Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

What I'm reading and writing about lately.

IFComp 2015 Review: Cape

Posted by Reiko on November 24, 2015

This is a review of a game from the 2015 Interactive Fiction Competition. Scoring criteria can be found here.

Cape
Author: Bruno Dias
Format: Web – Umdum

This one is a well-written superhero origin story, presented in Umdum. I’m not really familiar with how Umdum works, but the seamless way that choices merge into the ongoing thread of the narrative is very slick. The one question I had at the end was whether nationality (offered as a choice) made any difference anywhere. I never saw it mentioned after the choice was made.

I also wondered if I had any ability to actually make a difference. Maybe that’s the point, as usually superheroes have high visibility (even if their personal identity is secret) and spend a lot of time defeating villains and saving the world. Here I mostly seemed to skulk on rooftops and watch things happen rather than actually doing things.

I played through a second time to see how the powers worked for a different cape choice out of the three available, and see if the story diverged at all. It didn’t seem to. There are minor differences based on which power you choose and how you choose to handle the various scenarios, but the overall story is the same. Still, the effect is nearly seamless, so as a work of variable fiction, this piece does very well. There is definitely interactivity here, but there’s very little agency.

Time: 1 hour
Scoring: base 7, +1 for seamless interactivity
Score: 8

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