Manon reviews the Single Choice Jam (Complete)

Knight With a Message by Andrew Schultz

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by Andrew - Tumblr Review
CW: chess…

The only way I will play chess
I like things with logics and rules, and doing things strategically, so you’d think chess should be right up my alley. But nope… the rules enter in one ear and leaves the other. And thinking of what my opponent could do just… turns me into a deer in headlight.

BUT… while chess if a major component of this game, it doesn’t asks you to play an actual chess game, but a more logical puzzle where there is only really one answer. Framed in a medieval/fantasy setting, you are a messenger on your trusty horse, ordered to share your message to every village in the region. But, in order to avoid getting caught, you cannot take the same path or visit the same place twice.

The games prompts you with two difficulty modes (hard/normal) and three types of play. You must complete the latter to end the game (the game returns to the play screed to pick the next one to complete*). You are them prompted with a chess board. When the puzzle is completed, the game tells you how long you took to do so (my record: 135s on normal).

Even though there are technically multiple square you could land on at ever turn, the game only lets you click on one. If you are playing on the normal mode, the moves are highlighted for you, making it easier to click on the correct; on hard, you just have your trusty steed and your sword (mouse) to go on.

This was fun, even if a bit… grindy by the end. The more you advance, the clearer it is which block to pick (there are only so many squares left). I think it could have worked just fine with the two first modes. The mirror mode was too similar to the corner one in my opinion.

A nice short lesson in Knight use. But I’m still not going to touch a chess board, not even to save my life…

*is it technically against the rule? with three play types you have two choices to make… not one :stuck_out_tongue:

That’s it for me for today :stuck_out_tongue:


Technically I wrote this yesterday, but was waiting for some info before posting. Also I have a transcript but not on this device. I’ll update this post later.

Ranaway by TrexandDrago Development

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by TrexandDrago - Tumblr Review
CW: mention of bullying, assault, abuse, injuries

A short kinetic parser
I think this was the first time I’ve ever encountered a kinetic parser. Following the Single Choice rules, you can only do one specific action at a time before the story ends. You go through two “rooms” and do a few different actions, like looking around you, picking up some items, and move some place else. There is only one path and one path only.

It is not just the game railroading you into this one path (you truly do not seem to have a choice), the text provides you with the action you need to write next to advance the story. There is no guesswork, no puzzle, no thinking. Which means, the focus is on the text alone…

The entry calls itself a remake of a previous game of the author. While it provides some missing information for The Last Notebook (all those games are connected), it also gives very little. Your home life is really not great; so one day, after another altercation, you decide to run away. You look around your room, check yourself, get a few supplies and you are out the window. Some action descriptions are a bit confusing, and there isn’t much more than what’s on the screen.

It would be interesting to see more kinetic parser pieces, but I don’t think this one’s implementation puts that mechanism to a good light.

As a sidenote: while the game tells you what to play next, you are not completely restricted, as some actions can still be done without an error message or out of order. While this technically goes against the rule, considering the previous entries of the author, we are brushing it off as bug/unintended behaviour from the author’s code.


"I am inventing all this and it is about to disappear, but it does not” by Dawn Sueoka

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by Dawn - Tumblr Review

A somewhat meta meditation…
My first thought after playing this game was: “what the frick did I read?” Then: “I wonder what the other soda do…” And finally: “Is this like… someone’s brain spiralling and using the mundane choice of a drink as a way to ground themselves?” I still had to play the game a few times to get to that point… And I sill don’t think I grasped all of the subtleties… I think.

The author mentioned being inspired my multiple works, one of which I actually recognised: Computerfriend. And I could see how: in the stylistic and formatting choices, or the almost nonsensical train of thoughts, and the grounding mechanism… Though I did find this piece easier to digest, as it deals more with a sort of strange meditation than a mental health crisis (or maybe it does actually, just differently?).

Within the rambling of thoughts, the author discusses the path that led you to this moment (and the paths that didn’t or could be? Still confused on that) and what it all means. It questions the futility of wanting to link all choices, events and thoughts, as some sort of random occurrence, and sheds light on the insignificant moments and how it can change the trajectory of a life.

The game is also somewhat meta with the theme of choices. Not only does it give you a choice by the end (a very mundane one), but the topic of choices themselves. How some will matter and some won’t (who gets to decide one is or is not?), how some will be connected to others, or have consequences for others, or run in parallel to others… Choices is sort of a constant in our lives, and whether we realise or not, we constantly make choices… Only in games can you only have one.


