Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

What I'm reading and writing about lately.

IFComp 2014 Review: Eidolon

Posted by Reiko on November 11, 2014

This is a review of games from the 2014 Interactive Fiction Competition. Scoring criteria can be found here.

Author: A.D. Jansen
Format: Web

This piece is strangely compelling, despite not really making much sense. I was playing this late in the evening, which fit with the theme of it, and I found myself compulsively continuing to click links even though I needed to go to bed, and I ended up finishing the whole thing before I could go to sleep.

The beginning section is a very slow slice of life about having insomnia. Having the goals better directed would help here, as I found myself wandering the house for awhile without knowing what I was trying to do other than eventually go back to sleep. There’s a vague goal of being as quiet as possible, but it doesn’t seem to make much difference whether you’re quiet or not. I didn’t go back and try to be noisy just to see if anything else happens, though.

Slow as it is, it’s all setup for the second half, which is a bizarre dreamscape that nevertheless had clear goals and puzzles to solve. The hypertext format doesn’t generally lend itself to the kinds of puzzles that parser-based IF can support, yet it felt more like that than most, with links providing the means to examine and interact with objects, and move around the area.

I actually would have liked to see the ending sequence with the forest expanded into a third puzzle section, as the premise had a lot of potential. Maybe in a post-comp release? But I think I was coming up on close to two hours already, so it was just as well for the purposes of the competition that it didn’t. I think this is the first really substantial hypertext-based IFcomp piece I’ve played.

It was all very solid. I may have seen a couple of typos, but generally the text was fluid and evocative. I got stuck exactly once, when I somehow got a blank screen, but other than that, with hypertext, there’s always a way through.

Score: 8
Scoring: base 7, +1 for evocative text


One Response to “IFComp 2014 Review: Eidolon”

  1. […] – 8 HHH.exe, by Robot Parking (Web) – 2 The Entropy Cage, by Stormrose (Web) – 6 Eidolon, by A.D. Jansen (Web) – 8 Missive, by Joey Fu (Web) – 7 Inward Narrow Crooked Lanes, by […]

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