Workers in Progress, by @gnomeslair

On a previous occasion I wrote about the Workers_In_Progress_by_@gnomeslairdifferent existing types of interactive fiction (gamebooks, visual novels or hypertext fiction among others) and the different thematic expectations of their readers, and I explained how hypertext fiction was more open to literary or thematic experimentation than other forms of interactive fiction. As an example of that, we have the work we are reviewing here, “Workers in Progress“, by Konstantinos Dimopoulos, better known as Gnome. In it, we take the role of the collective conscience of the greek working class, trying to organize their resistance and survive the complicated historical moment they are living.

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
is a well-known indie game blogger, and a programmer of games like this one. He has his own blog and writes in a good number of others, like Rock Paper Shotgun or, and he also has a crowfunding project in Patreon where he can be helped to continue with his work as a writer and maker of indie games. With these credentials, it seems remarkable to notice the theme of this “Workers in Progress”, a highly politized story, trying to describe a situation as complex and difficult as the one that Greece lives nowadays.

Workers_In_Progress_by_@gnomeslairAs we mentioned before, this “Workers in Progress” gives us the role not of a single character, but of a whole class; the Greek working class, subject to countless attacks in the name of its debt and “competitiveness”, in a historical moment in which the Greeks have finally realized that their leaders are not interested in their well-being. In this game, we have to take the appropiate decisions to escape this historical predicament in a collective manner.

“Workers in Progress” is a game that tries to give an optimistic message. In spite of the troubles, and the ulterior motives of the great institutions like the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, it is always possible to overcome any difficulty if there is a combative and organized population that acts with collective intelligence. It’s an interesting work, that I recommend to those that want to know more about the current difficulties of the Greek people, and their complex political situation. Because of the very nature of this work, the only criticisms I can make are of a political kind:

Workers_In_Progress_by_@gnomeslair– In this work, Konstantinos defends exiting the European Union as the best possible way. I agree with him about that, but nevertheless some of his not so bad endings give the idea that Greece could survive the European Union with a progressive gobernment. Frankly, I don’t think so. For Greece, no matter how you look at it, staying in the EU would be a slow death, because of the conditions they will be imposed. In my humble opinion, exiting the Eurozone would be the only option they have left, in spite of the obvious problems.
– I found it curious to see how, when betting on more progressist parties (Syriza) or even openly anticapitalist ones (Antarsya) we don’t achieve full socialism. But voting for more dubious options like KKE (the traditional communist party from Greece, of a noticeable Stalinist tendency) or even clearly negative ones like New Democracy (the conservative party of Greece, supportive of austerity) it is possible to reach much more possitive endings. Does Konstantinos want to give the idea that it’s necessary to fall in order to rise to a higher place?
Workers_In_Progress_by_@gnomeslair– The only option for the fascist party Golden Dawn to appear as an electoral option is if we haven’t suppressed the nationalist tendencies during the occupation of Syntagma square. I think it’s innocent to believe that only that would have defeated the far right. The presence of fascism in Greece these days is a result of many factors, like the support of the main Greek corporations, or the feeling of defeat of the population in general. The threat of fascism should be constant during the whole story.
– I believe there is one important factor that this story barely considers; the fear of the population. Fear is what paralyzes the Greek people, and what institutions like the European Union or the International Monetary Fund, or the very Greek media, uses consciously to impede them to get organized and fight back.

In any case, I think it’s a brave work, one that has dared to deal with difficult and current subjects. I believe the problem in Greece could happen in many other countries in the world, and that makes it a necessary story.

You can play this game HERE


Published: 15/06/2015 | Comments: 3

Gamebooks by @JLLopezMorales


With this article I will try a small experiment. Recently, I was suggested to review gamebooks published by spanish authors. Sadly, most of them haven’t been published in any other language, and it’s possible they never will. The works by J.L.López Morales, one of the best and more prolific recent gamebook writers in Spain, belong to this category. That’s why this article, in which I will be reviewing some of his works, will interest mostly those who are curious about gamebooks in other languages, regardless of ever being able to read them.

