(A magician’s backstory. Very good use of a single thoughtful action. If you can think of it in time… The Act of Misdirection - Details (ifdb.org))
Tip o’ the Top Hat
The Great Meldellevo ends his magic show with an unforeseen and, honestly, quite gruesome finale. While he runs away memories of how his career began flash through his mind…
The magic show is a marvel of finetuned implementation. It is possible to rush through with a few well-chosen commands, following the game’s nudges. Far more satisfying however is to savour the moment and give the audience a real show for their money. (And give yourself, PC ànd player, a healthy dose of adrenalin and smugness…)
The following flashback to “Meldevello”'s humble origin is a rather railroaded vignette. There is one all-important choice to make, which determines the protagonist’s fate. Whether this option is even available depends on certain actions during the magic show. Replaying once you understand what I am referring to will almost certainly heighten your appreciation of this game.
I found the pacing of The Act of Misdirection somewhat unevenly balanced.
Act I, the magic show, requires the player to explicitly give the right commands for the following step to the PC. While the game does nudge you forward, sometimes the nudges were not enough for me. Being stuck in this part, searching for the appropriate action, breaks the tempo and the thrill of the performance.
Quite the opposite is true of Act II. Here I wanted to loiter in places, taking my time to study my surroundings and especially to talk about all manner of topics. In this part though, the game seemed so eager to drag me along with the story that half a command was often enough to trigger the next scene.
Taken together, the occurences at the magic performance and the explanations in the flashback make for a fragmented, shiver-inducing short horror-tale. A story that takes a while before all the bits to fall into place.
Worth playing, and replaying at least once.