Reviewing the Locus Jam ~Travelling to places~ Trip is over!

It has been a couple of days since the Locus Jam ended, so it’s grand time I start playing them!

15 little games about spots, places, room… and locus :stuck_out_tongue:

You can find all entries here:

(I’ve even participated this time!~)


Lol not me again starting a review thread and disappearing… :woman_facepalming:

Usually I do from oldest submission to newer on… so let’s do the reverse this time!
Starting with…

Elysium, by Ethersic

Chosen locus: Elysium (realm of death in Greek Mythology)

Elysium is an almost kinetic-like entry with only two choices available to you, and one only truly affecting the ending (of which there are two). You are a fallen warrior gifted an eternity in paradise – of which you do not believe to be worthy. Violent snippets of your deeds haunt your mind, as you struggle with the disconnect between recompensed actions and motivations behind those actions.

There are many heroes that came to mind while reading this entry (which affected my choice of pronouns for your lover, who dies before you), as Greek Mythology can be pretty violent and bloody… But I’m glad our identity was kept a secret, so I could fill in who I wanted it to be. (FINE I PICKED ACHILLES AND PATROCLUS OK)

I would have wished to be able to let our conundrum stew a bit longer before making the final choice, but this was a last-minute entry, so I can’t fault the author for keeping it short.

It was neat.

Just one too many choice to make it a SingleChoice :joy:


La Maldición del Cruce, by Ibis Interactive, was submitted in Spanish only (for now), and my Spanish is not good enough at all to review it properly. :crossed_fingers: we get an English release soon so I can actually get what’s happening :joy:

The Pit, by Guy Elder

Chosen locus: a pit, a big ol’ hole

The Pit is a text-only story made in Ren’Py, where you wake up inside a pit, not remembering how you got there or why your whole body hurt. Stuck, with nowhere to go, you try your best to assess your state or try to recall anything that could have led you in this situation. Later on, you can even explore a bit.

Though there isn’t much you can do to save yourself, the interesting bit in this entry is trying to figure out what happened to you. Especially in Chapter 1, you are given quite a bit of options to explore this mystery. Except you are limited in your choices (3-4, I think?) before the story moves on. You only get bits and pieces at a time, never truly see the whole picture.

Pretty creepy.


The Yard, by Bryanna

Chosen locus: a yard/garden

The Yard is a short piece made in Unity where you play as a dog trapped in a yard. Not well treated by your owner (made best obvious by your visual condition), you are left with three different actions: bark at passers-by or to get your owner’s attention, whine, or wiggle your tail. After some time (number of action), the game will trigger an ending. There are supposedly 3 endings, I think I only found one.

There are some little issues with the formatting of the game, with the text covering the whole screen in a way that you can’t read everything, making the (Re)Play button disappear. I am also not quite sure how to trigger any of the other endings either (I’ve tried doing just one kind of action, mixes of both, etc… it seems to always end the same way).

But really, it’s honestly super sad… You feel hopeless while playing the game, at the mercy of your owner and passers-by who seemingly do nothing for you. And the greyscale interface really adds to that depressing vibe.


Nobody Cares About Charley, by PetricakeGames-IF

Chosen locus: Employee breakroom

Nobody Cares About Charley is a slice-of-life story where you play as an unnamed employee of some retail big store during your measly lunch break. During that time, you ponder about your life and this job, when your thoughts turns again and again back to Charley, a colleague of yours who recently went missing, and who nobody seems to care about anymore. There are four endings you can achieve.

This was such a bittersweet game. The way the disappearance of your coworker is portrayed, learning piece by piece what happened the past few weeks as you go about your lunch break, the grief of losing someone not particularly close to you but still filled a regular part of your day, and the way nobody else but you seems to care about this. It is heartbreaking to see how everyone’s attention and energy toward the case dwindles over time. Like, Charley’s last lunch bag is still in the shared fridge, untouched, weeks since anyone saw them.