José Luis López Morales has been one of the authors that helped regenerate gamebooks in Spain during the 2000s decade. When the medium seemed dead after the 90s, it was him an other few authors the ones who gave new life to it with new ideas and mechanics, and a more mature approach. Sadly, after publishing the last two volumes of “Leyenda Élfica” (“Elf Legend“) at the beginning of 2013, José Luis started to focus on his role playing game “Reino de la Sombra” (“Kingdom of the Shadow“), putting gamebooks aside. I hope not definitely since, as we’ll see, he’s one of the most interesting spanish authors of this medium.


The works by J. L. López Morales can be classified in two series; “Leyenda Élfica” (“Elf Legend“), a conventional fantasy set in the world of Valsorth, and the “Slang” series, with a police theme, dealing with more adult subjects. We’ll take a look at each of them in turn.

1.- Leyenda Élfica:

Elf legend” is a saga made up of four books. In them, we take the role of an elf prince, the youngest son of king Gerahel, in his struggle to achieve an agreement with the humans and prevent the ascent of the God King Abanath.

The first of the books, “El Bosque en Llamas” (“The Forest in Flames“) introduces us to the game world and some of the recurring characters, like our companion, the elf Miriel, that will follow us through the most part of this adventure. In this first book, we have to prevent the attack of the orks of Abanath (yes, the book uses “orks”, with a “k”) on the elvish capital. This gamebook has a very conventional structure, although it’s true that some of the elements of his style are starting to show, as the inclusion of many different paths to reach the objectives, in order to enhance replayability, or the use of key words to save the state of the adventure.

Gamebooks_by_@JLLopezMoralesIn the second book, “El Emisario” (“The Emissary“), our father the king Gerahel requests us to travel to human territory in order to set up an army to defeat Abanath. In this book, José Luis begins to experiment more with the structure of the gamebook. At one point, when reaching the ruins of an old city, the gamebook switches to a free-roaming structure (a kind of structure I explained previously in another article), something he will again try in another books, even some of this same series.

The third book, “La Abadía de la Traición” (“The Abbey of Treason“), the best in the series in my opinion, takes us to Eradun, the human fortress, where we will try to reach the agreement between elfs and humans. Here, unlike the account of a travel in the previous two titles, the whole story takes place in the same location, the fortress of Eradun, through several days. The general mood of this third part reminds me of “The Name of the Rose”, by Umberto Eco, being an investigation of a conspiracy and several assassinations in the vicinity of an abbey.

Gamebooks_by_@JLLopezMoralesThe fourth and last, “Aliados y Enemigos” (“Allies and Enemies“) places us in command of an army facing the hordes of Abanath. Here he introduces some rules for mass combat, to simulate the effects of exhaustion in battles.

To sum up, “Elf Legend” is an entertaining and well written series, that showcases some of the experiments in mechanics and structures of this author. Thematically, it’s one of the less interesting ones for me, as it follows fantasy standards so closely that it seems to be screaming “Tolkien” in every page. Nevertheless, this series is better written than most of other series that try to build “great epic fantasies”. Also, the third book is one of the best interpretations of the “conspirancies in the court” genre that I’ve ever seen in interactive fiction, and it must be one of the few gamebook series I know with a tragic ending.

José Luis started to write another series set in the world of Valsorth, “La daga del asesino” (“The Assassin’s Dagger“), of which he only arrived to finish the first book. I haven’t managed to read it, but it can be downloaded for free HERE.

2.- SLANG:

Gamebooks_by_@JLLopezMoralesAnd finally we arrive to the one I considered more interesting from J.L.López Morales‘ series. In “Slang“, a series of gamebooks inspired by the role playing game of the same name, he deals with stories of crimes and corruption, drugs and prostitution, in settings like the city of Los Angeles or Bangkok. It’s a series that doesn’t shy away from showing scenes of violence, and brings characters with a strong characterization, away from the archetypes of the “hero” in adventure novels.

