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Winter Storm Draco

by Ryan Veeder profile


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Number of Reviews: 6
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1-6 of 6

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Short & sharp, September 1, 2018
by f-a
Short adventure which eloquently puts our hero in the middle of the elements.

Style is dry and at the same time expressive, puzzles are rewarding, can be played in one sitting (20 minutes).

Very nice production!

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A grimly playful exploration of a winter landscape, September 1, 2018
by verityvirtue (London)
Related reviews: melancholic
Winter Storm Draco is a moody traipse through an over-snowed path, but with some strange sights on the way.

Winter Storm Draco is a game that is well-suited to its format. It plays on one of the strengths of the parser format, by allowing the author to wrench control from the player at key moments - first in navigation, when even the compass directions so ubiquitous in parser games mean nothing; later, in the end-scene.

I relied on the walkthrough in several parts but mostly there were textual clues enough to let a reader canny with parser game conventions to proceed without too much difficulty.

It has the signature self-referential, dry wit that came through so markedly in Nautilisia, though Winter Storm Draco is a little more introspective, a little grimmer. Overall, enjoyable and atmospheric.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A Frosty Treat, March 24, 2018
I rarely--if ever--give something five stars, but this vignette is a work of art. As art, as an artistic expression of IF, it gets five stars. If I qualify further, I may have to give something away, so just try it and see for yourself.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A Surreal Trip to Veederland, December 16, 2016
by streever (America)
I loved this surreal little trip to Veederland. Winter Storm Draco has stuck; your job was to walk to the convenience store and pick up hot dogs, buns, and cheap wine for your roommates.

As a hearty New Englander, walking through a storm resonated with me, but of course, we can't buy wine at our convenience stores. That's a complaint about Connecticut, not about this wonderful work, which shares the same excellent sense of place that Veeder incorporates into his work.

Even though the game starts by getting you lost in a strip of woods between the highway and your neighborhood, it felt believable and real; I could easily draw a map of the area from memory alone.

One of the highlights of this work are the in-game clues. A slight bending of the 4th wall and a charming writing style lets Veeder directly suggest unusual actions and moves to the player, and it improves the overall work.

This piece has a mix of puzzles: a combat mini-game, a riddle, and a 'combine the items' puzzle. The variety makes it challenging, but all the puzzles are fair, logical, and obvious post-solution.

The ending is especially strong, and felt like a real-world experience, an important bit of grounding in an otherwise surreal piece.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Baffling (but in a good way), December 15, 2016
by TLeather (London, UK)
Winter Storm Draco is a perverse game. It defies the player to grasp what kind of game it is by constantly changing tack in both its gameplay and its story, beginning with exploration and a light puzzle, followed by combat, then an otherworldly dialogue before the much more worldly ending.

The narrator also delights in baffling expectations by occasionally breaking the fourth wall to remind the player that this is a game, mentioning the “author” and at one point explicitly referring to the combat as a “minigame”. Even the game’s subtitle seems to mislead: it’s billed as “an interactive documentary”, but it’s not what most people think of as a documentary. At the end of the game, if the player chooses to view a list of amusing commands, they’re scolded and told that “This interactive documentary is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to amuse.”

Why the game does this isn’t clear. Are the supernatural elements figments of the protagonist’s imagination? Are they hypothermia-induced hallucinations? Does breaking the fourth wall remind the player that what’s happening may not in fact be happening? There's no answer to these questions, but the fact that I was left wondering them at all tells me that the game captured my attention more than I had expected it to, given its short length and seemingly banal premise (the game begins with the player carrying hot dogs and wine home from the supermarket).

Remove the postmodern expectation-breaking, and the game is relatively straightforward. It’s atmospheric, it’s amusing, and it’s varied (you may not quite know what’s going on, but you won’t get bored of trying to work it out). On the other hand, there’s not much to it: there’s only one possible path, there’s very little to do or explore that’s not part of that path, the puzzles are light and not all that satisfying, and the story is interesting but not particularly moving.

The game is well worth playing - it’s short and intriguing - but you shouldn’t expect too much from it. In fact, try not to expect anything in particular: Winter Storm Draco likes nothing more than confounding expectations.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
An amusing journey through a massive winter storm, April 6, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes
This game begins with a fun text-effect introduction, teaching you about the background of Winter Storm Draco.

You then begin to try to get home from the grocery store to your house. You will encounter a striking variety of puzzles, including classic-style puzzles, combat, and conversation.

Overall, the writing is amusing (although the game clearly states that it is a serious documentary, and not intended to amuse).

This is a short parser game, and I strongly recommend it.

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