Spring Thing ’13 — Mostly Useless’s Witch’s Girl!

April 3, 2013

Okay, Polodna.  I don’t think you managed to play half of last year’s IF Comp games.  You still haven’t played Hoosegow.  You think you can put on your big boy pants and play three whole Spring Thing games, or do you need Mommy and Daddy to take care of the monsters driving motorcycles in your closet?

…I’m a big boy.

[spoilers begin here]

Okay, I just opened this game, and it is basically already adorable.

hee hee Lydia Dragonbottom

You reach the end of the corridor, where you are surprised to find a gigantic spider wearing a tatty burnished crown and sitting on a frayed satin pillow. Could this be the fabled spider king?

Oblivia Firespoon is a good wizard name.  Almost as good as Calamity Boomfist, which is the best wizard name, which I assembled out of wizard name bits in the character creation screen of a fairly dumb wizard-based MMO.  Then I spent some time coming up with my own wizard name bits, which are even dumber.  (Dictaphone is pronounced “dic-taff-o-nee.”  Wandlicker is pronounced “wand licker.”)

I am going to curtsey to the spider king and introduce myself politely, because I was not raised by wolves.  Well, okay, I was raised by wolves, but they had a lot of Regency-period etiquette books for some reason.

Item Gained – Black Rose!
Hells of yes!

Witch’s Girl gives me options to be good, bad, or neutral, but I can tell it wants me to be naughty.  Normally I roleplay paragons of virtue that you can’t even look at without your eyes exploding, but this game is pretty charming, so I’ll indulge it here and there, when I can.

A fork in the road is little more than a contrived choice-forcing mechanic.
This is funny, but I’m surprised at the fourth-wall breaking.  Let’s take the (slightly longer) route past the crumbling old windmill, in hopes it’ll yield another item!

‘Eep!’ cries Esme. ‘Put it down! Books with faces on can only have bad things inside!’
That is the most intelligent thing anyone has said to me all day.  Maybe I’ll mess with dark forces I do not understand when I replay this.  (I can already tell I’m going to want to replay this.)

When Esme doesn’t respond, you turn around, sensing that something is wrong. It is. Esme is reading the face-book!
Well, crap, she’s gonna be on there for hours liking pictures of people’s kids dressed as TARDISes and dodging requests to play Candy Crush Saga.  I better go get the witch.

‘Stop right there,’ says Ethel. ‘Most people would tell you to slow down or just start at the beginning, but as it happens I am a witch and therefore I can use my magic powers to understand whatever you’re babbling about.’ She waggles her hands in a magical fashion, then pales. ‘Well, that’s not good,’ she says, shoving you out of the way and barging up the stairs.
I laughed out loud.


I’m a little disappointed I can’t go fishing at the fish pond after picking up a fishing rod.

Yay!  I saved the world, and there’s an epilogue!

That guy you gave the croissant to loved it so much he went and became a bat guy, and his used his mellowed-out forest attitude to help them curb their aggression.
I don’t remember giving anybody a croissant.  I don’t remember having a croissant.  I can’t imagine being in possession of a croissant and not instantly shoving the whole thing into my face.  Then again, I don’t always read all the words, so maybe that happened and I missed it?

I really, really enjoyed that.  The story was fun, the writing was clever, the pictures were delightful, and on the whole, the CYOA medium was used well.  If I had a complaint, it’d be that the game opens up a little too much after you gain access to the time-travel cauldron, and I found myself in steamrollering mode (I even squashed that cute vampire bug!  I feel terrible!)  Also, it’s narratively weird that most of the text remains the same whether or not your character has been in a situation before; you would think that she and her friend would have stopped being afraid of their buddy the witch by now.

Still, frickin’ loved it.


  1. […] link on the page.) An entry in an interactive fiction competition. Pissy Little Sausages’ review makes it sound like a lot of fun to […]

  2. Jenni, it might amuse (or terrify) you to know that while making Witch’s Girl a significant amount of effort was expended with the sole aim of making you giggle. I’ve been reading your reviews for a while now (they alternate between making me laugh until it hurts and making me incredibly hungry) and I desperately wanted you to enjoy the game, so when your review popped up about three hours after the games were made available you took all the voting period stress away from me. Thank you.

    By the way, the croissant debacle was my bad, not yours – a bug in the epilogue gave you the “you did something” text regardless of whether you did. I’ll be fixing it shortly. Then I’ll be working on a parser game, in which I promise you won’t have to specify which key you want to use to unlock a door at any point. Oh, and I’m totally going to draw you some angry-looking sausages.

    Keep being awesome!

    • That is both super flattering and makes me feel like I exert too much influence on the world. o.O

      (Especially if I’m making it hungry. The world is hungry enough.)

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