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Valand

by Ann Hoffmann

Fantasy
2019

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Number of Reviews: 2
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A good start, December 2, 2019
I think this game is called Valand? Now that Iíve checked again, the cover art calls it ďThe Island,Ē and I thought of it as ďThe IslandĒ the whole time I played, so Iím very confused. It had a bit of the island from ABCís Lost, and the host with questionable intentions recalled Thief of Always for me. It takes place in a world with witches, mermaids, tigers, and island inhabitants who all have their own motivations.

I had some trouble retaining the right perspective while reading through the story. The text makes some observations that frame the narrative from the perspective of a ten-year-old, but at other times, it draws conclusions that seem a more advanced.

This story has given itself an ambitious task. If youíre going to show an illusion that unravels, you need to effectively sell that illusion before poking holes in it. Thatís twice as much work! I appreciated that the author kept things moving, but it meant that I never got invested in either the magical illusion or its unraveling.

Interactively, this game could have used more time in development. The intent was certainly there, allowing you to investigate different aspects of the environment and make different decisions. (Spoiler - click to show)If you choose the option to spend the day with Emily, you learn how to use magic. If you spend the day with Corbin, you donít learn magic. If itís time to build the raft and you spent your time with Corbin, youíre suddenly using your magical abilities to create an escape route like itís no big deal. That was jarring. I found three different endings.

I liked this story, but it could have benefitted from more work.