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About the StoryIsle of Aeaea, the eastern Aegean. 3,500 years ago. In the northern wastes, the Achaeans have a new and warlike chieftain. Palace after palace is falling to his armies. On the shores of Crete, the Minoan civilisation awaits at the eve of extinction. At her sanctuary of Aeaea, the cunning Circe struggles to coordinate a political counteroffensive... And somewhere in the sticks, a young Minoan priestess named Ariadne wakes up to a hangover of mythological proportions.
Nominee, Best Setting - 2016 XYZZY Awards
12th Place - 22nd Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2016)
The Breakfast Review
Suffice it to say that the game proceeds with heavy doses of piquant humour. Ariadne is a naughty, naughty girl, and completely unapologetic about herself. She doesn't quite fit in with the priestesses or the system of advancement, but she's far from being a loser: she has too few regrets, and as far as she's concerned, she has yet to actually fail at getting what she wants. The attitude comes through in the writing, and it was fun to walk around for a bit in her sandals.
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A mid-length puzzly parser game, Ariadne in Aeaea appears to take some of the feedback the author’s previous game received to heart.[...] Ariadne has a strong sense of forward momentum, of wanting to find out the next big secret, and–other than the puzzle in the middle–was fairly good at delivering on that momentum. Recommended.
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Ariadne is the player character. She’s supposed to be training as a priestess with Circe, the better to serve her family’s interests, but with the license that royalty affords, she spends her time carousing with local goatherds instead. This leads to serendipitously discovering evidence of Achaean spies on Aeaea’s shores, resulting in a secret mission to learn more, and it’s kind of cool how that happens.
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Lab of Jizaboz
This is a parser-driven game written in Inform7. It's a pretty amusing story, but none of the humor made me laugh out loud. I was hoping the topless ceremonial lady in the cover art was somehow depicted in the game, and she was! Old auntie. Nice.
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Reiko's Ramblings and Writings
The broad strokes of the relevant history have been researched and clearly presented, although the author admits that a network of priestess-spies isn’t at all supported by the historical record. Still, the historical record is rather thin for that time period, so it’s not completely out of the question, either. The specific island setting is itself fictional as well. The character’s voice is very strong here, if rather too modern-sounding. The prose is colorful and descriptive.
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
There are a few typos in there, and some other minor issues (for example, at one point you're told that you converse with a character while you walk to another location, but you don't actually leave the location that you are in), but nothing too egregious to distract from the overall experience.
The dialogue is excellent; you quickly get a handle on each of the characters, their relationships, and their motivations. You're also given a good sense of your own character early on (this is not a faceless/nameless adventurer you're controlling here). This all helps in making the game feel purposeful.
Puzzles are pretty straightforward: Talk to this person, find this item here, show it to this other person, etc. But they're not the focus here, and they're still enjoyable.
Maybe some of the descriptions are a bit hand-holdy in terms of guiding the player; I think having other characters tell you what they need or having your own character express goals is great, but having descriptions say pretty much what to do next seems like hand-of-the-creator reaching down and pointing something out. I think some of them were one step more explicit than they needed to be. But some players, I'm sure, will appreciate that.
The writing is the star here. The world, the setting, the characters: all are very well sketched out, and just exploring this small world was really enjoyable.
A few things could stand to be improved. You have to advance conversations by 'talking to' people repeatedly, clunkier than just pushing space to advance--since the conversations are linear anyway, why make us advance them with the parser? The hint system has some strengths--it's neatly integrated into the story, with Ariadne talking to herself in order to straighten out what she needs to do next--but a few glaring weaknesses too. Sometimes when TALKing TO ME I got Ariadne musing that she needed to do things she'd already done, or things she shouldn't know to do yet. (Most egregiously, she wanted to interrogate 'the boy', but the only evident boy couldn't be interrogated--as it turned out, 'the boy' was another boy she hadn't even met yet.)
Overall, the game is a solidly implemented and fairly quick play that runs to the easier end of the puzzle spectrum, with an appealingly debauched heroine and an original setting. Contrast this one with 2015's One Night Stand--both feature a young woman protagonist who begins the game by waking up with a hangover after a night of casual sex, but there's a big difference in how they're treated. Ariadne is judged by some of the other characters, but not by the game, or by herself--you don't get the impression she's going to lose any sleep over not knowing these random goatherds' names. She's got shit to do.
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