Cannery Vale

Has anyone finished this game yet? I’m stuck: and unable to move higher than Fifth Crossing. I’ve unlocked up to Chapter Six on the laptop. Any hints welcome!

Hi Felicity,

I was stuck for some time at (more or less) the same stage as you. I can’t recall the exact sequence of things that finally helped me to get on. Some hints, though:

  • Have you been taken to the waitresses apartment?
  • Have you earned money in the factory?
  • Have you been back to the fun fair and tried the different attractions there (you need enough money to do this)?
  • Have you revisited the fortune teller machine and got the key (the first time I used the machine I just got a card, but later in the game it emitted a skeleton key)?
    Once you have the key you should be able to go on beyond Fifth crossing.

Maybe one of these is helpful to you.


Thank you, Thorsten! That is super helpful.

I made it to the end and am totally amazed by this game and how expansive and crazy it is. I would call this game a must-play for this year’s comp!

@ifcomp “We need gas. Here we go - exit, one mile.” “I got a feeling, sweetie, skip this one.” “Seriously? Why?” “Does a town called “Silent Hill” really sound like fun to you? I’d rather stop anywhere else.”

Long browser-based game. Pay attention to those content warnings! It’s mostly sort of darkly comedic in tone, with sudden moments of violence and death. Starts you off on a beach with amnesia (this is genre-saavy, so that gets acknowledged), later on you’ll reach a seaside town, and you also spend time in a hotel. Some puzzles.

Do I recap the story? Nah. Look at that blurb, the content warnings, note the length and tone, I’ll also say that this is very ambitious and meticulous. Figure out if it’s worth trying for you from there. Biggest tip I can give is, pay attention to your inventory, because I tuned it out after a while, and it’s very important!

This uses the same seeming engine-thing as last year’s Alice Aforethought(!); so though not necessarily the most streamlined or aesthetically pleasing (it’s ok), it’s very functional and has some neat features. Some odd things about being able to back out of mid-actions that come up through pop-up boxes, things cutting off abruptly because of timed events, and things happening which are sometimes hard to discern if they’re intentional or bugs. This doesn’t necessarily detract from the overall tone!

Biggest seeming bug is I did try going to floor 9 in the elevator, which gave me passage _______ not found or something like that. Also, I’m pretty sure I checked the “waitress friendly” option at least once or twice without being able to enter the diner still, before it finally worked.

You know what? Mild spoilers follow, because the author seems to want some sense of discovery going in.

So it starts off with the realisation of a basic loop that I grew accustomed to. Go in, reach a new area, explore, out, flip the area switches. Repeat. Then I figure out switches shouldn’t always just be kept on. Soon I start exploring the inn more. Then I realise there’s the inventory staying. And that point was both cool, and it took some adjustment. Because it seemed before that this might be a narrative-driven story, but then there’s the introduction of these increasingly game-y state-based mechanics. And generally I feel like I only see it the other way around in games, establishing game mechanics, then an encroaching story. This starts off as something that feels choice-based, then goes into a more puzzly adventure game direction.

It did also feel a bit taxingly long at times. The two parallel stories, both protagonists generally had single overarching goals, and those mostly stays static throughout. It felt like I was making a lot of game progress, without necessarily feeling like I was furthering the story a whole lot, and those two goals started feeling tenuous. There’s a lot of gating as this continues, including explicit ones, and I solved going past them without necessarily knowing why I’d want to, for either character, and again, they feel like game-y obstacles more than writer’s ones. Tied into that is that there aren’t really catharsis points for getting past them, really. You solve something, and you might get a new chapter heading which helps, but you’re also unceremoniously just in another area. The creeping story beats in the hotel are gradual, and sort of hard to… do anything with or about?

I don’t think I necessarily followed what was going on in the end, but I liked it well enough.

I can think of two seemingly influences on this, and I’d say that this is more varied and deeper, though they [rant]-- Shrapnel and Doki Doki (and maybe that Stories Untold demo part?) --[/rant] both doled out weird but were also very straightforward game-wise, in a way this isn’t. This has puzzles you can get stuck on, which I did for a bit, but maybe other players are smarter than me, and that did affect the pace of my experience. I’m also not familiar with a lot of the other probable literary influences for this. Biggest bummer was repeatedly grinding at the job which, I don’t know if there was a better way…

Anyways, very accomplished, expansive, cool. I’m trying to figure out what parts didn’t work for me, because I think this deserves that sort of consideration, but this is very well done.

One more thing: this is according to the walkthrough, apparently pretty open-ended, impressively so. I set explicitness to low, so I missed some options (and some I wouldn’t have done anyways), but worth noting. I bet I missed a lot of stuff!

A clever, well-designed game. I’ve posted a review of it on my blog.

Ultra-long postmortem/devlog on itch:

Thanks for the details! I had noticed that the upper parts of the island are lightly implemented and was wondering how that fit vis-a-vis the Dante theme. Interesting to know that you had planned for more there but ran out of time/were concerned the game would be too long.

The light implementation of the top levels of the island still parallels the upper levels of the hotel being gone in the final version of the game, I think, even if that wasn’t your original vision.

I think it worked out for the better! I hadn’t thought of the implementation mirroring the hotel structure but that’s actually quite true! After all the complication in the lower half of the island, I figured the player (and I) was due for a little bit of a fun greased waterslide toward the ending instead of another entire act of the game. More friction in the story probably wasn’t warranted by that point and it probably works better at long-movie rather than a five-act opera.

I was also thrilled that Spike picked up on and nailed lots of the Divine Comedy/Inferno stuff I had hidden (I hoped not too obviously) everywhere, including the blurb. I wasn’t even thinking of Purgatorio, not being as familiar with it. I was doing an “inverted Inferno”…which is basically what Purgatorio is…

I didn’t realize till I was done that I had basically done a take on Orpheus and Euridice - I must have read about it long ago, but the whole “don’t look” thing happened organically and I was flabbergasted when I read the Wikipedia synopsis my post-game Dante research hole led me to.

The actual briefcase contents only became clear to me about halfway through - Originally the briefcase was going to just be a red herring MacGuffin for real to torture the player. For a good chunk, I thought maybe it would contain a gun that the Protagonist would try to kill the Author with.

The McMuffin joke is from real life. I was talking about writing concepts with a friend and totally saying “McMuffin” the whole time. I sat up in bed that night going “MACGUFFIN.”

Oh, and the cycle of write/nap/repeat is totally a thing I actually do.