I liked how your actions around the breakroom (i.e. how you fill your lunch break) seem to affect in a way how you are still processing the event. Choosing to bother taking care of last remains, finding connections in the wild… or simply ignoring the signs, like everyone seems to be doing.

Got a bit teary eyed at the end.


Blossom, NY, by alyshkalia

Chosen locus: the titular city of Blossom, NY

Welcome to Blossom, NY! Glad you could make it! Let’s start the tour, shall we?

Blossom, NY is a cute explorative Twine piece in which you are guided through the titular town, and learn about its history through snapshots of the different buildings (real ones from the author!). I really liked the enthusiastic tone of the guide telling me about all of it, with commentaries from the author intertwined here and there. And that every page was neatly listed at the end of the game, so you wouldn’t miss a thing.

It was cool to see IF as an educational tool, and I got to learn some neat stuff about a tiny little town today.


Terminal Point, by Strange Lantern Productions

Chosen Locus : Limbo?

Terminal Point is a mostly linear Visual Novel, where you find Cassie dozing in a bus, realising that something isn’t quite right with the bus itself, or where they are going (not anywhere, the bus isn’t moving). They also meet a colourful small cast of characters, each trying to help in their own ways.

The blurb says it is a story about grief and heartbreak, and you really do feel that with the Cassie’s reluctance to accept their fate at the start (twice they need to be told they are dead, though it might not be on purpose), or dealing with past experiences. It is very bittersweet in the way things develop in the game, and very touching (the voicemail pinched my heart a bit).
I liked this one quite a bit.


College Fever, by Pawz

Chosen Locus: college grad bedroom.

College Fever is a short slice-of-life story where you, a recently graduated art student, are back home ruminating about your life situation and the different feelings one can have. It is a fairly short and linear piece with a handful of choices exploring those different feelings, like the nostalgia for more exciting days, the fear of not being ahead enough, the guilt of being unable to do things…

I found myself relating with those feelings, remembering my post-college days, seeing things work out and some other not. It can be a pretty depressing period.


Aethers End, by Pest

Chosen Locus: A small spaceship

Aethers End is a relatively short sci-fi Twine game where you play as an astronaut in deep space, and worst still: in a broken ship. Adrift, with no way to safety, and completely alone… except you might not be? In your final moment, an unlikely being reaches out to you. There is truly no way out, but you might find comfort in the end?

I am very afraid of death, and anything reminding me of my mortality makes me anxious as hell. But this was so nicely written, strangely poetic. The choice of your name and that being is quite a smart nod (which is pointed out in the writing). And the minimalist illustrations are equally creepy and grabbing.

This was neat!


Ghost Hunt, by solipsistgames

Chosen Locus: a locked room full of stuff

Ghost Hunt is a puzzle game made in Twine where the goal is to catch a ghost inside a locked as quick as possible. Take too long and it will scare you instead! Each playthrough randomise the location of the ghost, but it is always hidden inside of an item. Sounds easy? There are many items in the room. At least two dozen hiding spots. And so very little time. See that creepy eye at the top of the page?

But not to worry! There are levels of difficulty, giving you either more clue or more time to help you find the ghost. This game is as much about your reading skills (and figure out what are red herrings and actual clues) as it is about luck (the ghost can really be anywhere in the room). Waste your time in the wrong direction (or send yourself to the otherwise of the room by mistake), and you’re toast! This really makes for an exciting gameplay!

While the concept of the game is fun (baring my anxiety for timed quests), I had a lot of troubles navigating the room. And figuring out what was where (I gave up on remembering which item was where, too many to stick). The game uses two different type of directions: absolute (coupled to a micro minimalist map, ex: top-left corner) and relative (to where you are, ex: left), which you can toggle in the settings. Still, with either, I found myself quite confused about where I was in the room most of the time (you can’t always return to the last location). It also became problematic when I would click on a link and it would send me to the complete opposite side of the room.
A map with indication of the main furniture (rather than single square blocks), at least for the easiest difficulties, would help a ton to navigate through the room! Maybe even include a NESW form of direction?

