Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

What I'm reading and writing about lately.

IFComp 2016 Review: Not Another Hero

Posted by Reiko on November 30, 2016

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

Not Another Hero
Author: Cecelia Rosewood
Format: Web – Choicescript

I was a bit underwhelmed by this one. Maybe I’m just burned out on superhero stories. There was Cape last year, for instance, which seemed to actually have some commentary on whether superpowers were enough to make a difference.

This piece seems to be part of a larger context, since it offers details on a number of “anomalies” that don’t even show up in the story. And it does offer a few thoughtful choices, like what to think about a child anomaly that the government wants to relocate into a laboratory because she’s strong enough to be dangerous. But the story ends abruptly, with no resolution, and by then I was mostly skimming anyway.

There are hints of romantic possibilities within the team, and a minor reveal from one of them, and a few opportunities to chat with them. But ultimately I didn’t end up caring about any of the characters all that much. That’s unfortunate in a team-based story.

The story seemed to be in summary mode much of the time. We skip from the PC’s graduation, through training, and out into missions within a few pages. But mostly the missions were boring guard duty. It just wasn’t as interesting as it should have been given the existence of cool superpowers and powerful government equipment. The team often uses powered exosuits, and one time the PC can use a non-lethal stun net, but I didn’t notice much other special equipment. And not much really seemed to happen in the story. Each chapter covers some incident in the team’s history (initial training, some random mission, the mission to capture the young anomaly, more guard duty, a mission that went very wrong, and then the end, more or less). I didn’t get any sense of a narrative or character arc from all this, though.

There was an author’s note saying she wants to release a post-comp version with romance and character classes, which would admittedly add some depth. However, I’d concentrate more on making the core story and characters more interesting first and polishing the prose. Then add more content.

Time: 30 minutes
Scoring: base 7, -1 for typos and homonym misusages, -1 for boring missions
Score: 5


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