In this series, only two titles have been published as a physical book, “Ángeles Caídos” (“Fallen Angels“) and “Cuando vengan a por mí” (“When they come to take me“). Another one was serialized on a magazine (“Asesina” – “Assassin“) and the other two were released as free downloads by his author (“El Cielo sobre Bangkok” – “The Sky over Bangkok“, “Sin Mirar Atrás” – “Not Looking Back“).

Not Looking Back” is probably the most conventional one. A guy from New York knows about the death of his brother, and travels to Los Angeles to investigate his death. Finally, he has to face the “yakuzas” in Little Tokyo and wins the heart of the young, beautiful and angelic daughter of the Yakuza. Throughout this story, he will have to prove his courage in several illegal motorbike races, and win funds to improve the performance of his bike. If this story line reminds us of hundreds of different movies, we won’t be misguided. This gamebook reflects perfectly the usual “guy confronts evil and gets the girl” story, along with its two-dimensional characters and its stereotypes.

Gamebooks_by_@JLLopezMoralesMuch more interesting is the structure of this gamebook. Little Tokyo is constructed as a space we can explore freely, where we will have to increase our resources through several means, either legal (even cooperating with the police) or illegal. We will come back several times to the same places, but depending on the day and what has happened before, what we find in them may be very different. It also has another feature it shares with other gamebooks in the “Slang” series: the amount of different endings. Everything in this story is thought in order to allow experiencing many different stories, depending on our decisions and our luck with the dice.

“Assassin“, the serialized story, is curious for letting us take the role of the assassin in the title, a woman who gets paid for killing. The characters, as the one mentioned before, are less well defined than in other titles of this series, but the quality of the action scenes and the replayability – I was surprised to find out how the gamebook allows us to continue either if we fulfill our first assignment or if we fail, and reconfigures every later situation to reflect this, something that shows the skill of José Luis when handling game states – more than make up for the other issues.

With “When they come to take me“, we arrive at one of the best titles in the series. We play the role of Mike Rawlins, who was a soldier during the Gulf War, but now fights in illegal rings in the city of Los Angeles in order to survive, and has taken care of his nine years old daughter after the death of his wife. Suddenly, a series of deaths of his team mates during the war will lead him to investigate what is happening before they come to take him away.

Gamebooks_by_@JLLopezMoralesThe story is told through flashbacks between the present – Los Angeles, where he is an illegal fighter with a daughter in his charge – and the past – with the fights in Irak. And both what we decide in the past or the present, will have its influence at the moment of the final outcome, leading to a good number of different endings.

It’s also interesting to mention that in this story I have found the harshest and most violent scene I’ve ever seen written in a gamebook. One that clearly points to a fierce criticism on the Gulf War, and on the conduct of American troops, that I can only endorse.

We arrive to the two, in my opinion, best titles in the series. “Fallen Angels” and “The Sky over Bangkok“. I review them together since we play the part of the same character in both of them, Roberto Delgado, a police agent in Los Angeles in the first book who ends up being a bodyguard in Bangkok in the second.

In “Fallen Angels“, as a police agent abandoned by his wife and on the verge of alcoholism, we will investigate the assassination of a 17 year old chinese prostitute. Throughout the course of the investigation, we’ll get to know another prostitute called Amber, friend of the first one, and we will discover the corruption inside the police squad of Los Angeles. One of the endings, where we flee with Amber on a motorbike through the border with Mexico, is the one used to make the link with the second story.

Gamebooks_by_@JLLopezMoralesIn “The Sky over Bangkok” it is revealed that the love story between Roberto Delgado and Amber didn’t end up well, and they parted ways in Bangkok. She started running a brothel, and he started making a living for a bodyguard agency. A new assignment, in which we will have to protect Brenda Westwood, the daughter of an American entrepreneur, will lead us to a new story of treason and corruption, this time with Bangkok as a backdrop.

In this second story, the author repeats a similar structure to “Not Looking Back“, allowing us to traverse Bangkok freely, move between the districts taking several actions. The specific day, and the way we acted before that moment (all of that handled through a keyword system), will change what we find in every place.

