SABBAT

By oh no problems/Eva. (Twine; IFDB; play here)

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(Cover art: ink/line drawing of a creature with four goat heads and the body of a snake)

(There is also a commercial/paid version of SABBAT with art and a soundtrack. This was based on the free version, linked above.)

[Warning: this game contains mentions of sexual content and self-harm, also optional animal abuse.]

It’s hard to have a sabbat of one, but hopefully, once you get all the materials together, you’ll be able to gather power for yourself.

SABBAT’s narrator is friendly and encouraging. It was kind of like having a friend to guide and cheer you on, and in a game about making blood sacrifices to gain power, it was unexpected, but oddly cheering. I cannot hate a game which calls me witchdumpling. The mildly cynical humour here is refreshing. Instead of making trite remarks about how awful everything is, the humours slants toward the self-referential. You’ve made candles infused with centipede venom, and you muse how hard it was to get that venom in the first place and why did you buy a centipede again?

This game is quite the genre-breaker. It taps on the ‘Living Alone in My Sad Apartment’ genre, but uses this to highlight the contrast between your current state and the power that you eventually attain.

SABBAT draws from, amongst other things, the idea of power through sex. Part of the PC’s transformation involves a change in sexual organs, and one of the ways the transformed PC gets power from people is by having sex (or at least attempting to).

The game could be a bit of a mixed bag. The subject matter involves mixing with unknown forces, a theme usually given a more serious treatment in other fiction, but here it feels almost everyday. Yet the game remains self-aware as the PC acknowledges the strangeness of it all.

The branching reminded me of Magical Makeover, where combinations of items combine to produce different outcomes. Like MM, there are no ‘bad’ combinations in SABBAT (though there are some which are more amusing than others).

I wouldn’t usually have plumped for the storyline, but the narrator really made the game for me. It can be polarising, but, for me, it was a charming game about the powerless seeking power and the lonely seeking companionship.

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One thought on “SABBAT

  1. heartless zombie

    Thanks for this review. It shows me the work in a new light. Get naked and smear blood on yourself – it sounds like a tasteless witch fantasy and I tend to dismiss it. It’s tempting to dump it in the box gross horror. If you would care to elaborate, why do you think the work is polarising?

    BTW Have you seen http://storycade.com/visual-novel-junipers-knot/ haunting story surpassingly gentle.

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