Violet

by Jeremy Freese.

Lightweight, silly but surprisingly detailed

You need to write your one thousand words. You need to write it NOW. But there’s so much to be distracted by! Fear not: with Violet, or at least your imaginary manifestation of her, you will overcome! Somehow.
The conversational style of writing is everywhere, even in the hints system, evidence of the thought put into this game. This game is rich in detail, as many objects are implemented and re-examining things often produces a fresh tidbit. Violet is technically well written too, providing commands such as “FIX” to save the player the hassle of figuring out how to break down complex actions into parser-approved commands.
This game should strike a chord with most, with its tongue-in-cheek treatment of procrastination and the things we do to fend it off.

Indigo

By Emily Short

Having finally finished this (with some hints from a friend), I am now fully equipped to write my impressions of this game.

This game is one in the series of Emily Short’s games based on fairy tales (the others including Bronze and Glass). In this game, you are Rapunzel, or some version of her, and you are attempting to get out of your tower. There is a in-game device key to progressing in the plot, which is broadly hinted at using textual clues. Once you figure that out, the puzzles should all be fairly straightforward; I took about twenty minutes on Indigo. There is really little I can say without spoiling it. What I can say, however, is read everything carefully, including and especially the introduction.

There is, however, a very very intriguing epilogue which hints to the backstory of the PC which still has me scratching my head.

Tapestry

by Daniel Ravipinto.

You are Timothy Hunter and you have just died. But there seems to have been some kind of mix-up, for you are given three second chances. Three chances to act differently at three moral dilemmas in your otherwise ordinary life. What will you do with these chances?

This game is heavily story-driven, as each stage serves to advance the plot and to flesh out the kind of person the PC is. It also promises three mutually exclusive paths, which greatly increases the subtlety of the game. In this playthrough I only managed to find one of the paths.

I found the scenarios posed to be thought-provoking and they made me pause in genuine consideration. These same scenarios also gave the game much of its poignancy.

One major grouse that I had was that the ‘wise words’ of the guardian-figures in the game tended towards a moralistic, preaching tone, which makes Tapestry less than elegant. It sometimes helps to underscore the theme of redemption, but the overall effect did not always serve that purpose, which is a shame. There was a lot of extra ‘special effects’ as well, which I thought were not strictly necessary.

Nevertheless, this game is overall well-written and will tug at your heart-strings.

My father’s long long legs

by Michael Lutz. Playable here: http://correlatedcontents.com/misc/Father.html

my father's long, long legs | michael lutz

When you were young, your father started digging in the basement. His explanations for this were always flippant and you knew he couldn’t be telling the truth.

Now you and your brother have grown up and as far as you know your father is still digging in the basement.

There’s only one way to find out…

The greatest strength of this Twine creation is the pacing and the growing sense of dread and creepiness often associated with Edgar Allen Poe or that great master H. P. Lovecraft.

The visual aspect of this game adds as much to the gameplay experience as much as the text, as the author uses several visual effects which enhances the atmosphere of the game. Hence, credit must go to the Twine storytelling platform, as the writing itself does not fully inspire fear.

There is, however, little interactivity per se, as the storyline is completely linear, apart from a twisty bit near the end. Play if you like atmospheric, creepy games which will make you turn up the lights.

Beet the Devil

By Caroline VanEseltine.

Smoke and divots and scorching and stinky brimstone – there’s only one thing this could mean.

There has been demons in your garden.

So begins this tale of a God-fearing parish worker whose dog has disappeared. Armed with a motley crew of, uh, vegetables and one puppy, he ventures deep into the depths of Hell. He has to battle various trials and tribulations to get his dog back.

While the premise of the game is rather linear, the puzzles are all fairly straightforward and stand alone. In case you don’t get it, location-based walkthroughs are also available. Some of the puzzles require a small amount of lateral thinking and most will make you smile and go, “Oh, right!”. Although it is possible to die in the middle of the game, abundant contextual hints are provided and it is always possible to undo the mistake. Special mention should go to the endgame, which is brilliant when you realise what the answer was.

There is also some characterisation near the endgame, which provides some background to an otherwise colourless PC and pathos to an otherwise light game. Of course, if you wanted to go deeper, we could talk about how this game reflects human nature and about temptation and the role of the morally upright hero, but the conversational tone of the game makes that rather out of place. The way it stuck closely to its theme throughout, even in the hint system, gave it a sense of continuity.

In short, a technically well-constructed game suitable for an entertaining afternoon.