Among The Season

By: Kieran Green
Engine: Twine
Playtime: 15min
Link:www.springthing.net/2019/play

Among the Seasons is a glimpse into the life of a Magpie as it moves from one tumultuous season to the next- its happiness and hardships dependent on the reader’s decisions.

The story and dispensation of text are well-paced. Often times text-based games will give readers walls of text to wade through- a daunting task that this story managed to sidestep. The author broke each scene into a new section allowing the reader time to digest the text, while still enticing them to move forward. The aesthetics are standard to twine, but again it is the formatting of the story that stands out for me.

The tone was consistent and word choice was wonderful. Both elements came together moving me throughout the piece seamlessly. There is a soul to the writing that helped elevate the underlying themes of bravery and compassion. This story reads well as it is, with no need for expansion or condensing of the text. I found my initial run through to be just as satisfactory as my subsequent playthroughs. That said, I did feel that one ending was particularly appealing, as it wrapped up the elements mentioned earlier in the story with more refinement than the other ending I came across.

As far as interaction, there is no deviation from the standard format. Most often the reader moves from paragraph to paragraph by clicking the ellipse taking them through the linear part of the story. At key points, the reader is prompted to make a decision between options A and B. These choices are action-based and seem to reflect a kind of black and white paradigm. Will you be brash or smart? Brave or a coward? Compassionate or self-serving?

The first choice presented to the player reads like a BuzzFeed question: What do you excel at? Leaving the player to pick between two options. This broke the flow of the story, but thankfully it was the only player prompt that did so. Other choices were built up to and integrated well into the text. In fact, I enjoyed these choices, they fit well within the narrative. Yet, I did feel that there was a slant towards choosing the more “noble” options near the end of the story- this being a common side effect with choices of this nature. Scenes differ based on the reader’s decisions but ultimately go back “on the rails,” creating the illusion of choice, though the endings vary in a way. The options do not bring anything new to the table but make use of the old tried and true formula well.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and would have been just as happy to read it as a stand-alone piece without any choice. I would recommend this game to anyone who has a few moments to spare and would like to read something simple yet satisfying.

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