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A Calling of Dogs

by Arabella Collins

2020

(based on 7 ratings)
4 member reviews

About the Story

You don't know where you are, or how you got here, but you do know you've been kidnapped. Trapped in a cage, running out of options. What will you do?

Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2020
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: Ink
IFID: Unknown
TUID: to4jlgxhov4a5yhn

Awards

Entrant - 26th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2020)

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Member Reviews

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4 star:
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3 star:
(4)
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Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A visceral experience, October 8, 2020
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)
I suspect that this piece could be retraumatizing for some, so please note that this is an uncensored portrayal of violence, both emotional and physical.

I have to admit that when I first loaded up this story I was convinced I was going to hate it, and it didn't help that there's a few glaring spelling mistakes in the first few minutes. The prose was also jarring at first, not so much because of the profanity (apropos of the situation), but because of the often aggressively stilted manner in which the victim's thoughts are voiced. Punctuation is also inconsistent, with missing periods (sometimes) and random capitalization or lack thereof; intentional or not, it helped elicit the raw emotions the authors were trying to convey.

Beyond the words themselves, I'm impressed with how well I was drawn into this character and being in the moment with her. While I've never been kidnapped, I have been held at gunpoint, and reading this brought back a loud whisper of the terror I felt that day. The pacing is effective and the choices feel raw and honest.

One more comment on the game structure below the spoiler:

(Spoiler - click to show)I am quite grateful that the only possible endings appear to be positive (relatively speaking). I don't think I could have coped otherwise.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Didn't like it at first, then got into the suspense, but the ending disappointed, November 19, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: Less than 30 minutes
So I think I'm coming to learn something about myself: I don't like IF that starts in media res if, whether through flashbacks or clues in the writing, you are never given enough context to help anchor you to the story. I don't need long, detailed backstories, but I need something to help ground me. I don't feel like I got that in this piece. Eventually, the pure atmosphere of it did hook me a bit, but I feel it could have been much better.

You play a girl, kidnapped and imprisoned in a large dog cage. Your choices are largely how you decide to interact with your kidnapper as you attempt to plan an escape. This isn't my favorite kind of environment to be thrown in to, so the lack of any information about who these people were really left me confused and disconnected to the story. Eventually, just the sheer tension of the situations did grab me and made me eager to see what the next turn would be. However, the ending (at least the one I got) was (Spoiler - click to show)so abrupt and out-of-the-blue, with no denouement, that I felt cheated out of a satisfying resolution to all that tension. I needed more.

Your mileage may vary.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A darker place, December 2, 2020
by AKheon (Finland)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2020, choice-based, Ink, horror
A Calling of Dogs is a choice-based horror / thriller by Arabella Collins, published in 2020. In it, youíre a woman who is being held captive in a cage. Interacting with your kidnapper and (Spoiler - click to show)thinking about how to escape or gruesomely murder him make up most of your choices inside the game.

The tone of the game is intense and unpleasant. The slightly rambly and at times very graphic writing creates an impression of a feverish thought process where itís mainly hatred that keeps one sane. I thought the characterization of both the hero and the villain worked well - I was always interested in seeing what would happen next in the story.

The game has an ambiguous lack of polish. The writing has a lot of typos and odd turns of phrases, but that might be an intended part of the expression here to create that aforementioned feverish, raw feeling. However, I did find one softlock too, which is a bit harder to defend. (Spoiler - click to show)During day three, right after being let out of the cage, I examined one of the choices twice. This resulted in a dead end with no more choices appearing.

While the game is short - only around 15 minutes - it has some significant branching paths and therefore replay value, in case you want to relive this harrowing scene. Itís simply a potent experience, if you donít mind entering a darker place for a moment.

See All 4 Member Reviews

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This is version 3 of this page, edited by Zape on 8 October 2020 at 4:27pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item