By Caleb Wilson (as Ayla Rose) (Parser; IFDB)
(Cover art: pale green, cabbage-like representation of the damage caused by a weevil)
Klara has fallen asleep in her parents’ charmed garden – no, not asleep – but catatonic. This is surely the work of an enemy sorcerer! As one of the dolls enchanted to guard and protect Klara, it is your duty to find you what’s wrong and reverse it.
Starry Seeksorrow is delightfully charming in its writing – the flora featured are given descriptive, sometimes whimsical names linked to their function (reminding me of Caelyn Sandel’s Seeds and Solutions). Yet, there’s a sinister overtone: a good number of the plants you encounter are harmful. I would have loved to explore the flowers’ abilities further, and explored the different ways they could be used, but that is likely beyond the remit of this game.
The puzzles in Starry Seeksorrow are well-hinted, with the systems behind the puzzles behaving consistently. But the memories that the PC carries add a much greater emotional depth to the story, fleshing the story out to something that could be placed in a wider fictional world, as well as shaping the setting as a result of its creators’ personalities and pasts, instead of being merely ‘magical cute garden’.
Starry Seeksorrow doesn’t play with the parser as much as in Wilson’s other works (I’m thinking of The Northnorth Passage (IFDB) and Lime Ergot (IFDB), specifically), but it’s nonetheless a great piece of writing.