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About the StoryTeam up with a dashing detective and an iconoclastic flapper to solve absurd and unfathomable crimes in this interactive story - where you control the action just by typing or clicking highlighted words in the text.
Walker & Silhouette uses a similar keyword system to Blue Lacuna, and experiments with applying it to various forms of interaction: talk, investigate, solve puzzles and fight villains... using only single word commands.
Nominee, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Individual PC - 2009 XYZZY Awards
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Click any keyword
Add to that a light romance and a theme about promoting gender equality, and you have a distinctively Pacian-esque piece. It's fun, adventurous, and not too hard; it feels like enjoyable fluff while you're playing, but after you're done you may find it leaves more of an impression than you expected.
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Number of Reviews: 5
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Because the basic style being drawn on is an episodic one - a Sherlock Holmes short story, an Avengers episode - the game feels very short. Character development doesn't really get very far beyond introduction, for instance.
Not as theoretically exciting as Gun Mute -- the setting's more conventionally handled and the interaction gimmick is less striking -- but a solid and enjoyable piece of work.
But I cannot talk about this game without mentioning the unusual parsing system: it consists in one-word commands, such as "door" or "corpse". I understand that it's been a parsing system that's quite new and interests people since Blue Lacuna; the attempt to make a whole game not only using this system, but revolving around it, is quite bold! However, I must admit that I need more than what this game shows to be totally convinced by this system. It may be easier for some readers to click on words to interact with them, but it seems to me that it's reducing interactivity and a sense of freedom. Actually, in this game, you can also interact with words that aren't underlined, a fact I liked when I discovered it because I felt that freedom wasn't so much reduced after all. But on the other side, you can make the character perform actions you'd never thought of, and thus you can win the game relying on a "lawnmowering strategy" and without understanding the story: I find this fact not very satisfactory (at least in a normal game you have to figure out the verb, and so you have to deduce first what you have to do). (Actually, it's a little bit the same reproach as the one with the ">TALK TO X" conversation system, because in a way both systems are similar) For instance in this game, (Spoiler - click to show)you have to deduce from the clues in the deceased's room the way he was killed: I had no idea, and just typed "explain" several times because the word was underlined, and the character ended up saying "it was a giant octopus on wheels", altough I was very far from deducing such a thing! (but let's face it, it's hard to create a puzzle in which you have to make the player guess that it was a giant octopus on wheels). To avoid such a "lawnmowering effect", maybe that puzzles that require a series of actions in a precise (and logical) order can be a part of the solution, because it's more difficult than finding the only action that would make the story go further, and I think it encourages the player to figure out what he has to do and how first. (just an idea)
To sum up about this system, I'm not convinced that it's bringing something more or something different to the game; actually it makes it easier, substracting the need to understand what you're doing and why to solve a puzzle or to advance in the story. But I'm not formally opposed to it, and I hope other games in the future will go further enough in the use of this system to show me new and interesting things that the system can bring: but to me "Walker & Silhouette" fails to bring those elements (it's easily forgivable though, because the system is quite new and unexplored).
In conclusion, while I'm not very fond of the parsing system, I found the game very enjoyable. And I'm starting to think more and more that, judging by the quality of every of his games, C.E.J. Pacian will soon become a major author.
In this game, Walker is an inhumanly smart crippled police detective specialized in solving freaky mysteries by sheer force of logic. His counterpart Silhouette is a passionate anarco-feminist bad girl with a big hearth. Together, they solve a case involving as much steampunk staples, English understatement and freaky accidents as Pacian can cram in a one-hour game. Both characters border on gender bending, and their nuanced mutual attraction works very well to keep this short game together. I'm regularly bored by romance in games, but Pacian's unusual approach to the topic actually works for me. You can feel that the author really likes and respects his characters.
Like Gun Mute, this game experiments with restricted input: in this case, you move the game forward by typing keywords rather than relying on the usual (semi)-free form IF commands. Although limiting, this device works well for such a short game, smoothing out the experience and preventing you from getting stuck. Pacian even manages to build a couple of puzzles around this limited parser, which gives you the feeling you're actually playing a game, although very linear, rather than reading a short story. The result is a small polished game that doesn't last long enough for you to suspend disbelief and actually question its calculatedly naive absurdity.
Like other games from Pacian, this one feels like the author was smiling constantly as he wrote it. I also carried that smile throughout the experience.
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PollsThe following polls include votes for Walker & Silhouette:
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I'm looking for a list of games to try where the narrative is the focus of the game. Where the author is really trying to tell a story over making a puzzlefest (though puzzles aren't necessarily unwelcome, especially if they drive they...
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