Wolfbiter reviews Spring Thing 2024 -- Social Democracy (all main festival reviews complete)

Rescue at Quickenheath by Mo Farr
Playtime: 47 minutes (35 minutes for the first playthrough)

This made me want to talk about:

  • The game starts with a bang and swiftly establishes: a comic mood, an old-timey setting, the romantic relationship between the player and their partner in crime (in the literal sense that they commit highway robbery together, and in the Tinder sense that they are into each other), and that the player has 1 day to save said partner from (kind of warranted) execution. I am a simple woman, this is working for me.

  • The writing was excellent. At times funny, (loved the push/pull door gag), sweet in developing the romantic relationship. Concise, but also descriptive and evocative when it wants to be:

The Queen is dressed in layer upon layer of robes, brown and bruise-purple. On her head sits a heavy-looking crown of four twisted antlers, one pair bone-dull, the other velvet-red and dripping.

  • Yes, puzzles are present, but the game’s not really about them. I was highly amused at the extent to which the game will help you through the puzzles (prison warden: no one is getting stuck today, buckoes). (Similarly, I replayed to get the true name wrong at the end just to see how the game would handle it, and it was honestly both touching from an in-game perspective and hilarious from a meta-perspective. Impressive.)

My fervent wish:

This is an excellent game and I don’t have much, but I’ll throw out two ideas about which I feel mildly: (1) I kind of wanted the opportunity to wrestle with the choice of whether to respect Aubrey’s choice not to return to fairy, despite the increased risk to their life, or whether to plot with their family to force them to go back against their wishes, and (2) neither Kit nor Aubrey gets a particularly deep characterization, which is understandable in a short game. But they both get pretty much only positive qualities. Does Aubrey have any flaws? Kit is frequently mentioned to be a clotheshorse with a poncy hat—do they hesitate to go digging or enter a lake because it endangers their clothes? A bit of scuffing might give them both additional depth.

On the whole, a delightful, bouncy game that spins an entertaining yarn in high style.