Short EctoComp Petite Mort Reviews!

OK! I normally don’t do reviews because I can’t say anything bad about someone’s hard work, but everything I’ve played has really impressed me. So I’m going to do some short reviews of petite mort games in EctoComp, and they will all be positive.

I will start by saying that EVERYONE else managed to do at LEAST twice the writing I managed in 4 hours, and I’m staggered by how good you all are. These are really, really fun.
Spoilers in all of these, and more to follow!

First up (in the order in which I played)

1.) The Fishing Cat

Summary

I actually played this one before the Comp opened, as MuffiTuffiWuffi was nice enough to send it to me for a general eyeballing.
Sixteenth century Paris! A group of students think their neighbor is a witch who turns into a cat! Gory (a cat is killed, so be warned, tenderhearts), funny, lots of ambience and vomit, a creepy turn at the end. And it really does feel like you’re making choices, when a lot of these small games feel very on the rails (understandably for the time limit).

2.) This Person Is Not My Father

Summary

The writing of this is very sad and unsettling—very effective. Your father changes from the most awesome Dad ever to someone you don’t know, over staggered stages of your life from small child to adult. When you’re young, you think perhaps he’s become a vampire. When you’re older, it’s clear he’s ill… perhaps with dementia? Anyway, it ends sweetly and sadly. I’ll play this one again to see if I can get a different ending.

3.) Lido

Summary

You have to save a girl who has fallen into the Lido (since I’m from the US, I had to look up what a Lido is: a public part of a beach). Bad things happen to you as you swim… especially if you drink the water. Tentacles happen. People become monsters. I could only get one ending in multiple tries (the game says there are three endings), but since that was still a whopping amount of story for the short time limit, I’m pretty impressed.

4.) Weary Eerie Way

Summary

I love word play games, and this one makes great use of pig latin. There are monsters to fight and outwit, but they’re silly monsters with pig latin names, and the whole thing is just fun, and took a lot of thought to write. A helpful note: Check your inventory often… often things just appear in it after you earn points or go places, and it may take you a while to notice you have them.

5.) Return to Castle Veederstone …for the first time …for the last time

Summary

This was totally awesome, until a bug kicked me out after the laugh-out-loud send-up of “The Raven.” Still, I gave it 5 stars because I can’t believe how much there was, and how funny and campy and good all of it was. My favorite of what I’ve played so far. “The murderwoman cometh” section was so fantastic that I laughed until I cried.

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There aren’t any other endings, sorry! This one is, err, rather autobiographical and trends towards the realistic so there’s no way to change the outcome.

Thank you for the great review, though! For all of these great reviews, really - there’s a veritable buffet of good-looking EctoComp entries this year, so I’ll use this as a good jumping-off point.

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I am so sorry to hear it. My Mom has dementia (early now trending toward worse) and is turning into someone I don’t know. It feels like a horror story for sure. So this really resonated with me, and I wouldn’t care for another ending. Your ending is the one I hope to get to myself.

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My condolences - dementia is a tough and horrible illness for everyone involved. I wish you and your mom the best.

So this really resonated with me, and I wouldn’t care for another ending. Your ending is the one I hope to get to myself.

This is the highest praise I could receive for the game as far as I’m concerned, and I am truly touched. Thank you!

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Next:
6.) A Ghost Story-

Summary

ARGH! I’m stumped! By a petite mort! How awesome is that? Actual puzzles! How did @nilsf do this in 4 hours? What?! Until I got stumped, I was rocking along really happily with this: it’s funny and full of horror-story tropes. And bonus points for a most welcome game-bombing by XTC. Nils, throw me a hint! I’ve gotten the emerald from Igor, and gone around in a circle a few times questioning everyone and digging. Am I supposed to be able to give Peter’s body to Igor? I WANT TO GO TO THE TOWER!

7.) All the Colours of the Rainbow

Summary

I really liked this one. It’s foul-mouthed and disturbing and generally horror-ific. Great use of color, an amazing amount of writing for the time limit (how do you guys get all that done?), and a fractured story that focusses around a very bad book. If you like your stories dark, like I do, you’ll like this one.

8.) The River of Blood

Summary

I go on a lot about how I dislike graphics in my IF, but I liked these graphics. Very old-school. It’s timed, and you’ll drown in the river of blood unless you already know what a bowsprit is, but you won’t care and will turn around and play it again, as the game keeps throwing items out from the river of blood that you want to examine. I love the revelations about being a bad guy, and I’ll play this a few more times.

9.) Deep in the Spooky, Scary Woods

Summary

You’re in some scary woods, you meet a witch (who you have an opportunity to punch for some reason, which I of course did), and she sends you to Dracula’s castle, where you can get three ends: good, bad, and ambiguous. I enjoyed making fun of Dracula’s fashion sense, because it reminds me that if we are serious about winning wars, we should send 13-year-old mean girls to the front lines to make the enemy feel fat and ugly.

