Into The Dark

We're a mercenary monster hunter, and we begin with a royally mandated quest to rid the woods surrounding a logging village of the monster that's halting the lumber production. There appears to be a bit of backstory attached to our hero and his relationship with the current ruler, though I don't know how much of it was really necessary. It later turns out that there's also a bit of backstory attached to our hero and his relationship with his wife, though I feel we did not get as much as would be necessary.

Gameplay-wise, much of the story is organised around pages of text and hyperlink choices. The climactic hunting sequences in each chapter, however, involve moving around on a map (which, depending on your earlier choices, may or may not be presented as ascii art) to find the final boss and fight it.

Yes. I said "final boss". There's a definite RPG aesthetic involved. The story started out feeling like a Solomon Kane adventure, but then the introduction of a "dwarven great axe" put me in mind of D&D fantasy tropes. Much can be done with such tropes and I've enjoyed games built around them, but I wonder why it was necessary in this case. The hunting sequences also smack of the RPG aesthetic, with their dependence on physical stats and health points, but in a good way, I thought. I do enjoy RPG mechanics.

Story-wise ... it's not what I call well-written. The prose can get a bit awkward and could use some proofreading, and I think the expressions lack maturity. I'm pretty sure our hero is meant to be a gruff, no-nonsense badass, but this lack of maturity makes him come across, instead, as arrogant and judgemental. Particularly awkward was the grieving widow in the first chapter, whose hysterics seemed more appropriate to the first five minutes of learning her husband's fate than to several days afterwards. The characters feel like flat caricatures.

I suppose it's passable as a game. There's not a lot to elevate it, but there's also nothing especially objectionable. Except for the matter of backstory emphasis, the structure of the story seems sound, and I like the progression of the chapters. The execution of the story, however, needs development.

As a breakfast, I call it crusty bread, home fries, and grape juice. It wants to be a mediaeval meal, but the bread is too white, and the home fries (aside from being potatoes) are just a tad undercooked and overseasoned. And the grape juice isn't wine.