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

Thanks, but I don’t remember asking. by Mea Murukutla
Playtime: 17 minutes

This made me want to talk about:

  • According to the summary, this game is based on a dream, and indeed it successfully evokes a dreamlike quality, including because events don’t quite feel like they follow causality. As I mentioned in the previous review, I think re-telling a dream can be a high-risk choice.
  • The main character cannot form new memories, which others have noted echoes the main character in Memento (2000) (e.g., Tabitha’s review, Mike’s review).
  • On that comparison, , one interesting thing to me is that Memento is very interested in the ways that condition makes the main character vulnerable (think about the chilling scene where Carrie-Anne Moss’s character tricks the main character into doing what she wants). That horror-type beat is downplayed in the game. Although this game mentions that in the past, the main character thinks someone took advantage of her, it’s not really clear if this is true, or the specifics, and in the plot that we see the main character is perfectly able to handle herself. The aspect of amnesia the game seems to be most interested in is whether having amnesia would be an advantage or disadvantage in coping with trauma, both in that the main character is coping pretty well with the post-apocalyptic lifestyle (in contrast to the other characters), and in that:

I hear all that again when I read how “lucky” I was to forget all of this. She, on the other hand, had to bear this burden forever. She could not “check out” like I did. I can hear her scratching these words onto the pages, hours into the night instead of building shelter or finding water. How could I expect her to work as efficiently as I did when I “chose” to forget the trauma, and she wasn’t even afforded such a choice.

It’s an interesting theme to explore, if anything I would have liked to see it explored a bit more, and certainly hits on a conflict people have in real life when some people seem to be able to move on more quickly than others.

My fervent wish:
It seems like it might have been fun to have more variation in the endings / more player choice. Given the dreamlike setting, and that apparently quite a bit of violence is plausible in the setting, it seems like a LOT of different things could happen in the end, and I would have enjoyed more agency in deciding (and potentially some options that felt more cathartic or thematically resonant?).

On balance, an interesting puzzle-box, and it’s stimulating and compelling to put together the “reveal,” not sure the game does a lot to pay off the premise, though.

Gameplay tips / typos
  • Re: overall structure, the game does actually have multiple endings, and at least one of the early choices is surprisingly impactful.