The Devil and the Mayor

By: Jonathan Laury
Engine: Twine
Playtime: 30min on average
Link:www.springthing.net/2019/play

The Devil and the Mayor is a classic Twine text adventure with great dialogue that makes it fun to be bad. You play as a demon tasked with heading Up Top to make deals and take souls. If you are successful you will return with more power than when you left and maybe, just maybe you’ll get that promotion you’ve always wanted.

First off the presentation fits the supernatural theme well and giving characters different colour dialogue saves the author from having to overuse dialogue tags.  There are no walls of text and the general pacing of the story is well done. The tone used was to the point and fairly bare bones, but simple descriptions like, “His voice is like ten thousand spiders screaming as a leg is plucked off,” helped maintain and strengthen the narrator’s voice. That said, there were a few awkward sentences here and there, and while they can pull the reader away from the experience they do not hinder the story as a whole and could easily be smoothed over. In the end, it is more a matter of phrasing than anything else.

The “tutorial” was integrated into the story in an organic manner. It can be skipped in future playthroughs and does a good job of laying out the players goals before they travel Up Top. There was a clear build-up to signal that the player’s decisions will bare consequences. Upon replaying the game this may come off as heavy-handed but I can appreciate how the author integrated the instructions into the later part of the story. By doing this they are able to ensure that players, regardless of whether or not they read the “tutorial” section, have some idea of what their goal is.

Players are presented with several types of choices. Some are for the sake of customization others are action or dialogue oriented. The customization made good use of Twine’s cycling functionality and allows players the opportunity to be the demon they’ve always wanted to be. When making deals with humans you are first given the ability to ask them questions and depending on what you ask you will be able to make certain deals with them, but of course, this comes at a cost. Once you are finished asking them questions it is time to make a deal. Each deal will have different effects on each character. You offer them something they desire in return for someone’s soul (the NPC’s, the NPCs child, etc…). Each soul will grant power and some are worth more than others. Once the terms of the agreement have been determined it is now up to you to decide on how you will fulfill your end on the bargain. Will you leave it to chance or will you use your dark powers? It all comes down to balancing out the risk and reward of each action and the results can be quite entertaining.

This is a Twine game that made good use of the engine and had both the story and the gameplay work hand in hand creating a coherent and fun experience. I would have to say that this is my top pick for Spring Thing 2019 and I look forward to seeing more games from them in the future.

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