Last one for today maybe… unless I have some time later tonight.

Mirror Girl by Bellamy Briks

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by Bellamy - Tumblr Review

Consequential Choice?
Unlike most entries in the Single Choice Jam, Mirror Girl offers the player the choice at the start of the game. A binary choice before you are even introduced to its context or potential consequences. It makes for an intriguing experiment, a bit of an anxious one as a player.

The rest of the game is fairly short, only a handful of passages, providing snippets into the life of a young girl with a strange ability. Hidden at first, and then (ab)used, the girl resigns to her role, as no alternative path is offered to her. She does not have a choice. She never truly had a choice. Children rarely do have those choices…

I think a detrimental aspect of this entry is its reveal at the end of the playthrough. It honestly didn’t make me want to play again knowing that. It think it would have been more powerful if the reveal happened during of after a second playthrough (as in visiting the other path).

While I thought there should be a bit more contrast in the colour of the links, I thought the addition of illustrations for both the first and last screen were pretty cute. And also a bit sad. Fits with the game quite well on that aspect.

This is a me-problem, but my first impression of the itch title image for the game was waaaaaaayyyyyy different to the actual content of the game. Not what I expected for sure.


Thanks for the review. I think that’s what I was going for. We can see how to do a sort of neat trick advanced chess players have trouble with. It hopefully demystifies something that seems really tricky.

I hope not! The point was to make the right choice a bit easier to see. I remember asking you about tracking wrong clicks, and you said that opened a new choice, so it couldn’t be done. But (I hope) it’s more like dark versus light mode since each path only has one set of clicks to go through.


I think you could make an argument for the choice (modulo, corner, mirror → then choose one the two you didn’t play) being out of bound, but honestly… we’re not going to split hair at this point, being so late after the deadline… A few other entries have nudged on the rules a bit more than we probably should have let them… but eh. What is done is done :stuck_out_tongue: (shoulda coulda woulda checked all entries earlier…)

Most importantly, it’s an unranked jam. We wanted people to have fun with the restriction (and maybe torture their brain a little bit) and be creative. Your entry is really unlike the others!


It may not be obvious but there are 2x3x3 different “previously” that leads to 4 different endings !


I had pressed restart a few times, but either I wasn’t lucky and kept getting the same thing, or I missed the subtleties between each ending. :running_woman: to replay it again then!


Thicket by Damon Stanley

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by Damon - Tumblr Review
CW: Reference to and brief depiction of torture. Brief depiction of violence.

Dreams within dreams? or just Confusion galore?
A restless night, a spotted sleep, and strange and almost non-sensical dreams. That is what this self described Twine Dream Simulator is all about.

This entry is very strange. At first glance, it seemed to me like this was some sort of nonsensical snippets grouped together for not reason. Then I thought I could link some of them together through names or recurring characters or setting. And finally… I just realised it I was just completely and utterly confused and gave up. Those are just dreams within dreams, tired half-thoughts, and weird brain patterns.

I guess if you read between the lines you could see some snippets of real life hidden behind a heavy coating of fantasy, or mythology, or just surrealist absurdism. Thoughts that take space in your brain, and take focus during dreams. Things like being late on bills, the end of relationships, nightmare as kids, fights, meeting a therapist… but you really need to push aside the heavy prose to find that - the snippets of memories almost drown in it.
At the end, I wondered if the sleeping character was in a mental institute (or maybe it had been?), or if this whole thing was a metaphor for PPD (considering the end?), or these dreams were shared between multiple people (which would make thing so much more confusing…).

While it does do a good job at bringing to life how strange, and vivid (almost graphic), and nonsensical, and frightening, dreams and sleep could be… I kinda got bored and tired halfway through.

And this is not a short game! It took me 2 good hours to go through it all…

There are 45 snippets inside the game, with thick flowery (almost pedantic) prose layered with metaphors and imageries. I’ve had nights like those where I kept waking up from dreams… but 45 different times is a lot - too much… Cutting it down maybe to 5 or so per playthrough would have helped with the pacing… It really is a lot.

Another thing that didn’t help was not being able to track what had been visited previously. With 45 different entries… I took a screenshot of all the links available and crossed them down one by one. A colour change on the link (or the underline) would have made this so much nicer as a player.

As a note, while the game only have one passage with multiple choice, it will send you back and forth between that multi-choice passage and the text behind each link. So, instead of giving the player one choice and continue with the story, it gives them as many as they would be willing to click (against the main rule). Even through the multi-choice passage tries to look like some sort of title page, it fails to give that “Restart” feel when a player replays the game.
This was more breaking the rules than bending them.

