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IF Comp ’14 – A.D. Jansen’s Eidolon!

October 5, 2014

Guys, I don’t want to freak anyone out here, but I just woke up and something was passing through the night sky.

Update:  This review now contains 83% more Eidolon!*

*where “83%” is used to mean “an arbitrary percentage”

[spoilers begin here]

Oh God this game has one of those dreams in it where you think you’re awake, those are the absolute worst, especially when you try to wake up and can’t.

You read that in a book once, one of your mother’s difficult books filled with words like “myrmecochory” and “frugivore.”
Those are really good words, both of them.

This game is really prettily written, and the visual aesthetic goes with it nicely, evoking the darkness of a quiet house.

AAAAAAAAAH THE CLOCK DOESN’T HAVE ANY HANDS

I SHOULD NOT BE PLAYING THIS GAME AT 2:31 AM IN A HUGE SCORPION-INFESTED MCMANSION WITH ONE FEWER WORKING LIGHTBULB THAN THERE WAS YESTERDAY WHILE EVERYONE ELSE SLEEPS IN ROOMS SO FAR AWAY THEY MIGHT AS WELL NOT EXIST, I FEEL FAIRLY CERTAIN OF THIS

okay calm down and stop yelling, it’s only a game, we are fine here

AAAAAAAAAAAH I DON’T HAVE ANY HANDS EITHER

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

brb turning on every light in the house a la Gone Home

except I am scared to stand up and turn around because maybe there is somebody standing there and maybe they are wearing a creepy hat and maybe they don’t have a face… this is stupid

but what if… I might have to just sleep on this couch tonight, but wait, if it’s not safe to stand up and turn around it’s definitely not safe to go to sleep because the no-face hat person might… boop me on the nose or something.  this is really stupid.

what if I have to pee?

okay, look around you, can you construct a rudimentary lathe?  I have a banana peel.  maybe if I fling it over my shoulder into the darkness… this just keeps getting stupider.  okay, order of operations.  pick up the banana peel.  walk *forwards* and turn on the bar lights, then back past the couch and hit the pool table lights.  super safe.  you’re 34 years old you know.  wait what if we flip the light switch and NOTHING HAPPENS?  okay this is stupid just get up and turn the lights on already, SHEESH

wait… here’s a flashlight.  > GET TORCH, USE TORCH TO TURN ON REST OF LIGHTS, FEEL LIKE WORLD’S MOST GIANT BABY

Okay, it is like a million times safer in here and I can use capital letters again.  What’s happening in this terrifying game?

I really, really don’t want to go near the door that is always locked, but I suspect I am going to.

When you flip the switch nothing happens. Then the light bulb throbs and spits and sputters out. The darkness glows the color of cinders for a moment, cools to an ashy gray, and fades into a black several shades deeper than the one before.
Nope.  Nuh-uh.  Nopers.  No.  Nein.  No thank you.  Iya da.  Noooooooo.

I’m out.  Props to this game, though, it was really well-done.

Update:  Okay, I’m back.

You don’t know why you feel compelled to read now, with your bladder so insistent.
True confession:  I am one of those people who reads on the toilet, and have come close to having a cat-style accident on the bedroom floor while trying to decide which book to take in with me.  More than once even.

In the mirror there’s an apparition that moves whenever you move—but it couldn’t possibly be you. You are solid: You have skin and bones and there is blood rushing in your veins. The thing in the mirror is barely there, a loose bundle of shadow stitched ineptly with spider silk. You don’t like looking at it, or it looking at you with its nothings for eyes.
This is exactly why I stopped looking in mirrors at night.

Of course my grandmother’s hand-painted china has eyes all over it.  Of course that would be a thing.

I am enjoying the game of how little noise I can make.  I kind of wish my points were visible on screen.  Am I actually awake right now?  I’m going to guess “probably not.”

Oh God actual math!  Hm, do I remember how to simplify square roots?  You take out the, uh, the square factors, right?  It has been so long since I actual mathed, you guys.

Well, shit, there’s a hole in the sky!
You don’t intend to disturb your mother in the middle of the night for no good reason.
A hole in the sky isn’t good enough reason?  Also I’m still pretty sure I’m dreaming.

Something is different about your room.
Oh God I’m already terrified.  Remind me why I’m playing this game in the middle of the night again?
You sense the someone’s presence intuitively, moments before you notice their reflection in the dresser mirror.
Okay thank you that’ll be all your sanity please, would you like that for here or to go?

Each laugh dies a star’s death, in a bouquet of combustion.
Have I mentioned that I really like the writing in this game?  I really like the writing in this game.

Huh, this weird princess comes from wherever imaginary numbers live?  That’s pretty cool.

But as you prepare to enlighten her on the topic of timekeeping, you come to the curious realization that you cannot, in fact, read the clock. You have simply forgotten how. The positions of the hands, the ring of Roman numerals, the notches around the rim no longer mean anything at all to you.
This is how I feel basically every time I’m confronted with an analog clock.  Also it really bothers me that the larger hand measures the smaller unit of time and vice versa.  Also dimes should be bigger than nickels but not as big as quarters.  It’s like the world was invented to fuck with my OCD.

Sometimes, when there is almost no light, a strange phenomenon will occur. Things will reveal their true selves to you.
How about we leave all the lights on forever, how about we do that?

Oh God what does this weird girl want with my grandmother’s terrifying eye plates, oh God

The scratching is coming from behind a door.
Ha ha ha ha nope, nein, thank you for playing

You back away from the door and begin to run.
This is absolutely the best idea I’ve had all game.

Aw jeez why am I hitting my mother?

Well, if nothing else goes right for me tonight, I found my missing clock hands!

Ha ha faceless dolls, sure, bring it!  Thank God this game doesn’t have graphics.

Hmm.  I seem to have missed an opportunity to examine the black riding boots when I first entered the clock graveyard.  I hope that’s not why I seem to be stuck now.

Okay, calling this one for the moment, because I swear I have clicked on everything (except the black riding boots) like eight times.  If anyone made it into the library, radio back!

8 comments

  1. Oh, I’m sorry you didn’t continue–the game is really beautiful. And, yes, quite creepy.

    Also, as far as I can tell no one has actually been able to play it to completion, and I was hoping you might have a spoiler or two. (:


    • Okay, you twisted my arm. : P


  2. Holy crap, though–for such beautiful, evocative writing, the puzzles are _ridiculous_. Whatever the Twine version of pixel-hunting is, which to my surprise was actually more annoying than real pixel hunting! Let me know if you’d like spoilers for the talismans–I couldn’t find anything online, and it took a while to leaf through the source code. (:


    • Oh man I’ll look for it again, now that I know it’s a pixel-hunt >.<


      • You know that room with, like twenty different types of moth, and each one has _exactly_ the same description, so there’s no impetus whatsoever to click on every single moth and no clue that you should ever do so? Yeah, that’s how you unlock the library. ):


      • I KNEW IT WAS GONNA BE THOSE GODDAMN MOTHS!


      • There was a clue about which moth, though it was subtle – in the hallway right outside the throne room, with all the portraits, there’s a portrait of the princess holding a book and wearing a mask with (some particular pattern, I forget which – tiger stripes maybe?). The book is a nod to the library – the moth with the same pattern as the mask is the one you need.

        I think this portrait might only be described the first time you go in the hallway, though, which makes it harder to catch this clue.


  3. Those moths were totally the most annoying part of the whole game, but you know what? It was so compelling that I started clicking all the links, found the library key, and went on to finish it anyway. (For whoever was wondering if anyone finished it, I did.)



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