credit they deserve: introductory books, or articles, or classes seldom mention artists like Leonor Fini, Dorothea Tanning, Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, Kay Sage. I love them, more than most of their male peers (certainly more than damn Avida Dollars).

Describing paintings of that kind in text is quite difficult. The intensity of the images’ presence is impossible to transmit. Sometimes, however, a hint of the picture’s imagination can be suggested. I would surely like to take a look at most of the paintings in Night guard/Morning Star.

Let this detail be a significant example of how well this game is written.

The other vital thing that the game does very well is something that was very well done in Cactus Blue Motel: giving the player a lot of freedom through movement and exploration, and at the same time make it dramatically relevant. Exploration that is not about reading room descriptions but about choosing nightmares.

I have only one problem with this story. I’ve tried getting different endings and, while they are quite different, I’m not really sure where the forking points are, or the connection between the decision taken and the ending itself.

The game, finally, is very well designed, readable and beautiful.

An excellent story!

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Recommended Lists

Night Guard / Morning Star 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...


The following polls include votes for Night Guard / Morning Star:

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Individual PCs of 2019 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2019 which you think might be worth considering for Best Individual PC in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination.This is not an official list. The point of poll is partly to...

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Individual NPCs of 2019 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2019 which you think might be worth considering for Best Individual NPC in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination.This is not an official list. The point of poll is partly to...


This is version 3 of this page, edited by Zape on 27 July 2020 at 3:49pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item