The Sisters by Revgiblet (ADRIFT)
(NOTE: I was a tester for this game, a fact that complicated this review as I found when I’d written it that I’d commented on several things that were in the first version of the game but which had been removed or changed in the finished IFComp version. Thankfully, the removals/changes were largely positive so I shouldn’t grumble.)
“The Sisters” is a horror/mystery game which starts with the player running his car off the road after narrowly missing hitting a young girl. With the car too damaged to be driven any further, it’s up to you to make your way out of there and make sense of what has happened.
Leaving the car and exploring a bit, you find yourself in a wood. You’ve got a bleeding gash on your head but, as lucky chance would have it, a first aid box just so happens to be lying on the ground. What are the odds…? Good job it was there, too, otherwise you’d have been in a bit of a predicament due to bleeding to death from the gash.
There’s an annoying bug while descending a steep decline. If you have a penknife with you with the blade open, you fall down the decline, land on the blade and die. Funnily enough, if you drop the penknife before trying to descend, you still land on the blade and die. Clever penknife. Why this puzzle was included in the game at all I don’t know. There’s no way of knowing beforehand that trying to climb down the decline with the penknife open would result in you dying and no reason to assume you’d need to close the penknife at this stage (it can’t be used when it’s closed after all) so it’s a fair bet that you’ll end up dying here before realising what you need to do.
The game uses ADRIFT’s built in end game sequence which doesn’t allow UNDO and instead makes you restart the game when you die so you have to reload from your previous saved game position. Definitely a point against it. Hopefully this will be fixed when the new version of ADRIFT comes out.
The majority of the game takes place in a large mansion which you stumble on after leaving the woods. This has the usual prerequisite of locked doors which you need to find keys for (what large mansion doesn’t?) as well as a number of other puzzles to figure out. Some I managed on my own, some I only got to with the aid of the walkthrough. Even the ones that stumped me – getting open the urn being one that springs to mind – were fairly obvious and I’m annoyed I didn’t solve them on my own.
There is an interesting twist at the end of the game which wasn’t quite what I had expected. As I explorer the mansion which makes up the bulk of the game’s locations, I found myself coming up with the theory that I was actually a ghost of some kind and that the girl I had seen was perhaps my ghostly daughter. As it happened, I was wrong and the ending quite surprised me. It also left me feeling slightly confused about certain things in the game. How much of what happened had really happened and how much was in the mind of the player? Actually, part of me felt that the twist in the ending where some things were explained was left interesting than the ghost story idea that had seemed to be the theme before then.
Overall, I found “The Sisters” to be one of the better ADRIFT games I’ve played recently and, despite a few rough edges (and deaths by penknife notwithstanding), well worth playing.
6 out of 10