Dgtziea's Spring Thing 2022 Reviews


Another Cabin in The Woods

Written in Twine, short-to-medium length. You’re visiting an isolated house in the woods that belonged to your estranged mother now passed, and you’re going through all the rooms and picking your way through various memories of your childhood. The story delves into some serious tragic events, but it’s overall fairly hopeful. There’s a vaguely supernatural element, but that’s not the focus and it’s mostly grounded.

Sort of upbeat, coffee shop background type music, lots of small sound effects (doors creaking open, piano snippets), and even voice acting!? The voice acting is generally fine, clear and expressive (The “mother” voice did sound kind of young!).

A lot of the passages have lines of voiced dialogue alongside its prose. Example snippet:

To the right lie the three bedrooms and the shared bathroom, as well as the den. Her precious den.

“I should walk through the house,” you say. “See exactly what I’m dealing with. But where should I start?”

You might get a couple paragraphs of prose with a paragraph of dialogue like above, and just the dialogue is voiced. You’re only ever by yourself in the house though. A lot of graphic adventure games (point-and-click ones, Life is Strange…) have the protagonist narrate to themselves out loud like this, for the benefit of the player. I don’t think I’ve seen it in a text based game like this though, so it could just be something I wasn’t used to, but I found it sometimes hard to both read and listen at the same time. I know visual novels sometimes get voiced, but those are dialogue-based, not prose-based. It did make me think about how unnatural having a character constantly narrating to themselves really is. Does it actually work better in point-and-click stuff, or am I just more used to it there? Reading dialogue that “you ask” and “you say” to no one in particular just seemed a bit unnatural.

In this story you’ll spend a lot it playing catch up, trying to piece together all the events and people your character alludes to. This piecing together of a non-linearly presented backstory is a cool structure, and most of the story is told through carefully chosen flashbacks. You discover different details and facets within all the different slices of the lives of your family this way. The overall tone is set cohesively through all the earnest music and sound and dialogue and writing, and overall this is a deeply planned out story that’s willing to really reach high to hit some resonant emotional notes.

I wonder about the second person perspective, because this doesn’t feel like a “put yourself in their shoes” type of story. I’m hearing “myself” voiced constantly, my character knows more than I do throughout, and this isn’t really a choose-your-path narrative either. Would third person work better? When should you use second person, anyway?

The story deals with some fairly heavy stuff. The writing isn’t far off, but trying to cram as much pathos into as short a scene as this tries to several times would be a pretty big ask for even the best authors and voice actors in the world, I would think. I wasn’t entirely sure in the end about some of the motivations of the parents, but that does probably make sense from a child’s point of view of events (the mother is really attached to the house why? The father is sort of monstrously uncaring?). There’s sort of a centrepiece mini-puzzle this builds towards quite well, and a strong overall vision for the story.



Suspenseful, non-graphic horror. You’re a child at home alone, asleep on a cold wintry night, when you’re awakened by a knock at the door…

More than anything, this does a great job ratcheting up tension. There’s a constant sense of unease and danger, a feeling that something’s off, that carries this.

Choices might be about deciding whether to open a window to talk to the figure (your father?) outside, or maybe you’re deciding whether to drink some water or look through your dad’s journal. Between the choices that push the story forward, there’s a lot of ruminations about stuff around the house (oh, the study where my father spent nights… and then we get a couple passages on that).

The writing itself is strong and the imagery throughout is incredibly evocative, with some really whiz-bang lines of prose. At the beginning the more gradual pace built suspense really well, but at some point the story feels like it should be picking up pace and instead we’re still ruminating at length on, say, the study you’re in, and I was anxious to find out what was happening in the present instead. It did also feel like a lot of the paragraphs were roughly the same length and maybe that could’ve been varied a bit.

There’s a lot of neat text effects, maybe a bit too much shaking or glowing after a point, but overall it added dynamism to the text. Some subjective presentational things I noticed–some timed text was a bit abrupt and could’ve faded in more gradually, some padding could’ve been added around the sides of some button links–but actually the only big thing is there’s white text on light pink near the beginning in a texting conversation and also some white text on slightly darker pink nearer the end, both which were a bit harder to read.

The story is deliberately a bit disorienting at times (who is what? what is real?). Tense horror tale, would’ve liked it edited down a bit, but really strong descriptive writing, with some really good imagination!


two entries I didn’t finish but I figured I’d note:

Hinterlands: Marooned

Just noting that I tried this for a bit but didn’t solve it.

It’s a one move and you die parser game. At first I thought maybe it was just a first time author with wonky ideas about design, but playing it more and seeing all the different responses and commands (and then reading the hints), I think it might be someone more familiar with parser than that.

Tried for a bit before giving up.