I can’t imagine how hard it would be on higher difficulties… I gave up after finding the ghost once! And it took me 15 tries… on Easy.


PARANOIA, by Charm Cochran

Chosen Locus: a testing room.
(Note: This game has been submitted to the Parsercomp!)

PARANOIA is a short spot-the-difference parser, where you are tested on your attention and memory skills. Set in a testing chambers, you are tasked to spot differences between the first version of the room and any other potential changes between rounds. You will need 13 correct answers in a row to finish the game. But if you make a mistake, you’re right back at 0.

The game is pretty easy, with the differences quite obvious (or at least the one I got): something appears or disappears, something looks different, something sounds different. While you can use all your senses, I got by with only examining the room (and even, it didn’t feel necessary, I just went and double-checked just in case). If it hadn’t been made in just a week, I would have wished there were a bit more of the less-obvious differences.
EDIT: so apparently I was incredibly lucky and didn’t get any of the subtle changes xD

BUT because of the error rule (sending you back to 0 if your make an error), the further you get into the test, the more anxious you become: you don’t want to make a mistake and have to start it all over again. It is a bit insidious how such a simple premise just creeps up on you and hold you by the throat like this. I felt so proud getting to the end in one go!

If the game is ever released as an extended version, I will play it as soon as it comes out.

(ok, I have 3-4 entries left, but I am BEAT for today)


New day, probably the last day of travelling through the different Locus!
Next up:

Throne, by GamesByCam

Chosen locus: a Castle (or wing of a Castle?)

Throne is a micro fantasy piece where you are an unnamed ruler of an unnamed kingdom, crushed through rebellion. Alone and deserted by who you trusted the most, you walk around your castle and interact with different items, reminiscing on how you got here.

With so few words, the prose does a great job comparing the then and now, and showing everything has gone haywire so quickly. And I liked the slightly open ending, where you sit on the throne, as if waiting for the rebellion to get to you, waiting to fight (and maybe succumb to) them.


Room 2039, by JohnnyNeverWalked

Chosen Locus: a locked room in Limbo?/Hell?

Room 2039 is a horror short game where you are stuck inside a locked room, with only a monitor to interact with. With no other way out, you need to follow the screen’s instructions for a chance to escape. But if you fail, you will spend the eternity in the void. Essentially, you need to play a game of chance for your life.

The game itself is essentially one of chance, with die to roll. Winning rolls bring your closer to freedom, while losing ones to the void. There is a bit of strategy to it, as the game includes some limitations, but you still need to be lucky with your die.

Interjected are comments from the monitors depending on the rolls you get, coupled with some jump scares (even if you expect them to be there). It’s pretty sudden and quick.


And our last destination!

LIMBO, by KA Tan

Chosen Locus: a government provided housing.

LIMBO is a short binksi piece, in which you incarnate a visa-applicant waiting to hear back from the government. In this setting, you are provided with housing (or more like, locked inside) until your case has been approved (or denied). Today marks a year since you’ve been stuck here. Will you get the email you’re hoping for?

It was really fun to explore the room, bump on the different furniture to get a glimpse into your psyche, hopes and wishes, or interact with the different objects. It feels really claustrophobic, with how cramped the room is (I don’t think I would have managed to stay the year), and dystopian (how can you be locked in the room for so long!!!). And the different endings freaked me out…

I liked it quite a bit!


And this conclude our little trip through the different proposed locus! We stayed in a bunch of rooms (often stuck there) and walked around outside for a while, got to the stars and back into mystical places.

We met some friends, and some foes. We thought about loved ones and traitors. We reminisced about life, death, and the future. We cried and laugh, and our hearts ached.

It was a beautiful trip, so thank you for joining me. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

I will leave you in my final destination: in front of my computer, trying to finish a game.

Goodbye! :wave: