IFComp 2014: The Black Lily   Leave a comment

The unthinkable happened: Femi jerked away from me, turned around and left with determined steps. Her hips swayed in rhythm with her legs. Just before reaching the stairs, she twisted her upper body around once again, bowed her head slightly and tore her long eyebrows wide open. She shot me a look which hit me with the force of a sledgehammer, but with the tip of a dagger. After endless seconds, she disappeared floating through the floor. I stood alone. Deserted. Desperate.

Hannes Schueller’s The Black Lily has a similar vibe to Enigma in that something happened or is happening and you need to reconstruct it. Choosing to WAIT results in questions:

Is my memory already this clouded? What was it that happened next?

Reminisces happen in multiple places: the bar, while shopping, on a beach. Your essential goal is to answer the above question “what was it that happened next?”

Unfortunately, rather than solving “puzzles” the result for me was flailing around trying to figure out what action the PC took next. Each action was natural, more or less, but spending 50 turns wandering in circles before trying the right thing felt more like randomly hitting upon an answer rather than using any sort of thought process.

There is, interestingly enough, a “score” that increases through what you could call secret actions. These are genuine puzzles (although my 2 hours ran out before I could hunt down 10 out of 10) although I’d welcome them more in a game where the main interaction wasn’t so painful.

I can’t get away without discussing the plot a little, although I will need some mild spoilers–

S
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–okay so the plot. It can be predicted if you study the opening area carefully — in fact, rereading, it is fairly explicit — although I’m not sure if that helps or makes it worse. It turns one slightly strange story into a different completely disturbing story. The first person adds a little distance, but maybe not enough.

General question: Is the girl somehow the cause of the evil? Or is it a side effect? The endings didn’t entirely make sense to me without this piece of the puzzle.

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Posted October 11, 2014 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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