Home About Me

DELRON

The Home of Otter Interactive Fiction

Return to the Forest House Reviews
Author: Seciden Mencarde
Date: 2008
ADRIFT 4.0


Reviewed by quantumsheep

1. What was your initial impression of the game, when you first opened it up, and how did the game compare?
I liked the intro, and the writing style. Very good room descriptions and great atmosphere. Very spooky!

2. How did the author do within the restrictions?
Pretty well. The verbose room descriptions, though very good, were hampered by the competition restrictions.

3. How were the puzzles and/or storyline?
Liked the storyline. Puzzles seemed ok, though the glass in the window is described as unbreakable. Didn't think to shoot it, though that's probably just me.

4. What did you like best about the game?
I worked out how to get the shotgun and how to load it with shells just a move too late to save me from death! Was an exciting and panicky sequence.

5. What did you like least about the game, and how could this be fixed?
The verbose room descriptions, though very good, were hampered by the competition restrictions (which to be fair is a flaw common to a lot of the competition games for obvious reasons). Little unclear in places, puzzle wise, and how to get the good/bad ending (timed).

6. What stood out most to you from/about this game?
Great writing and atmosphere I thought.

7. How did this game compare with the others in the competition and/or what set it apart?
Not played them all yet so won't comment here.

 


Reviewed by Abbi Park

1. What was your initial impression of the game, when you first opened it up, and how did the game compare?
"oh no, not another Forest House game."  Ha.  I expected good writing, and found it.  Though I was confused on how I was standing in the house I had just stated I didn't necessarily believe in.  That was never resolved.  However, I didn't find anything else at all questionable about the storyline.

2. How did the author do within the restrictions?
Good, although there were too many things that didn't get described because of the restrictions, and I felt there were too many unused objects.  But of course it would be very hard to put them all to use within the restrictions.

3. How were the puzzles and/or storyline?
The puzzles were decent, except for one with guess the verb (the sink).  The story flowed well.

4. What did you like best about the game?
I liked that I had to start from the beginning a few times in order to figure it out, yet there were clues enough for me to solve it.

5. What did you like least about the game, and how could this be fixed?
"That doesn't appear important" wasn't ideal for all of the non-described objects.  Something slightly different like "You find nothing useful about that at the moment" would have worked better for this game.  There was some guess the verb with the sink.  That could, of course, be fixed by adding more commands for that task.

6. What stood out most to you from/about this game?
"That doesn't appear important."  Other than that, excellent tone throughout the game.

7. How did this game compare with the others in the competition and/or what set it apart?
The tone of something gone bad that the player just might be able to do something about.

Any other comments?
Good game.  The "good ending" left me chuckling.
 


Reviewed by revgiblet

Who am I and what's going on?

AWARD:  The "Getting Better All the Time" Award

I played the prequel to this game for the 2007 Ectocomp, and I was greatly encouraged by the author's decision to take the feedback on board and release a fixed version earlier this year.  I was pleased to see that he'd had another go and entered yet another competition with self-imposed restraints.  Some might call it masochistic, but not me.  I prefer the term 'insane'.

Although the style of the game (both in writing and plot) is the same as the original Forest House title, there is a clear sign of growth in this game.  There were still a few bugs.  The description of the stool meant that whatever room you dropped it in, you were told that it was under the workbench and the sink puzzle drove me to 'Guess the Verb' hell.  'Metal Device' is too ambiguous an item description.  The game also killed you off without real warning if you took too long, though because the game was small replaying was not a huge commitment and everything made more sense the second time round.

I played this game through to completion and was then alerted to the presence of a better ending.  It didn't take me too long to figure out what I had to do to unlock it and it was a hugely satisfying addition.  It gave, once more, the illusion that these games were utilising a lot more of ADRIFT's capabilities than they actually were.

I can see that a grand storyline is developing, with each Forest House game leaking a little bit more of the plot each time.  This is fine, but it locks the author into working with this material until he's told the complete story.  Although there were no Zombies, Ninjas or Pirates there was a shotgun which made up for it a little bit.  And the first couple of times that you play through the game the use of the shotgun appears to be obvious - but the author has included it in a second puzzle which I thought was a really clever twist - in fact, to get the better ending you have to employ the second use before you employ the most obvious application.  Hopefully that will make sense once you've played the game.

Again, I enjoyed this entry very much.  The author is clearly improving and getting to grips with ADRIFT.  I look forward to the third Forest House game - possibly for Ectocomp this year?  But don't make it too good, because I think I'll be entering.
 


Reviewed by Duncan_B

PROS: The "Forest House" storyline continues to be clever.  At the beginning I felt I was missing large pieces of the story because of the jump in the character's age, but that felt justified by the promises of the ending(s).  The way the bit with the girl tied into the whole adventure really made the story both versatile and tidy.  I'm eager to see how the next Forest House will tie in this new strain (and, presumably, the old one).

CONS: Unlike the first Forest House game, I just couldn't get into the horror of this one.  The player is just sort of thrown into the plot without any narrative build and resulting number of symbols floating around without any horrific significance tied to them (i.e., the numbers [following the "math is scary" postulate?], the constant laughing & howling that often insinuated itself annoyingly into object & room descriptions) bogged down the atmosphere and made it seem empty (esp. since they were repeated so often that the player is essentially forced to ignore them).  I felt like the "horrific" elements were just sort of thrusted at me with complete faith that I would find the ideas themselves scary, which I didn't.  Nothing is inherently scary, especially not when it’s being read in a fictive scenario.  There has to be build.  I should be able to read the text disinterestedly and still be roused to horror rather than requiring a predisposition to interpret the text horrifically.  The writer obviously has some familiarity if not respect for H.P. Lovecraft, so allow me to sum with a few quotes from the Old Master's mouth (excerpted from S.T. Joshi's Evolution of the Weird Tale:
 

"One cannot... present an account of impossible, improbable, or inconceivable phenomena as... commonplace... [they] have a special handicap to overcome, and this can be accomplished only through the maintenance of a careful realism in every phase of the story except that touching the one given marvel.  [It] must be treated very impressively and deliberately-- with a careful emotional 'build-up'-- else it will seem flat and unconvincing."

"Only a cynic can create horror-- for behind every masterpiece of the sort must reside a... force that despises... illusions and longs to pull them to pieces and mock them."

This is not to doubt the capabilities of the author-- which the first Forest House has shown are deep-- but to inspire their more effective execution.

The only other gripe I had was that at times, “load shotgun” produces the message “Cannot find adventure save file” (if no game is saved… with a saved game, it attempts to load a game).

OVERALL: I think the restrictions might have been a little hard on this highly plot-driven adventure... like the Forest House before it, a solid premise that might benefit from a little after-polish.  Worth your time if you are a fan of well-wrought weird fiction (esp. in dreamscapes) and/or willing to actively suspend your disbelief for a scare.  A must for those who have played the original (and the original is a must for those who have not).
 


 

Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.

 

Any donation would be much appreciated to help keep the site online and growing.
To help make your donation quicker and easier just click the "Donate" button and you
will be taken to the secure Paypal donation page.
    Home  |  About Me