10.) My Flat

Summary

And speaking of mean girls: the cracks and mold in the titular flat are the meanest girls ever. You have tried so hard to make your life orderly and get rid of your demons (inner demons? Or an actual demon?), but tonight you are going to realize that you have failed. A bleak picture of a tortured person making some very bad decisions. Very ripped-from-a-B-horror-movie, and I mean that as a compliment.

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Thanks for the review! I’ve been really worrying it was too dark, so it’s good to see someone bring it up but not in a bad way :slight_smile: Been really busy today so haven’t had the chance to read any of the other entries yet.

Having said that, I had a go at A Ghost Story the other day. Interestingly I got stuck because I couldn’t find the emerald (I knew there was one because I popped into his stream). You’re looking for another stone. You might want to go to the forest, and don’t miss the trees for the woods…

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I know this says petite mort reviews, but feel free to check out The Lookout too. I had intended on it being petite mort, but underestimated and it took about 15 hours instead. But I only had started work on it one week ago.

One of my testers got through it in 30 minutes (but in fairness, he’s fast).

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Thanks for the hint! How did I miss that? Crossed the finish line finally!

And as to the dark story: it’s Halloween. Granted, I am a person who looks at most stories any day of the year and thinks “A zombie eating these people’s brains, or a serial killer with a knife gutting them, would definitely improve this story!”
But in a Comp like this, I should think dark would not be something to worry about.

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You should go work for Disney.

Out Now: BAMBI GETS GUTTED

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Next and final:

11.) Fat Ass

Summary

This is the most on-the-rails game I played, and the scariest, because it’s about real haunting: the damage done to us when we were small by adults who are now gone, although the damage remains. It’s about the horror of our insane beauty standards, and the lengths to which we go to appease a societal monster who will never get enough of our self-loathing. Real, terrifying monsters lurk here. I kind of wish the story hadn’t ended so positively, because it’s really hard to exorcise those demons and most people never do. But I appreciate that the author wanted to leave us with a body-positive message.

12.) Sommelier Nuit

Summary

This was very short, and AMAZING. I really, really want the author to go further with this, because the basic plot (a novice vampire sommelier being tested on their acumen) is killer, and the writing is to die for—the reason it’s so short, I think, is that the writing is great. I’d appreciate better cluing about how to choose who the blood came from, but everything about this setup is just so perfect that I don’t really care if it’s clued better… I just want more.

13.) Haunted Mustache Pizza Delivery

Summary

This is definitely the weirdest game of the petite morts, which is a good thing. You have to make a pizza according to a recipe that you don’t know, and there’s a lot of things you can put on it. And where am I supposed to get chocolate donuts? And how to spice the pumpkin? And what’s the deal with my mustache? And who knew pizza had specters that can make a sex slave of you? I really must replay this several times.

14.) Psyops, Yo

Summary

One of my favorite of the petite morts. This is really successful for the wordplay AND for the ominous feel. Who wants to be a cad in a well? No one. You have to fix it. This game gave my brain a nice, fair little workout, and the writing and story worked for me. Wow, does Andrew have a lot of ideas, and he can get a lot done in 4 hours. Give this one a whirl if you like wordplay games.

15.) And a word about my game: Your Death, in two acts

Summary

Er. When you decide to play ball with the big kids, you will probably get knocked down. And this was a glorious way to get knocked down—by such wonderful efforts from such gifted authors. I had a lot of plans for this game, but Inform had other ideas for me (oh, the wailing and struggling and gnashing of teeth), so at least you’ll have some great poetry to read.

And that’s all the Petite Morts, I think. Thanks for the great games, y’all!

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Thanks for the review (I’m glad you enjoyed the items in the river - they were fun to create!) and well done for getting through all the Petite Mort games so quickly! I’ve managed to play about half of them so far and the standard is great :slight_smile:

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Thank you for all the reviews!
And thanks to @MiloM for stepping in with a hint. :slight_smile:

:clap:
\me sheds a tear as he looks at what little remains of his poor hostas.
I think the real horror would be not gutting those horrible plant murderers.

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Your review is much appreciated!

One thing I know I should have made clearer - but couldn’t because I ran out of time - is that you don’t have to worry about the chocolate and pumpkin spice donuts. It was supposed to be implied that they’re already in a bag somewhere, ready to go, and you’ll just automatically take them once you finish the pizza. The pumpkin doesn’t need to be spiced, but you can put it on the pizza if you want.

You mean the princely 4 hours wasn’t enough to make it perfect? Excuses, excuses!

I myself turned in a train wreck that was about half of what I wanted to do and is pretty garbled. But Inform hates me, so I’m just going to call it post-post-modern and declare that anyone who doesn’t understand what’s going on just isn’t smart enough to get me.

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