(OddComp) Seance - by quantumsheep

A forum where new and old games can be reviewed - an alternative to the reviews on the Adventures page of the main ADRIFT site. Also the place to ask for any assistance if you are stuck playing a particular game.
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alsnpk
Posts: 523
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Location: UK (was US)

Post by alsnpk »

Of course your review doesn't have to include all, or any, of questions, if you don't want it to. This is meant to serve as a basic template.

(Keep these restrictions in mind: The author had to pair up each one of these numbers: 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11, with one of these: rooms, objects, tasks, events, and characters, and have and use exactly the particular number of each that they chose for their game; no more, no less.)



1. What was your initial impression of the game, when you first opened it up, and how did the game compare?


2. How did the author do within the restrictions?


3. How were the puzzles and/or storyline?


4. What did you like best about the game?


5. What did you like least about the game, and how could this be fixed?


6. What stood out most to you from/about this game?


7. How did this game compare with the others in the competition and/or what set it apart?


Any other comments?
Released:
For competitions: Business As Usual; Oh, Human; Existence (intro); Motion
Shared names demo: "Guys, Guys"

Works in various stages of progress:
Y'know, things and stuff...
alsnpk
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2006 11:58 pm
Points: 10
Location: UK (was US)

Post by alsnpk »

1. What was your initial impression of the game, when you first opened it up, and how did the game compare?
I wasn't looking forward to a seance. It was okay.

2. How did the author do within the restrictions?
All right. It seemed a bit too short.

3. How were the puzzles and/or storyline?
I was pretty much told what to do, except at the very end. The ending was too sudden, but I thought it was interesting that either ending was acceptable to the player character. There was also a little twist I found interesting because it seemed mysterious since I, playing it, chose to react to the light immediately instead of waiting around. That meant that I didn't get the later messages about what happened with the candle. I think it was better that way- not explained- actually.

4. What did you like best about the game?
It was well-written.

5. What did you like least about the game, and how could this be fixed?
I had no way of knowing that I was supposed to answer a question at the very end. I had to look in the Generator to figure that out. This could be fixed by asking me a question so I'd know I was supposed to answer it instead of making me think I had to come up with the right subject to bring up.

6. What stood out most to you from/about this game?
The subject matter, and the atmosphere.

7. How did this game compare with the others in the competition and/or what set it apart?
The atmosphere of fear.

Any other comments?
It would be preferable to be able to use "n" and "s" instead of having to type out "north" and "south".




Edited By alsnpk on 1222670128
Released:
For competitions: Business As Usual; Oh, Human; Existence (intro); Motion
Shared names demo: "Guys, Guys"

Works in various stages of progress:
Y'know, things and stuff...
revgiblet
Posts: 444
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2006 10:11 pm
Location: Canowindra, NSW

Post by revgiblet »

SEANCE
----------

Is there anybody out there?

AWARD: The "Best Title Page" Award

Yep, another title screen with animation. I think I prefer this one to the Main Course title page, so this wins the coveted "Best Title Page" Award. Well done to the author, who is clearly another candidate for this year's "Best Newcomer". This competition has really brought them out of the woodwork.

This game has the player attempting to get in touch with his dead wife via the medium of...umm...a medium. I feel at this very early stage in the review I must make the point that, though I may be a Victorian gentleman, if a grotty French crone came into my home and suggested that we 'explore the bedroom that you and your wife shared' she would be feeling the toe of my boot on her hideous rear. How inappropriate!

Once I got over the fury of my offended sensibilities, I was able to settle down and enjoy another good effort from the author. The game was less puzzle-orientated than his other entry, and focused more on the linear progression of the story but that's not necessary a bad thing. In fact, this was another entry where the author had managed to fit two distinct endings into the plot. Also, there was no combat. Hooray!

A little bug that I (and others) spotted was the fact that the player is required to type 'north' or 'south' on the landing - 'n' or 's' will not do. I imagine that this can be easily fixed for any future release.

In the end, this is nothing more than a nice little story. There's no real plot twist or great reveal at the end. It's probably the game that veers most towards the 'charming' territory after A Witch Tale and if you've read my review of that game you'll note that I'm a reasonable fan of the charming.

So, the final question I'm going to answer is did I prefer Seance to Main Course? Well, Seance was clearly a more story-led game but, despite this obvious strike to my Achilles Heel, I think I preferred the humour and depth of Main Course. Seance felt as if it were the 'after-thought' of the two. But once again, I enjoyed playing this enough to see both endings and look forward to the author's next game.
"He who lives only to benefit himself confers on the world a benefit when he dies."

Tertullian

In Progress:- Watch This Space...
helgathehorrible
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Location: Australia

Post by helgathehorrible »

2. How did the author do within the restrictions?

Okay. It was a very short game but nice, if bittersweet. I thought maybe it would be a horror at the beginning but it didn't really end up that way.


3. How were the puzzles and/or storyline?
There weren't really that many puzzles; it was pretty linear. The storyline was sweet but nothing special.


4. What did you like best about the game?
It had a lot of emotion; the most out of all the games.


5. What did you like least about the game, and how could this be fixed?
There was nothing really I didn't like about the game, but nothing really stood out, either.


