Within a circle of water and sand

We're a young girl out exploring the ocean in her tribe's coming-of-age ritual, and we've arrived at an inhabited island atoll where another girl, Raiahui, is also set for her tribe's coming-of-age ritual. In Raiahui's tribe, however, this ritual takes the form of a swimming race against an outsider ... or so we, the outsider, are told. Naturally, it's not quite what it seems.

The introduction is pretty lengthy for IF, but well written. It's sprinkled with subtle hints as to the tribe's secret, and we get a chance to find out more as we are welcomed by the apparently hospitable islanders. We have all the next day to prepare or explore the atoll, and then the race takes place in the evening.

Gameplay takes the form of basic CYOA, but with some progress-tracking thrown in. In the first half of the story, where we explore the surrounding islands, we might pick up various objects that could help us in our race later, or make it easier. Or we could get killed before the race even begins. The second half of the story is the race itself, and although there are but two outcomes to it -- win or lose -- how we get there depends on what resources we've picked up. There are multiple different ways of winning the race, which I quite appreciate.

My one comment is that our heroine, if she wins, seems rather blase about Raiahui's fate in that case. Given the alternative, perhaps this is justified; but I would still have expected more of an emotional impact.

For breakfast, I'm thinking a small helping of coconut rice and sweet, mild chili, served on a banana leaf and eaten with fingers. A fairly leisurely meal in an unusual setting, with an undercurrent of spice.