Concours de Fiction Interactive Francophone 2023 reviews and thoughts

I ended the game when I prevented the murder of Fredegar, the halfling friend of sculptor Maroline.
However, throughout the game before that I tried finding a way to help the sad young woman under the Tuttamanti curse. Apart from a non-helpful (at least not that I could discern…) book in the city archives, I never found a path that let me lift the curse or help the girl in any other way.

What were the endings you experienced?

BTW, I like very much that we’re doing these Concours reviews side by side. It’s inspiring to jump to your thread and read your thoughts on a game that I just finished, or look for a game to play next. I think I will finally be committing to Retour vers l’extérieur next.

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My early ending was the one where you are in prison and it says you can just stop now if you want, just walk away. The harder ending was the one involving sticking around and doing time travel and using the harp.

I didn’t figure out how to help the girl either…

It has been fun going back and forth but I’m quite behind now! Once you’re done it’ll be interesting hearing your overall thoughts on the whole comp :slight_smile:


Au royaume des aveugles on ne regarde pas les dents

This game is a demo for a new type of parser.

Basically, you type in the first letter or two of a noun on the screen, which brings up some possible words that can autocomplete, which you do by hitting tab; then you hit tab more to cycle through different actions or adjectives for that noun.

This is a clever idea. I did have some trouble navigating the game though. You’re basically some kind of goblin entertaining an ogre king, so there were a ton of words that I didn’t understand (looking them up, it was stuff like ‘burping’ or ‘somersaulting’) and there were some typos that I think were intentional like ‘vous être’.

In structure, as far as I played, the game starts with you telling poems to the ogre king, then possibly fighting his executioner guy, then exploring your living quarters, then quoting proverbs, then fighting again.

Interaction was kind of wonky for me. Almost none of the actions have predictable effects; instead, it seems like the author’s goal was to come up with funny or nonsensical results for most things. It was amusing, but it was hard to plan what happened. Combat was especially rough, with many actions healing the other opponent. On the itch page, others had complained about this, and the author suggested making sure that you mix up your attacks and not follow any pattern. I couldn’t do this, and died during the second duel. There was also a clock that didn’t seem to do much besides making you sleep for a while.

Overall the system looks pretty good, and the game is descriptive and amusing, but the actual game mechanics are pretty hard to figure out and could be explained more clearly.


I could see some interesting applications for this parser. Very cool.

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Les saisons de Pippa

This game has some pretty awesome worldbuilding. It’s a French hypertext game with three main stories and a few incomplete ones.

It has very lovely art and some background music. The idea is that there is this ancient, ruined world filled with gigantic walls and large trees. There are no living creatures except for insects. It reminds me a bit of Nausicaa of the Winds, especially the trees that suck up poisonous metals and excrete them.

Overall, the worldbuilding was fun. You see this world of wild druids and ancient technology through the eyes of a young girl. There are horse-like insects, monstrous ones, insect gods, and insect food.

It’s very big even as is. The one thing that I found a bit odd (besides it being released unfinished) is that the structure is kind of like a text maze. There is one main storyline you can usually just click through, with occasional side paths that can be very long before coming back to the original.

Overall, I love this world and art and think it’s fun.


La Mort venue des Archives - Episode 1

This is just the very first act of a large story. It sets up the main action and then promises the next story (as shown by the Episode 1 in the title).

It is a choice based game, designed in portrait mode rather than landscape, with either a ‘next’ option on each screen or a few choices. There are several nice character portraits done.

You are a new archivist at a library in a magical world. People and creatures from all over come and you, an apprentice archivist, must decide whether they should be admitted or not.

So it’s kind of a bureaucracy simulator, but has more action in the end. In the middle it has more normal life things like dealing with allergies or finding a cute person.

Promising, but incomplete.


Entre les lignes de feu

This is kind of a happy accident; this game is one I played before in Spanish from Ectocomp, but it happened to match the 2023 French Comp themes of treason and archives, so it was translated and entered into that as well.

This is a compelling story, which involves a soldier that is obsessed with collecting the letters of other soldiers, usually after they die. He wants to write his own letter, the best letter ever, and will stop at nothing for his goals.

There are 3 acts, each one fairly brief with actions that are generally clued in the instructions or text. I found it easier in French than in Spanish, to be honest.



This is a heavily-altered Twine game that has images with mouse-over animations, text that changes in dramatic ways, and other fancy effects. I had to turn on the scrollbar to get it to work on my mouseless laptop, but otherwise it worked well.

The game was written in English and then translated to French, but I played it in French first, an amusing intentional roadblock in understanding between two Anglophones. I then replayed twice in English.

The game is brief, but rich. You have been seeing a psychiatrist and are having lapses in memory, have been hearing voices, etc. At first, the doctor is eager to help you, exploring your past, but things get darker…

Overall, it’s a surreal game whose strongest features are it’s neat visual effects, its replayability, and its sinister atmosphere.


Deux pages avant la fin du monde

This game reminded me of why I have liked the French Comp over the years: the innovation.

