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

(Ed: My random play order put these two dream-inspired entries next to each other, so here’s a bit of an oneiric interlude.)

You Can Only Turn Left by Emiland Kray, Ember Chan, and Mary Kray
Playtime: 14 minutes (6 minutes for the first playthrough)

This made me want to talk about:

  • It’s a bit dangerous to make a game based on a dream, given that dreams are one of those topics that’s famously primarily of interest to the dreamer.
  • The prose is well written and effective. Several of the specific scenes are the kind of thing I’d expect as the introduction to a character in a book or movie. There’s a lot of vivid images, including the suitably portentous explanation of the title by way of deformed tadpole.
  • The audio and visual design elements definitely also helped successfully create an ominous and otherworldly mood.
  • I take it the structure was chosen to fit the theme, but the aspect where the player is mostly called upon to describe their sleeping habits began to feel slightly ridiculous, like being trapped in conversation with a host who only wants to talk about how well you slept.

My fervent wish:
I am probably not the ideal audience for this type of game–I would have enjoyed a more coherent plot because I tend to bounce off things that I don’t immediately get any hooks into, but I think that’s likely just a different vision than the authors had in mind.

In the main, an atmospheric and unsettling series of dream-inspired vignettes.

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