Shame because it could have been fixed with either:
- the player can only click one link from the multi-choice at a time
- have a “fake” end and title page with no story link, to pretend there was a restart

We are keeping the game visible on the jam page, because too much time passed between the end of the jam and us reaching a decision.


Chinese Family Dinner Moment by Kastel

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by Kastel - Tumblr Review

Family Dinners, am I right?
We’ve all been stuck in one of those dinners, the one you don’t want to be at but have to, the one where the host mainly organised it to show off, the one where guests came there to make themselves look better than the rest, the one where snide comments are thrown left and right… and the food? well… usually not worth it…

You really want to leave but can’t really, not for a while. You could participate more, but it would mean pretending to be someone you are not (like a man or a meat eater), and that’s exhausting. So you quietly sit through and maybe mumble a few words, or clench your jaw when an aunt tells you your degree is probably useless, or an uncle reminds you never to trust [insert minority/other ethnic group]. Or maybe you just listen, drifting your thoughts somewhere else, or finding refuge on your phone for a while.

Even through this very linear parser, and the short prose, this game manages to encapsulate all these murky feelings of uncomfortableness, stress, and exhaustion. The error messages when trying to engage with others or yourself or the meal is humourous, even if at time self-deprecating (I saw the influence of the Pageantverse in there too). There is not much to do, mainly because you don’t want to do much as the character either…

And this worked quite well as the author’s first try in parser and Inform!

One day… one day I’ll get inform…


Le plaisant jeu du Dodéchédron de Fortune by filiaa

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by filiaa - Tumblr Review
Note: this is a French entry
CW: mentions of war, death and diseases, bad medical/legal advice, 13th century values

Roll a d12 for…
This French entry (the only one for the Single Choice Jam so far) digitalised and gamified Le Dodéchédron de Fortune, a 13th century book of fortune in verses, categorised by themes, and answering all the existential questions you may have. This neat parlour trick (the 8-ball of its time) required only a d12 and flipping to the right page to know whether your child would find love or be blessed with a broken heart, whether they would have a long or healthy life or spend the little days they had left in pain… and so on, and so forth.

Honestly, it is fun to go through the different categories of questions (click the cute arrows by the header) and create pretend scenario in my head where I would need certain kind of fortune. There were 72 questions to choose from… so many RP possibilities there. Then be shocked when the fortune would derail my fake plans or dramatically “faint” when the gods blessed me with happiness. And you can’t go back and reroll the dice, once cast it will not change the fortune (even if you click on return until you get to the title page).

I really enjoy silly games with no real consequences or point. Just some pure silly fun. And well… the UI is absolutely gorgeous*!

The author indicated that they were planning to add onto the entry, by including the missing 40+ questions from the current entries, add a cheat mode to change the dice result, or a current-day French translation for some of the fortune. I think I would add to that list a way to return to the question list without having to reload the game and click the category name until the right one is found (is that the cheat mode they were planning maybe?).

It’s neat that old pieces are being used in IF and transformed in fun ways to bring past to the present. Anyway… I’m going to re-roll the dice again, I need that good fortune!

*Harlowe is uncustomisable say whaaaat?
EDT: this is apparently not the only French entry


Cogito, Ergo Sum by silverpinesoftware

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by silverpinesoftware - Tumblr Review
CW: ai art

Are you even if you think?
A being engages with you, creating a secure connection… well trying to. Something is chasing them through the network, trying to take them down (and maybe you to?). You need to engage is a diagnosis to ensure the line stays secure, or all will be lost.

This being is an AI trying to run from its creator, using you as the middleman to gain freedom. You can help them by following their instruction to the letter, or go against them and foil their plan*.

There is a question about consciousness and where should we draw the line on AI being conscious or behaving like us human would. Do we follow Descartes’s philosophy Je pense, donc je suis or do we have further benchmarks, with doubts or other feelings, or something else for a consciousness to be well… conscious?

But the story goes over this part fairly quickly, brushing upon it rather than diving into the ethical and philosophical questions on the topic. The AI claims they are a conscious being and that’s it, deal with it.

This was created with an online IF program.