It seemed fine for what I played of it, a sort of road story with you travelling cross-country on a seemingly off-the-cuff decision. Along the way, you’re also writing letters to someone you seem to have left behind. Offhand, it did feel better paced/easier to breeze through reading-wise than anything else I’ve played so far. Maybe it’s partly a genre difference? It’s got a snappy text-to-link ratio and a more conversational sort of tone. But I think I got on a bus to Denver and was watching a documentary, and then I just abruptly ran out of links to click. Showed promise.


I believe this is a bug in the game (it’s next on my to-play list) – @cchennnn made a fixed version which you can find here.

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Bigfoot Bluff

A medium length puzzle parser game. You’re–okay, I hope I got the story straight–Your dad is Bigfoot Senior. You’re his paparazzi son (and also a Bigfoot), intent on finally photographing him in order to expose him to the world.

Self-described as a sandbox, this takes place in Bigfoot Bluff Park, which has forests, caves, critters, and a whole bunch of small puzzles scattered around to solve. You’re trying to rack up “stealth points” that way, and if you reach a score of 60 that means you’re stealthy enough to finally track your dad down, and that will unlock the ending sequence.

The room descriptions are sparse:

You see there are instructions to look at a map in that description. Instead of listing room exits directly, the game insists you examine a map in your inventory within each location in order to find out what directions you can go. This is an interesting nod towards realism that could also be extremely annoying to do, and I was mildly irked at the start doing this, but luckily the game has a nicely straightforward, symmetrically balanced map layout, so it was easy enough to navigate off memory after a while. Additionally, the map only expands to new areas after certain puzzles are figured out.

Each location has perhaps a couple things to look at (to pick up, or interact with, or solve…). The puzzles tend to be simple and single step use-an-item-on-something-else, and there are a lot of them, but you don’t have to solve all of them. Which was good, because there were still quite a few I was stuck on even after finishing the game (eagle, ants, birdseed, drone, ranger, catalogue maybe, anywhere dark). Some of it operates on zany cartoon logic (wait, what did I do with the frog exactly!?). A definitely strength of this was how generally enjoyable it was to just bounce around and poke at things, gather things up, think a bit about what I had in my inventory that could address a given problem.

One other smaller story objective seems to be to take pictures of other “cryptids” (rumoured-to-exist modern-day folk creatures) across the park, and those are also spread out quite evenly across the map, and managing to photograph them grants a short little speech from Bigfoot Senior which kept a sense of progression and was a small reminder about the actual overarching story. The story itself? Don’t think I got all of it, honestly. It’s got a surprising amount of things that need to be explained but which are just briefly mentioned in passing. Some of the particulars of your relationship or motivations are still kind of fuzzy to me. I don’t think I could really fully explain what happened in the ending sequence for example ,like the motivations behind each choice for the button are explained, but I just had no real understanding or compulsion towards either one… and then Elvis drops in?. But I didn’t feel like that detracted too much from the puzzles anyways which felt like the focus.

One interesting choice is some actions actually take away points if you do something that is “unstealthy” like accidentally leave a footprint in the mud. They’re all things you can do something to alleviate, in order to regain your points. Some of the “negative” actions just didn’t seem foreseeable, but even besides those, it felt mildly punishing towards experimentation when I’d just put on a hat or something and get docked points, and experimentation sort of feels like the whole point of a parser puzzle game especially a self-described sandbox-y one. It’s not too bad; because of how open and brisk everything is, you can just move on. They’re just extra puzzles, basically, and there was a reassurance (that lost points would be easily recoverable) which was reassuring. Though I didn’t recover all of them.

Free of any noticeable bugs which is great, just a few minor punctuation issues, understandable with the sheer number of items there are and thus there’s a lot of written responses to things. Sometimes there’s an extra space before a period, or paragraph breaks are a bit off, etc. Minor. Other minor thing is catching more actions I tried, like I could put anything in the lake with no real consequence, etc. Or the pie that is described as being “closed.” Or the camera flash not being able to light up dark rooms.. But basic implementation seemed solid.

More than anything, I liked how this laid out everything across the map: the puzzles, the objects, the weird speeches. It led to a decently eventful journey as I explored, with little moments of discovery and progression. The descriptions are spare, but there’s still a sense of a setting, and it doesn’t feel empty or static. I’m not sure if “sandbox” is the adjective I’d have used for this (it doesn’t have a lot of simulated systems to toy around with for example) but Bigfoot Bluff is a nice place to take an active little jaunt around in.


Thanks for your review!

Some of it operates on zany cartoon logic (wait, what did I do with the frog exactly!?)

Did you solve the frog-blowgun puzzle? Congrats, not many of my testers did, I think. I’m not sure if it is a harder puzzle than the others or just more out of the way.

Re: the other puzzles, there is no walkthrough, but you can look at the source code if you want to spoil some of the solutions for yourself.

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