You have in this story a book that can flipped forwards and backwards. It has about 8 or 9 pages total (at first). At first, I thought there was a bug, as the book seemed intended to have jewels on the front but they were missing, but as you read, you discover that’s not the case.

An ancient civilization conquered all galaxies but couldn’t prevent the end of the universe as it was consumed by black holes. Instead, it found a way to encode its entire history and culture into three crystals (the ones missing from the cover of the book), each held by a different guardian.

The book’s history fluctuates, kind of like (but very different from) SCP-140 from the SCP Wiki. Different chunks of texts will flicker, and clicking on them changes the story. Change it enough, and you get a visual logiv puzzle you can solve by clicking.

I had a lot of fun with this. There are definitely some areas weaker than others (like Rovarsson mentioned, the story is fairly basic; another thing is the puzzles themselves are simple), but the overall interactivity is nice and the story is engaging, so for me the game as a whole was more than the sum of its parts.


I wholeheartedly agree. I loved the almost tactile way of interacting with the text and the visual logic puzzles. Also, the more the basic story expanded (literally), the more I was drawn into it.


La Venus de Capri

My enjoyment of this French game went up and down as I played. My very first thought was, 'Wait, Gavroche games? Didn’t they win last year with a demo game that was unfinished? Why are they making another demo instead of finishing that game??? Will they never finish a game?"

But this game is, just like last year, very fun after all. If it just ends up having several demos each year, that’s not so bad after all.

This game features you as a recently activated robot who has been repurposed to steal from a museum! Your human co-conspirators are designated by card suits and communicate with you via radio, with one being especially foul-mouthed.

Once you get further in, you discover a cast of robot characters that have some humor and some pathos. I got my arm ripped off in a robot arm-wrestling competition, and that was pretty neat. Visually, it’s great-looking, like many Moiki games are.

Overall, I planned on a solid 3/5 due to the unfinished, but the exhibit vignettes changed my mind to 4/5.


Minigolf et Trahisons

This is a visual novel that has some really great animation and overall visuals. The text was in nice little chunks that made it easy to read even though many characters had weird speech things (like one who talked while holding a golf club in their mouth!)

It’s not super long, either. You play as a robot-looking character who has done a really great job at their last three internships, but who now is ready for the hardest one of all.

You’re invited to a hotel where a dog-like manager tells you there is a conference of traitors going on, but one of them is a traitor-traitor: that is, they’re secretly not a traitor at all! You have to figure out who did it and confront them.

There is only one suspect and one interview, so the game is much briefer than you might expect it to be, but it’s hard enough that I played through a few times without solving it. It’s okay, though, because it’s just a fun, goofy game with memorable characters. Definitely worth checking out!


Le Héros dont vous êtes le livre

This French comp game has a form of interaction I’ve never seen before and which I quite like.

It is a mad-lib game, in the sense that the primary interaction is filling in blanks that are then used in the rest of your story. The blanks include things like your name but also more important things like what special object you have.

This doesn’t make for very good interaction itself. But what happens is after your choices are locked in, the game lets you pick between several ‘implications’ of your choices, and that’s where the true agency lies. For instance, you can create a kind of menace in the dungeon that causes some negative thing to happen to you (I made an enormous burger that makes you fat). Once you select that, the game asks if the Enromous Burger can be defeated in combat or talked to (I chose combat). I ended up losing the game in the end (my girlfriend from the guild of assassins was killed by the burger so I was stuck later). With different choices, there would be an entirely different story.

The main storyline though is that you are part of a monastery where the prioress wants you to lie to the future queen to protect the monastery treasures. You decide to disobey by finding the legendary ____ of Saint ______ to help you.

Overall, it was fun. Because I made the choices, I didn’t get as emotionally invested, but everything else was great.


Objectif Mars
In this game, you wake up in darkness on a space station on Mars. The oxygen is getting low, and you have to repair the spaceship!

This is written in the Donjon engine, one I’ve seen come up several times in French games and which always works well overall.

There is a small map here, and only a few items, allowing the game to be completed relatively quickly with few surprises (except for some fun easter eggs).

Overall, the game is pretty sparse. The majority of each room description is taken up by listing exits. An AI is mentioned but doesn’t seem to do much (it is almost implied that the player is the AI but then we put on overalls so it wouldn’t make much sense. Unless the reader is the AI?) And there is a little bit of lack of verbs or clues.

I gave two stars to a game by the same author last year and I feel a bit bad giving two stars again, but I think that for me personally (since my rating is just subjective and is only my opinion), if the author did some more testing where they had players try commands and implemented anything they tried, the game would be a lot smoother. But maybe I’m wrong.

Actually, I am very glad there was a walkthrough provided and it made things very smooth after I had explored for a while and got stuck, so I think I will add a star for the good walkthrough and the funny spores.


Les Prophéties Perdues

This is a brief but replayable game.

