Review: Afflicted

(With this game on one side and EctoComp on the other, my IFComp will be nicely squeezed in between horror goodness. A great short horror/slice of life… Afflicted - Details (ifdb.org))

Lend me a hand, now won’t you?

The gruesome horrors a sanitary inspector must endure on the job may be exactly what you needed to face what awaits in “Nikolai’s Bar & Grill”.

The further you penetrate into this foulest of restaurants in what is already the foulest part of town, the more gag-worthy the anti-hygienic offences become. But there’s something else lurking… Something older and bloodier…

Afflicted hits the ground running. Immediately the player finds even the simplest of commands (X and NOTE) garner great rewards, in the form of detailed and creative descriptions of just how disgusting this restaurant really is. This was so much fun I purposely held off on triggering the second part of the game to open yet another pot of stinking stew or examining another grease stained grill.

The first part of the game is so packed full of hints that the genre-turn in the second part doesn’t come as a surprise. This was a great source of anticipatory pleasure for me, as I was imagining the unholy things I would have to do in the endgame.

The player gets a lot of freedom in the endgame (and even before that, if she chooses to leave early). There are multiple endings, good or bad depending on personal taste. I chose to go for a dark-good ending.

The characters don’t have much to say, but they are lovingly (ahem) described and play their role well.

Although Afflicted has a small and constrained map, there are a few surprises during the exploration. The surroundings are also so full of things to look at that the map feels bigger than its number of rooms.

Apart from some disambiguation issues I found the game to be very nicely implemented, having layers of foulness on top of buckets of gellified grease.

Lots of fun, very well written.

8 Likes