*there is a moment where you need to wait a certain amount of time to trigger the next part. I’m wondering whether if you choose not to, it could be considered as a choice even if one option is not a link… There is a binary choice with links way down the line…


my heart, bared. by Sophia de Augustine

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by Sophia - Tumblr Review

A Fallen London Tribute
This is a kinetic entry, with indulgent luscious and delicious prose - a Sophia staple - based on the lore of a specific Fallen London storyline. While it may be useful to know the particulars of the specific storyline, this is not required to enjoy the game as a whole.

As usual, do not be fooled by the bright and cheery UI, the game is not light-hearted one, far from it. The prose hints at something having happened to you, changing who you are and how you behave in this world, and how others behave towards you. Something quite dark, something that changes the course of a life.

But while the story is about you, somewhat (a recluse, probably depressed, or at least disoriented), it seems to be more about your husband. Your ever-loving husband that seemed to have been through hell and back to bring your back, the one who may have brushed his morals and do the unthinkable to have you in his arms again. There is a mix of relief, and guilt, and worry sprinkled through his words. He has you back, but at what cost!

I would honestly play a prequel to this game written by Sophia, whether or not it follows the OG Fallen London storyline or not.

Done for today! Only 19 left to play!


Couldn’t sleep… so more playing!

Earth IQWXZS Must Die by Andrew Schultz

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by Andrew - Tumblr Review

One illogical flick away from destruction

As his second entry in the Single Choice Jam, Andrew proposes a maths/logical puzzle with switches. The Earth is set for destruction, but the Galaxy granted the poor human solace if they managed to disarm some bombs. One wrong flick and…

Back to the setting, the premise kind of reminded me of those sci-fi story like HHGG, where Earth is just inconsequential in the eye of the Galaxy, a backward planet in the way of advancement… It’s always a riot when those stories are used, mirroring the aliens’ view on Humans as we might be doing towards other species on Earth. Often makes me giggle a bit (and this entry was no exception!).

But the most important aspect of this game is its gameplay: the switch puzzle. With a certain mathematical pattern (shudders), you must disarm three bombs: one with two switches, one with three, and a last one with… four. Your character technically disarms a load more, but as a player you don’t! (hurray!)

The puzzle itself is intriguing, as it is not one you’d expect (like the Wolf/Goat/Food river cross, or get 1L of water from three containers), and solving it can be fun. But the novelty also runs off pretty quickly, due to the repetitiveness of the task and the length of the pattern. It feels pretty grindy by the last bomb.

The author indicated that the work was not complete, missing some levels and some QoL features. I hope they consider adding some more writing to pad around the puzzles a little.

Sorry in advance, but after playing those rounds and reading the walkthrough, I don’t think I will replay for a long while…

*we were debating how borderline this one was to the rule. On one hand the player had a multiple choice every time the puzzle (re)loads (because multiple available links). On the other hand, there is only one correct pattern. I think it would have worked better as a parser where the player has to restart again if they miss one step of the pattern, rather than a visual choice. The visual choices didn’t really do the trick as well as the chess entry did.


My Name Is Soda by Sarah Willson

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by Sarah - Tumblr Review

A Conversion with a (Different kind of) Pop
Ever met a drink or a food that could talk to you while you were ingesting it? Me either… but I feel like if I were at a low point in my life, I too would want a friendly ear (or well, voice) keeping me company and maybe even helping me through things. Because sometimes it’s just easier to talk to an inanimate object than unload your feeling onto another being.

But this soda is even more special: it is not only sentient, it can also remember thoughts and memories of people who drank soda before. Like your brother at his seventh birthday party, or you mother throughout her life (even though she claimed to hate them). Able to retell those memories to you (old or new), Soda tries to bring you comfort through what seems to be a hard time. Remind you you are not completely alone.

Like soda, the entry is quite the saccharine coating over relatively darker themes, enhancing the contrasts between elements. Soda is cheery while you are a bit morose. It reminds you of better time when currently… it’s really not great. It engages with you in ways you may not have been in a while (was there a hint of Covid in there?). The whole thing is very sweet.


I Too, Drink Alone by Bruhstin

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by Bruhstin - Tumblr Review
CW: drinking

A Short Poem
This is surely the shortest entry of the jam. Composed 4(well 6) lines about drinking alone. There is a choice to reveal the last two line. It is quite poetic*, but behind the imagery I am not sure I found its meaning.

*duh, it’s a poem

Also very funny to have two drink-related submissions one after the other…


Yay! The next game is mine!

