Another IF Comp review, following my format for this comp. There is a cut, then any spoiler-free comments I have, and then spoiler space, and then more detailed feedback that assumes the reader has tried the game.
But first, we have some obligatory filler to try to make sure that the RSS summary does not accidentally contain any review. Filler, filler, la la la…
Okay. Here we go.
This is pretty terrific: a one-room puzzle game but with more than the usual amount of personality. The game plays effectively with the distinction between the protagonist and the narrator, and creates a sense of actively engaging with the narrator as another character, even though she’s never actually in the room. (If that sounds confusing, in practice it works just fine.) The puzzles are reasonably fair, though I didn’t get all of them myself; however, there are excellent built-in contextual hints, so it’s hard to get truly stuck. Implementation is also first rate. There are many many silly actions accounted for. And how not to like a game where one of the suggested commands is HETERONORMATIVITY OFF?
Several things about this worked for me emotionally. One, the situation of Needing to Finish the Damn Dissertation is one I can sympathize with, though fortunately in my case I did, in fact, finish. But going back to those days, even in exaggerated comic form, produced uncanny feelings of stress.
It was also effectively painful, having to smash all of Violet’s gifts one after another — especially the snowglobe. Geez. Life is so unfair.
Anyway, a really nice piece of work, which manages to be at once fairly traditional in format and fairly surprising in effect.
And I like the cover art.