IFComp 2014 – Reviews – Missive

My next game played was Missive by Joey Fu another web based Twine game (SPOILERS AHEAD).  Upon opening this up, my first impressions were not positive.  I tend to enjoy Twine games that change up the look and feel of the game from the standard look.  While not necessary, it just adds something to the game and makes me feel the author went a little extra to make their game stand out from the rest.  This one didn’t.

However, moving past that, I actually enjoyed this one.  The story was intriguing and while not overly complicated, I felt it drawing me in just enough.  There were plenty of choices to make, most of which were a straight path to the next set of choices without any way of going back (in the natural play of the game anyways).  I like that, it felt like an adventure, like I was really working on solving the mystery behind those letters.  With the tension building throughout the story, not only between the mysterious person behind the phone calls, but between you and Emily and to another degree between you and yourself, I was looking forward to a big reveal, big ending, so I was slightly let down by the final choice of basically, “Choose the killer”, and game over.  What did intrigue me about the ending however, was reveal of which “puzzles” I had solved and which I hadn’t….also the addition of the “hint mode” which promised certain highlighted clues in the text of the letters.  So seeing that, I had to replay.

So starting over, I found myself choosing different options and heading down slightly different paths, but usually coming back to a single decision point before ending the day.  Technically, the text throughout in later days, did change slightly based on earlier choices, so that was nice to see that time was spent including those type of subtleties.  However, I never did see any hints that I thought were to be highlighted.  Nothing appeared to be highlighted and the process of solving a puzzle, seemed to devolve to a random choice at the end of each day.  Now I must say there were probably hints in the letters that would have led me to the correct solution, but I didn’t pick up on what those clues may have been.  I played through a few times and I had solved different puzzles but I’m not sure I ever really figured out what those puzzles were or how they were solved save for the last one.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, I really did enjoy this one.  The story was clear, though perhaps lacking in hints.  The obsession with drinking seemed to play little roll, other than to give a sense of the depression the main character has falling into with the leaving of his girlfriend, but it seemed unneeded.  I felt the writing was concise and to the point, the letters were written in what I felt was a realistic voice.  I was drawn into the story, though I felt it could be better clued.  I may have missed the point on this one in quite a few places, but after a few playthroughs some of those “holes” in the clues and hinting were not being filled in for me so it was time to call it a day.

I feel this is a solid entry from a supposedly first-time author, there were a lot of testers listed and I really didn’t see many issues in grammar.  Well done.