Domestic Elementalism - fireisnormal


Interesting. It’s a good description of what I assume the core gameplay mechanic is going to be. Not sure exactly how it’ll work out, but I’m expecting shenanigans.

General Impressions:

This game is a delight, simple as. Honestly, I was apprehensive going in, since fantasy set in a modern setting is far from my favourite, but the game very quickly won me over. The puzzles were comprehensible, the transmutation mechanic was very fun, and the writing was charming. That the game ends with you going around hugging your purring house was, well… a delight. No other word for it.

The Good:

  • The game’s scope. It’s a very small game, with a very small number of rooms. I appreciated that. Getting lost in a sprawling maze isn’t often my idea of a good time. I always knew where I was and what I wanted to do.
  • The conceit. Being presented with a magically messed up house and the ability to transmute things to put it right is a fun way to go about designing puzzles. Each item being, in actuality, multiple items added depth to both the puzzles and the worldbuilding. The magic system in the game is just neat.
  • Gradually introducing the magic system. Limiting the ways that you can transmute items at first is very smart. Not only is is a good way to gate off certain solutions to puzzles until later in the game, it also allows the player to become accustomed to the magic system without being presented with a huge number of bewildering options from the get-go. Good design, that.
  • The writing. Again… it’s delightful. A television that shows you video of kittens to indicate that it’s happy is adorable.
  • The UI. At first, I couldn’t understand why this wasn’t implemented as a parser game. But as I picked up items and began to turn them into other things, it became clear that having an inventory system like the one implemented was a very good thing. It was much less cumbersome than a parser inventory would have been, and clearer, too.

The Bad:

  • The UI. I got a bit stuck at one point (trying to cool the lava) because of the UI. I missed that I could pick up the ice in the fire room. Just didn’t see the button. I think I was focusing on the room text (parser game habits) and wasn’t seeing an option to pick the ice up there, so I missed it. The option was at the bottom of the screen, of course - I just wasn’t looking there. Silly of me. I eventually had to resort to the walkthrough. When it said to pick up the ice, I took a closer look at the room and noticed the button. Which had been there the entire time. This wasn’t the only time that I missed buttons that appeared at the bottom of the screen, either - I kept looking for the option in the text itself. Maybe that’s me just being inattentive, but I wish that the UI somehow made the options I missed pop out at me a bit better.


I really liked this game! I appreciate a game that I can keep straight in my head, especially one with a novel gameplay element and fun writing. And my UI issues are certainly more on me than the UI itself. In any case, they didn’t impact my enjoyment of the game one bit.[/spoiler]

Twitch playthrough (note that there are some echo audio problems that get especially bad towards the end. Sorry!)

I really loved this game. I thought that the custom UI really worked well together with the concept, the puzzles, and the story. I was especially impressed because I’ve been hard-pressed to find a custom UI that has worked even as well as the standard market parsers, let alone better than them. As far as the game itself, I had a blast in the setting, and I loved the overall tone. It felt like a world I’ve love to relax and visit, and I appreciated seeing everything come together in the end (although the penultimate ending did elude me). These are the sorts of games that I really love seeing when I come to IFComp.

I’m only bummed out that I had such audio problems during the recording.

I have posted a review here:

  • Jack