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About the StoryIn this castle, you'll eat or be eaten.
May contain dairy, carnage, puzzles, nuts.
Nominee, Best Game; Winner, Best Writing; Nominee, Best Setting; Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best NPCs; Nominee - Milking the cow, Best Individual Puzzle; Nominee - The narrator, Best Individual NPC; Winner, Best Implementation - 2017 XYZZY Awards
Kerronta sinänsä oli nautittavaa ylitsepursuavuudessaan ja kieroutuneessa huvittavuudessaan. Grooverin tyyli on tunnistettava, samoin teoksen asetelma. Hänen tarinansa sijoittuvat renessanssi- tai barokkimaiseen fantasiamaailmaan, joka on kauhistuttava mutta harmiton samaan aikaan. Eat Messä lukijaa puhutellaan lapsena ja tarina on kuin interaktiivinen iltasatu.
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Eat Me overflows with scrumptious, scrumptious text. It is beautifully written, maximalist, and absolutely, 100% manages to put the player in the mind of the gluttonous protagonist. The descriptions of the things the protagonist eats were almost physically tangible in my stomach. The game made me hungry.
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The dirty little thrill of adventure games is to act as a spoiler, to walk into an environment and tear it apart as you pick up everything not nailed down and break everything standing in your way. Eat Me gives that pattern a perfect thematic resonance with its surreal plot and setting; you're here to devour this world, and the solution to every puzzle is a matter of what (or who) to swallow when.
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Number of Reviews: 8
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
I often have hard time relating to the games by Chandler Groover with their aesthetics of abhorrent, but this one turned to be not as revolting as I initially expected. The puzzles were satisfying, the images vivid; the game is cruel (I think it should be the first one to boast both "child protagonist" and "evil protagonist" tags at IFDB at once), but not particularly repulsive to my taste - mainly because of two reasons:
1. A strong fairy-tale atmosphere that smoothes everything, gives an unreal, dream-like feeling (and excellently fits in with the game mechanics, as many classic children's tales are obsessed with food - Hansel and Gretel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, etc.).
2. Many food descriptions were pleasant and genuinely appetizing (e.g. cheeses in the armory).
All in all, not a "don't play it while eating" kind of game.
ADDENDUM: I did indeed play this game again more than a year after my initial playthrough and my appreciation for it has grown. I imagine it will be on my ballot for the Top 50 IF Games Of All Time for a very long time.
On the writing: I have played many well-written games, but this is the first one I replayed primarily so I could read it again. Additionally, this game has the most effective writing I've seen used in service of the traditional exploration-and-puzzles format. It guides and instructs. It tempts and discourages. It acts as both feedback and reward. The imagery and characterization are sensuous and vivid. The writing in this game is highly suggestive, in all senses of the word, and it performs all of these tricks simultaneously without ever sacrificing the mood or being too obviously symbolic. Granted, none of the tricks Eat Me uses are new--some of them are Text Adventure Narration 101--but I haven't played any other game that balances the text and the mechanics so perfectly while operating on so many levels. It is, in a word, harmonious. Every sentence has punch, not a single word feels wasted, and the game is a joy to read and interact with.
It helps, of course, that the game is so focused and small. In fact, if there's one major criticism to be made, it's that neither the puzzles nor the story are terribly complex. I forgive Eat Me in this regard for three reasons: one, it's framed as a fairy tale, and those traditionally don't have terribly complex stories either. Two, there's a lot of optional depth to explore (again: temptation, and complicity once the player starts digging). And three, Groover packs in a variety of escalating surprises as the main events unfold. Even if you guess what's going to happen next, there's probably another layer to reflect on, an alternative that you missed, or at least an amused sense of "okay, well, I didn't expect things to go quite THAT far" afterward.
In the end, Eat Me works better as a simulation than as a captivating tale. It's a slice of Wonderland, a little model of a creepy fantasy world that you can inhabit and play around in for a while, rather than a satisfying story proper. But few games do it better or with more style.
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