IFComp 2020: The Shadow In The Snow

Here’s a grisly little werewolf story — or at least, since I don’t think there’s any actual reason to believe that its monster can transform into a human, a grisly little supernatural-huge-wolf-monster-that-can-only-be hurt-by-silver story. Forced out of your car in a desolate snowy remoteness, you run through a small map full of choice-based peril, repeating from the start whenever you die until you learn the correct sequence of actions to defeat the beastie. Some of the necessary choices are obvious from the narrative, others can only be learned from gruesome death. It’s not wall-to-wall gore, but gore there is. It’s about at the level of a campfire story.

Two highly noticeable and slightly interlinked bugs, one major and one minor. The major one is that, although it’s clearly meant to be replayed until you get it right, and automatically dumps you back at the beginning after every death, it fails to completely clear its state. So you’re likely to get into a situation where it thinks you’ve already done the event where obtain a shotgun from a dying man in a cabin in the woods (and won’t trigger it again), but it doesn’t think you have the shotgun. Once you’re in that state, all you can do about it is close the browser window and open the game again. The minor one concerns the background music, which is actually pretty good, but which doesn’t start until your second iteration. I can imagine that as deliberate, but the first bug suggests that the author only ever tried playing one iteration, so I don’t know what’s up with that.

The common opinion is that Twine games don’t need debugging the way parser games do, but that doesn’t really apply to the growing contingent of stateful games with free exploration written in Twine. The difference was never really in the system, but in the content.

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