bishopsreviews (bishopsreviews) wrote,
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IFComp 2010: Gris et Jaune, by Steve van Gaal

This is the second game I am reviewing in the 16th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. There needs to be some text here so that when Facebook links to it it doesn't include bits of the actual review. And thus it is that I say: here we go gathering nuts in May, nuts in May, nuts in May. Here we go gathering nuts in May, and am I correct to believe this is a variant set of lyrics to "Here we go 'round the mulberry bush?"

My first impression is that the stacatto fragmentary intro is trying a mite too hard, and a little bit of worry that I'm stepping into another (possibly not teen) angstpiece.

Getting into the game this original impression seems quite unfounded, as it builds into a peculiarly hermetic horror story shot through with lots of voodoo. I know a little bit about Haitian syncreticism, but it became evident as I got deeper into the game that I didn't know nearly enough.

This game has a strong story, and an interesting world, but it's rather troubled by some design and execution flaws. The late game is awfully open; open enough that it's not clear what to do much of the time. There are a number of technical flaws, ranging from punctuation and spelling to authentic bugginess. This game has a great deal of promise, with a style of its own and considerable responsiveness to unexpected commands, but it has some serious problems nonetheless. It's too sprawly and perhaps too complicated plotwise. Even by the end a lot isn't clear, and giving the player a Big Important Choice among still-vague alternatives is maddening.

Nonetheless, there is a lot here that feels like it works, and much to chew on.

Rating: 6 (a high 6; may revise later, depending on what else is out there)

Tags: if, ifcomp 2010
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