Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

What I'm reading and writing about lately.

IFComp 2016 Review: Ariadne in Aeaea

Posted by Reiko on November 26, 2016

This is a review of a game from the 2016 Interactive Fiction Competition. Scoring criteria can be found here.

Ariadne in Aeaea
Author: Victor Ojuel
Format: Glulx

I recognized the author’s name from last year and wondered whether this piece would be as strange as the previous one. Fortunately, no, this piece is a fun slice of life set in ancient Minoan civilization, in the character of Ariadne, a priestess-initiate who has to solve a little mystery in order to impress her aunt Circe, the high priestess.

The broad strokes of the relevant history have been researched and clearly presented, although the author admits that a network of priestess-spies isn’t at all supported by the historical record. Still, the historical record is rather thin for that time period, so it’s not completely out of the question, either. The specific island setting is itself fictional as well.

The character’s voice is very strong here, if rather too modern-sounding. The prose is colorful and descriptive. I would love to see this piece combed through by a good proofreader, though, as there are a lot of little language glitches, including extra punctuation, typos, and missing words. A bit of cleanup would make the prose really shine.

The puzzles are generally straightforward given sufficient examining and talking to everyone. For some reason, this game actually reminded me a little bit of Journeyman Project 3, during the Atlantis segments. Probably the Mediterranean culture, plus the way talking to someone new or showing the right object would trigger an entire conversation to further the plot. At any rate, I enjoyed this one.

Time: 45 minutes
Scoring: base 7, +1 for amusing actions, +1 for strong character voice, -1 for lack of proofreading
Score: 8

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