by Chikodili Emelumadu (play here)
Women come to her when their husbands stray. She accepts not crude cash, but things of beauty. She will fix them- for as long as they live.
Content warning: this game has sexual themes – it’s not erotic, but it’s not wholly implicit either.
The Fixer is linear, but I really enjoyed playing through it – it reminded me of Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor, in its portrayal of everyday mysticism. The beginning scene is reminiscent of noir mysteries – clients come to visit the jaded detective with an intractable problem and offer payment – and indeed the rough outline of the story follows that of a detective story, with the ‘detective’ main character formulating a plan, meeting the perpetrator, and finally fulfilling the contract made with the client. How she does it, though, is vastly, vastly different.
Emelumadu paints a city where spirits and humans mingle; where believing in mysticism is common sense and practicality. She merges the absurd with the filthy; the beautiful with the pragmatic. This quote for example:
A toothpick bobs about in his mouth. His lips are as thick and dark as a roll of roasted tripe.
Emelumadu’s writing is rich with local flavour, from the descriptions of food to the terms of address for different characters to each other, and beautifully detailed, even when she goes into sordid detail of a certain character. Her writing moves from being initially subtle – hinting at the narrator’s identity – to exulting in the narrator’s strange abilities.
The Fixer also uses graphics throughout the story, though I didn’t listen to the audio, and the story art is gorgeous and unobtrusive. A delight to read.