Any other comments?
With a seance, there was a lot of opportunity to create tension; this wasn't opportunity wasn't really taken advantage of.
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Lumin
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Post by Lumin »

1. What was your initial impression of the game, when you first opened it up, and how did the game compare?

"Ooh pretty title screen." :) Of course I thought that about a lot of the games, but this one was the best. If I learned anything from this comp, it's that presentation matters...a nice title screen can go a long way towards making a game look more polished and professional.

The intro/letter hooked me immediately and gave me a good idea of what to expect for the rest of the game.


2. How did the author do within the restrictions?

Pretty well; the only place it really showed was in the length of the game, which just seemed too short. I was impressed he was able to fit in two endings though.

3. How were the puzzles and/or storyline?

There weren't any real puzzles, but the writing was excellent. I would have enjoyed what was there even more as the setup to a longer story...if somewhere down the road quantumsheep decides to takes the intro and basic plot and turn it into a longer story, you can bet I won't complain.

4. What did you like best about the game?

Again, the writing. The author clearly has the whole 'atmosphere' thing down; the house, the Madame, and of course the Presence were all delightfully creepy.

5. What did you like least about the game, and how could this be fixed?

I've already mentioned about the length, but short of writing a new game without restrictions I suppose there's not much you can do about that.

There's that whole north/south thing, but it's already been mentioned by others and is easily fixable.

As much as I liked having alternate endings, like Abbi I thought it was a little odd to have them both be essentially happy after all the foreshadowing from both the Madame and the overall sense of dread in the atmosphere. Specifically I was bracing myself for the one that seemed too good to be true to actually be, well, too good to be true, and it was almost a let down when it turned out to be exactly what it seemed.
revgiblet
Posts: 444
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2006 10:11 pm
Location: Canowindra, NSW

Post by revgiblet »

Lumin wrote:As much as I liked having alternate endings, like Abbi I thought it was a little odd to have them both be essentially happy after all the foreshadowing from both the Madame and the overall sense of dread in the atmosphere. Specifically I was bracing myself for the one that seemed too good to be true to actually be, well, too good to be true, and it was almost a let down when it turned out to be exactly what it seemed.
Actually, that's a good point. I was expecting, at some point, unspeakable demons from a Lovecraftian universe to break through into my attic.
"He who lives only to benefit himself confers on the world a benefit when he dies."

Tertullian

In Progress:- Watch This Space...
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quantumsheep
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Post by quantumsheep »

Thanks all for the reviews - some great points brought up by everyone!

You actually get less points if you stay behind on earth! So the best way to win would be to let yourself die!

And to be honest, I didn't plan this as a horror game. I'd say it was more of a love story, though the subject matter is for sure a little unorthodox... ;)

Looking forward to this being over. I have some points I'd love to make about how this has all been received, and specifically stuff about my games. I daren't though so as not to influence any voters out there!




Edited By quantumsheep on 1223418885
Completed projects
1: "The Seance" (ODD competition entry)
2. "Main Course" (ODD competition entry)

Currently working on:
1: The Lighthouse (a horror story collaboration with Dan Blazquez)
2: An(n)achronism
3: Velocity
4: About 100 other ideas :O
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Lumin
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Post by Lumin »

And to be honest, I didn't plan this as a horror game. I'd say it was more of a love story, though the subject matter is for sure a little unorthodox...


While I played I actually wondered whether you would have saved it for the Ectocomp if you'd known about it at the time, so it's interesting to find out that it wasn't originally planned as a horror. Did those elements sort of creep in on their own or was this something you planned from the beginning?
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quantumsheep
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Post by quantumsheep »

Interesting question there Lumin.

I think those elements crept in on their own to be honest.

The main feelings I initially wanted to convey were of loneliness, loss, regret and sadness. I actually don't think there's much 'horror' there at all, just spookiness I guess.

The way I work, and it may be different for others, is that I get an idea in my head of what I'd like the story to be overall. Then I do a load of research (if it's appropriate) into elements of the era.

This gives me more ideas, fleshes out the details, and adds a certain authenticity to the story.

Some of the research I did for Seance was, for example, about the victorian era. What the furniture was like, houses, what wars took place at the time, how popular seances where at the time etc etc.

Indeed, the victorian setting came about because seances were extremely popular in that era, not because I wanted to get any lovecraft stuff in there!

The main bulk was on ghost stories and the paranormal - I read a huge amount about it (fortunately I love a good ghost story!) and again that helped inspire me.

I think a separate post on people's methodology might be interesting to read. I know some people plan things out in notepad, for example, before even opening the generator! Others pretty much write out their descriptions as they want them to appear in the game, while someone like me just puts in the basics to get an 'overall' feel of the game before adding details.




Edited By quantumsheep on 1223712140
Completed projects
1: "The Seance" (ODD competition entry)
2. "Main Course" (ODD competition entry)

Currently working on:
1: The Lighthouse (a horror story collaboration with Dan Blazquez)
2: An(n)achronism
3: Velocity
4: About 100 other ideas :O
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