You have found the ancient Temple of Destiny. Inside is a prophecy in the form of a poem. Interestingly, the stone it is carved on is movable, and you can alter individual words and phrases.

This allows you to construct the prophecy you most desire!

Unfortunately, you cannot go back to previous choices; what’s done cannot be undone (without replaying). This makes it a bit hard to strategize without writing everything down, as you can’t just cycle through.

Like others, I found the Good Ending and the Bad ending but not the Worse or Better ending. I also found the ‘give up early’ ending.

Pretty fun concept!



This game uses Unity and has some visual component, similar to a visual novel (or the game Reigns, which I haven’t tried).

You are the second-in-command to a captain on a trans-Atlantic voyage. The Captain, a bit nervous, asks you to handle most of the passengers.

Events are randomly-selected vignettes with different characters (which I’m told is similar to Reigns). Each one gives three options, which are selected by a ship’s wheel rather than clicking directly on them.

Each character has their own agenda: a priest who wants to evangelize, a high-ranking and veteran officer who wants the crew to relax and party; a rich socialite who wants to be treated well; and a communist organizer.

Overall, the system is interesting and fun, but the interactivity felt disconnected and opaque. It was hard to find common threads through the interactions and it was difficult to know how your choices would affect the two main stats.

But the images were nice and the writing was very descriptive.



This game was pretty fun and fairly long, though it is unfinished.

In it, you play as the child of a king. Your father has been assassinated and you must flee the city. Once you do so, you join a boat and, if successful, start a city.

I enjoy city-building games like Civ VI and multi-stage games like Spore, so I found this game more fun as I went on. Early on, though, it felt a bit unfair at times, almost like random events happening.

There are some nice mechanics, like a prophetess guiding you with several messages for the future and a collection of what essentially are riddles or knowledge tests about Greek gods.

I liked my ending, with the city growing good. I felt like a lot of times the choice was between ‘do something honorable and good that will make everyone like you or do something obviously bad’, which made it feel like there was often a ‘right choice’ to click. But I also feel the game became more complex the longer it went on.

This was a big French Comp game, but worth playing.


Entre Deux

This is a choice-based entry where you play as the recently deceased ghost Victor who visits his friend Guillaume.

It’s the day of Victor’s funeral, and all his friends come over. You, as Victor, can only be seen by Guillaume, but can influence others. Your goal: to help your Guillaume win the heart of long-time friend Marie.

In the meantime, you discover a lot about your friends: one has come out recently, one has a new boyfriend from Senegal, some siblings are squabbling, one person gets a little too drunk, etc.

It’s a little bit like Delightful Wallpaper (the second half), where you influence others subtly, and a bit like Blue Chairs, with its substance-using, young-people-talking parties.

It’s a very long game, maybe too long, but the story it paints is beautiful. It does require (like another reviewer said) a lot of clicking, so I got in the habit of just clicking really fast until it stopped and going back to read over the text.

I really liked this world. It reminded me of the work of Katherine Morayati, of being in ‘the scene’. This had more ‘youth slang’ than any of the other games; I learned a lot. It also has tons of cultural references; my search history has a lot of stuff like Science Po, Francoise Hollande, Knife Party, etc. now.

I like this culture because I was never a part of it. I’ve never drank, never tried marijuana. I had a lot of siblings and cousins and never hung out with other kids after school, so the idea of a big friend group you spend all your time with is something I saw my siblings do but never tried as a kid. As an adult, now I have a lot of nice friends, but there’s not that same element of risk and danger that impressionable young people have when it comes to things like drugs or alcohol or unsafe sex.

Anyway, the story I found was well-crafted and overall it resonated with me. Interactivity felt great; out of all games in this comp, I felt like both choices were okay each time, that both would produce a meaningful story and that I could choose what I really wanted.

Edit: Somehow I found this part relatable and funny:


My plan was to finish all of the French comp tonight, but the last game is a two-player game, which I’m just going to play by myself, and I don’t have time to do it before Seed comp comes out.

So I will play it tomorrow and then start on seedcomp games!


L’heure du Toast

This game is hard to review for multiple reasons, since it’s a multiplayer game I played on my own (I’ve done multiplayer IF before but since this one is in French I didn’t feel comfortable asking someone to wait while I slowly read it), and also describing the plot spoils it, as a big part of the game is figuring out the other person’s story. So this I could basically rate it really high or really low depending on how I’m feeling today.

Overall, the setting is mostly muted and indistinct. You are at a society dinner (or maybe political dinner?) and everything is centered around that. Unlike most multiplayer games I’ve seen recently, which tend to have tons of text interspersed with a very small number of possible actions, this game has 30 turns each of which has ten or more actions you can choose.

However, these actions are almost all inconsequential or are only interesting once. I do have to give kudos for allowing players to pass any message at all to the other person. I did feel it straggled on too long by about ten turns.

Of course if I had played with someone else I wouldn’t have spoiled the fun of finding out about the other person, which is a bummer. Overall, I’m giving this 3 stars, but it really could be anywhere from a 2 to a 4.