This post is part of an ongoing project to bring more voices to the IF Comp conversation. I have been reaching out to players and authors who aren’t part of the intfiction community, and also to some veteran intfiction denizens who might not have time to cover the whole comp but who are likely to have especially useful feedback in particular areas.
This time, Lucian Smith talks about his take on the Italian vampire puzzler Darkiss.
The 21st annual Interactive Fiction Competition is currently on, through mid-November. Voting is open to the general public; the only prerequisite is that you not be an author, not vote on games that you tested, and submit votes on at least five games. (You emphatically do not have to have played them all!)
If you are looking for other reviews, this ifwiki page contains a list of places currently carrying them.
Darkiss Chapter 1 is a puzzly parser game in which you are a vampire. You’ve partially recovered after an attack of vengeful villagers, but your strength is still low, and you need to gather your possessions and regain your powers before you move on. The puzzles are mostly of a fairly straightforward and traditional kind, though there were one or two outliers. I played through the game with occasional recourse to hints over the course of about an hour.