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Elixir

by Zoyander Street

2016

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1-3 of 3


- Peedeoo7 (North America), October 20, 2017

- E.K., July 23, 2017

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Go through hell to assume your true form., July 23, 2017
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: phlegmatic
You have gone an ocean of souls and crossed the underworld all for this: the Metaphysician. Only the Metaphysician can help you ascend to your true form.

The subject matter - identity - gives the story an added sharpness. The story Elixir tells is beyond just parlaying with demons and dealing with paperwork. The PC can only fulfil their true form with the approval of a Metaphysician - a third party who knows nothing about the PC - and this comes only if the PC's behaviour must jibe with the Metaphysician's seemingly arbitrary criteria. Why? The Metaphysician is the only distributor of the titular elixir. What real-life parallels this has is left as an exercise for the reader.

One notable aspect of this game is the use of Infernal, a conlang (constructed language) with its own grammar. Its Latin-like construction and its heavy Gothic font set the tone for the setting. This Hell is gothic, ornate, yet detached, its horrors hidden more in paperwork than in demons. Goat-headed, hornèd beasts hold no more terror than unnecessarily complicated bureaucracy.

The use of the conlang creates an asymmetry in the reader's and the PC's knowledge. When choosing how the PC responds to NPCs, the reader can only guess at the meaning of each of the choices. You can't choose the 'right' answer; you can't plan ahead; all this makes the Metaphysician's unsaid, inscrutable criteria for dispensing the elixir frustratingly unreachable.

Definitely an underrated game about creating identity and throwing off the shackles of the system. It's short, maybe insubstantial in scope and length, but glances off some very real present-day issues.


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