By Liz England (Twine; IFDB; play here)
(Screenshot of game)
Here’s a game set in another cyberpunkish, dystopian world, where biotechnology is so advanced that all you need to clone an organism – and indeed a human being – is a bit of their tissue and a special reagent. This is what you’ve resorted to, in an attempt to bring back your fiancée.
But nothing’s ever as easy as that, and you may not always get what you expected…
Her Pound of Flesh had a theme familiar to that in many of this year’s IFComp games, with the theme of sacrificing something to get your heart’s desire, yet ending up with less than you started with. Because the author establishes the PC’s motivations and dreams so well, the PC’s helplessness in the face of events taking a rather squicky turn evokes sympathy: it’s clear that thoughts about her are consuming the PC’s life, even to the point of appearing in the PC’s dreams.
No matter how far you run, you can’t seem to escape her.
Maybe you don’t want to.
“Today will be different,” you tell yourself.
The game progresses in ‘days’, with each day comprising about three to four choices. In dealing with her, there’s often the choice to treat her as the human you remember her to be, or as something… less. Each day reveals new and terrifying things about what she has become.
In some ways, Her Pound of Flesh wonders what the limit of humanity is. Is it worth it, to have the physical form but nothing else? But more than that, this game is a story about longing. Despite there being less and less of her humanity day by day, the PC keeps turning back to what reminds him of her: things like her scent and her hair.
Overall, it may involve quite a lot of body horror and gore, but ultimately this game is heartfelt… and tugs at the heartstrings. Read that how you will.
Her Pound of Flesh was made for Asylum Jam, which challenged game devs to create horror games unrelated to mental illness or mental asylums.