Stian's Ectocomp 2020 reviews

A Twine game by Bitter Karella

Excellently written and very peculiar, Toadstools takes you on a mythical-scientific trip through the forest. A good amount of thoughtful world-building seems to lie behind it, part satirical and part wondrous, providing enjoyment, engagement and immersion. As a choice IF, it certainly feels like a puzzle, like you could get rich, crazy or die of hunger, depending on your choices. Still, I was not able to ascertain if this actually is the case, nor whether a good ending exists, during my play. As a horror game, it’s not particularly scary, at least not in a brutal way, though I guess one would have to be of some age to enjoy it.

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Better than Alone
by William Loman

I did not experience this as a horror IF at all, but rather as a sad and personal story, a story that is depressingly relevant for many of us during the current pandemic. It is really well written, very emotional, and feels very real. The author provides the choice between playing a truncated or an extended version of the novella. I started out with the extended version but found it excruciatingly frustrating and changed to the truncated version after some minutes. I’m glad I tried the extended version first though; the frustration is indeed intended, and it does drive an important point across. While not exactly interactive in terms of choices, Better than Alone does use the medium of choice IF in an unexpected and elegant way.

So, that was 19 out of 19 Ectocomp games played and rated. With all the great games that have been entered here and in IFComp, I’m thinking this year may be one of the best for interactive fiction in a long time!


Thank you for your reviews, they have been really helpful to see during the judging period!

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I’m happy to hear that!