Kaboom by anonymous, artwork by Vera Pohl
This is a Twine piece, where you play a teddy bear I think (EDIT: correction, no, it’s a toy hare), and have to save your person from a very dangerous situation. It is translated from Russian.
The storytelling is imaginative and apocalyptic, and inspired by the current war. Kudos to the author for the end of game comment on that.
However as a game with locations and objects and puzzles, I couldn’t help feeling that it might have worked better as a parser game e.g. in Inform or TADS or something. Or that the choice interface could have been streamlined to be more user friendly.
The problem with the interface is that the ways in which you can interact with objects require a lot of digging down through the choices. Typically in a location, even one you’ve visited before, you will have to “look around” to find the objects you can interact with. Or you need to choose something from the “inventory” section, which lets you operate your front and hind paws, and offers different choices within it over time.
This all meant that I felt I was having to dig down through the user interface hierarchy far more frequently than I wanted to. And it also rather concealed the options available.
However as a game with light puzzles - and forgiving to the player - I liked the storytelling. As the stuffed toy you explore an increasingly scary world, and I genuinely felt the scares.
The translation from Russian is a little rough in places, and could have benefited from more read throughs from native English speakers. But the writing is charming, and the characterisation of the player character and how they feel about their person is moving. The artwork is also very atmospheric.
I’d like to see more from the anonymous author, but maybe rework the interface a bit so there’s less repeated digging down needed by the player?
And thanks again for that powerful end comment. The game itself is a powerful reflection on current events. Thank you. The feelings this raised will stick with me for a long time after.