Weird City Interloper

By C. E. J. Pacian. (Parser-based; IFDB)

Weird City Interloper is a short conversation-based romp through a fantastical city in the vein of Porpentine’s works – peopled with fascinating and fantastical characters.

For a game with no location descriptions to speak of, it was surprisingly atmospheric in its descriptions of the slums and the stenchworks, and spoke of a society more well thought-out than one might expect from such a short game. The hints of detail suggested a city like Miéville’s New Crobuzon: highly stratified, with each social strata having elaborate rituals and norms; and highly industrialised, with the cogs of machinery merging with the eldritch.

All we know of the NPCs are their replies in conversation, and Pacian makes full use of this by giving each character a distinct voice and take on common topics. The game also comes with a very friendly hint system, in the form of a streetwise city guide. It took a bit of a leap of logic to figure out how to progress, I must admit, but the logic in the rest of the story is consistent.

Weird City Interloper was similar to Walker and Silhouette or Castle of the Red Prince in its unusual navigation, and the game lives up to its description as being shallow but broad, and makes for short (less than an hour) but colourful play.

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