On my blog: review of 'Tales of the Soul Thief'

I finally finished reviewing the last in my list from IntroComp 2014. (I was going back-and-forth alphabetically; I played the first and then the last, and then the next-to-first and then the next-to-last.)

I’m sure nobody cares about last year’s IntroComp by now, but I still want to call out my review of David Whyld’s “Tales of the Soul Thief” – because I loved the game, sketchy and under-implemented as the intro version is. I’ve been wanting to talk about it as a serious high fantasy story ever since playing it to judge the competition, but it ended up on the bottom of my list. It took me so long to get through all the reviews. I try to do things thoroughly even if it literally takes me all year, but of course I would be a better person if I knew how to sit down and get one thing done. :blush:

The other thing from IntroComp 2014 that I wanted to talk about – that I didn’t really see other blogs cover directly so much – is religion in “The Cuckold’s Egg”, which I’ve also now done my soap box moment on.

I don’t know about anybody else, but I certainly care about last year’s IntroComp. Though in this case, I do have an ulterior motive.

Thanks for taking the time to review my game. It seemed to get quite a bit of positive feedback during the comp but didn’t place in the top three, so I guess the reviewers preferred it to the voters.

As for some of the points you raised:

Originally, I was going to make the soul-stealing ability a permanent effect: once the victim’s soul was stolen, it was gone for good and could never be recovered. But that seemed a little too evil for my liking. The player certainly isn’t the classic hero figure you generally get in sword and sorcery games, but neither did I want her to become the villain of the piece, and effectively scarring innocent people for life was definitely too close to the villain side of things – even when you’re running for your life and have your back against the wall, it doesn’t give you the right to indiscriminately harm innocent people. So I scaled things back and made soul-stealing a temporary loss as opposed to a permanent one.

But I guess there could be other soul-stealers in the world whose abilities aren’t quite so temporary…

As for the intro being a crude sketch? Yes, I can see where that impression comes from. There was a lot more I intended to do with TotST, but the IntroComp deadline crept up on me a lot quicker than I expected. One moment, I had a few months left; the next, the deadline was a week away and a good deal of what I wanted to do was still undone. So yeah, I had to quickly tie up a lot of loose ends, block off parts of the game that weren’t ready and cut back a lot of what was there in order to get everything done in time. The end scene in Malakar’s Museum was meant to be a lot longer, and have different outcomes depending on which souls you had at the time, but that all got cut.

One day, I’m hoping to finish this game off but for the time being it’s kind of on the back burner while I work on Best Laid Plans (which is my previous IntroComp entry. Yeah, I’m really bad at getting these things finished.)

It seems we experience the same enslavement to the onslaught of time.

I could have been more helpful by explaining why I felt the implementation was only a “vague sketch,” but ironically I was burned out and I just wanted to finish the review. I think this parallelism is seriously funny.

Definitely. I think in fantasy it’s less about morally complicated protagonists than about how the dreadful power affects the protagonist and the people affected by the protagonist. I think the way the terror and the painful consequences of the power are shown to affect the protagonist influences whether or not the protagonist becomes evil (either literally in the story or in the reader’s opinion) and the overall sympathy.

I thought your review of The Cuckold’s Egg was very interesting. I should give it a play through.

Great to see this completed, and great to see David working to get his IntroComp games done!

Reminds me I need to look more into Scroll Thief, which I really liked, but my testing concentrated on the start. I think it was a really strong field last year, and if even one game is finished, that is a win.

Did any of the games get finished in the end? I know I shouldn’t be the one pointing fingers here given my past record for not finishing IntroComp games, but it’d be nice if some of them saw the light of day eventually.