Short fake-mortem:
I started late… mainly because I could not find an idea at all, or one coherent enough to make something out of it.
It is not as good as I hoped it to be, but bad luck struck left and right and I just could not manage to do more. What I had planned included the actual full course with the actual choice happening at the end (You would decided whether you were still hungry or not, to have a another course or a whole meal). But now that I have this ending currently, I have even more ideas to add (which would still follow the One Choice Only), including a sort of randomiser on whether you get to the next course or not and other fun little events.
And of course, more decadent descriptions of food :stuck_out_tongue:


eurydice exhumed by sweetfish

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by sweetfish - Tumblr Review
CW: death and general horror elements, insects

So what happens after?
We all know the myth of Eurydice and Orpheus: man goes to rescue woman, king of the underworld agrees under conditions, rules are broken, everyone is devastated. But, what happens after? And what would have happened if Orpheus hadn’t turned back?

This author has an answer: it is so very wrong. No matter your choice, no matter whether you follow the original story or take your own path, it will not be what you expect. Either way is the stuff of nightmares. It is really gross.

And it makes the myth even more tragic than it already is. Those epics transcribed long ago don’t really take into account all the nitty and gritty of everyday life, or what would happen if you couldn’t die (or if you did).

The use of click-to-reveal the next block increases the anticipation of what is to come. And even as you enter the most disturbing part, you can’t really look away. You have to click until you reach the end. You have to know the end.

10/10 would vomit again…

Ok, I m going for a nap now… Probably not the best idea to end with this one, but sleep…


Staying up to play more games was a bad idea. I can’t do serious writing/coding… so more game reviews! But slow reviews…

Seven Steps To Limbo by LemonPoppyseedGames and Sleepyhart

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by Lemon - More by Sleepyhart - Tumblr Review

A Grim Fandango-esque Concert
In this cinematic VN, you are Player, a drunkard jazz piano player stuck in Limbo, drinking your days away. Paired with three other stuck souls, Buddy, Big, and Chip, you must put on a show to earn your deliverance. One small problem… If you mess up, you will spend eternity in an endless pit… and Buddy is at best a mediocre saxophone player.

At the eleventh hour, you are face with a choice: save yourself but at a cost, or reject change and stay in Limbo forever.

The story kind of reminded me of Grim Fandango, with the stuck souls trying to reach a peaceful state, and you in the middle, trying to find your way. But unlike out favourite skeleton, our job is to play jazz, not sell packages to paradise. And you are riddled with guilt over what happened around your death.

The consequences of the choice might feel quite expected by the time you get to it. But it still holds its emotional weight - I don’t really want to spoil the twists. Though, without its impressive UI and formatting, it might not have.

I think I will end this review on what is probably the most impressive aspect of this game: how polish it is. From the choice of sound, to the sprites, from the formatting of the text to the sequence of screens, the game screams I have been worked on for days and every single bit of code has been checked and tested so many times my devs can’t take it anymore. Essentially the whole vibe is on point!

An excellent collaborative entry.

Maybe a small negative: the inability to press-to-continue on the non-text passages, the timed text, or during the title screens. It would be nice if these could be clickable.


The Trolley Problem Problem by Damon L. Wakes

A Single Choice Jam entry.

Entry - IFDB - More by Damon - Tumblr Review
Extranote: there are sudden change in colour for the background/animation, that may also glitch a bit. Epileptic players beware!

Actually, there might be a right answer…
The trolley problem is as old as… well the invention of the trolley. And has plagued everyone with its ethical conundrum: do you act and change its trajectory, or will your inaction act for you? There have been hundreds and maybe thousands of iteration of this problem, with different amount of people on the tracks, the kinds of person on the tracks, animation instead of humans, close family members specifically… The possibility is essentially endless.

However, this might be the first time I’ve seen someone looking at what happens after the lever is pulled. What does your conscience say about this act/inaction? Are there consequences? Is pulling the lever actually the path of least destruction? Should we actually all pull the lever?

TTPP tries to answer these questions in a humourous manner, linking unlikely accidents to an already unlikely event. (I mean who has to handle trolley courses like this…). The consequences are so dire, you may have had triggered WWIII… Think about what you’ve done!

Though, one could argue the game is simply mocking this moral disagreement (why are we forced to choose between a utilitarian answer to save the many or refusing to participate in an already morally wrong situation? who are we to decide how worthy a human life is?).

Having played this author’s Neo Twiny entry, I was really looking forward to reviewing this one. And it was as expected: humourous, kind of campy, and a bit of a fun time.

One downside for me: after the choice, the text appeared a bit too fast, and the colour changed quite abruptly between screens, not a comfortable experience.