What is it that I find so attractive in these two stories? Their characters, without any doubt. Here, more than in the rest of his works, we can see his talent to make us understand and feel attached with his characters, employing just a few strokes to describe them. Both Roberto Delgado and Amber are two tragic characters; two abandoned beings, used to live in a hostile world. They are wounded animals, wanting only to be loved, and failing constantly in the process. That’s why, scenes like the ending in the first book, with Amber embracing Delgado’s waist while they flee to Mexico, manage that difficult objective of being brief and subtle, and at the same time revealing a beautiful and complex reality; that of two losers finding each other accidentally.

There has been a lot of discussion on the difficulty of giving “personality” to a protagonist on a gamebook, and at the same time allowing enough freedom for it to be a “game”. I think that many things could be learnt from J.L.López in that sense. Roberto Delgado is a very well constructed character, but its personality is not “in our face” all the time, it is much more subtle. You can tell in the curt language in the descriptions, in his cynical view of the world – they say cynicism is the humor of the people who suffer. You can see it also in many of his actions, described “from the outside”, but allowing us to suspect a whole current of thoughts “under the surface”.

-Fuck, why did they give this case to me? – I protest while I finish the beer -. I’m useless for thrashing around blindly.
We stay drinking in silence for a while. A couple enters the bar and takes up a table in one corner. He takes her hands in his. Unwittingly, I stare at them.
-How do you feel? -Ben asks me in that moment. I turn around and find him looking at me.
-Scraping by, as always -I nod, turning my beer bottle around.
-I see you are still alone -he adds.
-Well, it’s not bad being like this -I shake my head while scratching the beer label.
-Do you know anything about Anna? -Ben articulates the words slowly, with caution.
-No. That’s over and done with.
-Yeah, you’ll find another.
-Always -I answer, looking at the side. The couple laughs and bend their heads until they are very close.
We keep on drinking in silence. Ben finishes his beer and goes away. I do that five minutes later.

Published: 11/06/2015 | Comments: 1

The Kickstarter of “The Frankenstein Wars” begins, by @CubusGames

The_Kickstarter_of_“The_Frankenstein_Wars”_begins,_by_@CubusGamesThe Kickstarter of the new gamebook for mobile platforms by catalan developers Cubus games has recently been released. It started as an original idea by Dave Morris the author of such amazing works as Heart of Ice, Bloodsword, or the co-author of Fabled Lands, written by Paul Gresty, also with a good number of important gamebooks in his curriculum (Arcana Agency: the Thief of Memories, The ORPHEUS Ruse). With these credentials, it is obvious that something very special is being conceived.

The Frankenstein Wars“, as the sinopsis says, tells us a story about:The_Kickstarter_of_“The_Frankenstein_Wars”_begins,_by_@CubusGames

Tom and Anton Clerval have long guarded the secret to Victor Frankenstein’s resurrection technology. In revolutionary France, in 1827, that secret at last comes to light. The radical Zeroiste movement creates an army of the reanimated dead to seize control of the country, and then to cross the Channel to strike at the heart of the British Empire. Only Tom and Anton have the power to halt the Zeroistes – or to stoke the flames of all-out war. Decide the fate of the world in this enhanced interactive adventure in the same vein as classic series such as Fighting Fantasy or Choose Your Own Adventure.

The Kickstarter page talks about a game in which we can explore interactive maps, direct the two main characters in a non-linear story, choose between several objectives or even directo whole batallions in a battle. Time will have its importance, as it will affect if we can finish the storylines or not, and even the changing climatology will have its effect in our actions.

The graphical aspect, thanks to the good work of the artist from Girona Rafater (Rafa Teruel), is superb, as you can see in the images of this article.

The Frankenstein Wars” seems an interesting and ambitious project, and with this team, what can possibly go wrong?

You can find the Kickstarter page HERE

Published: 03/06/2015 | Comments: 0

Saya no Uta, by @nitroplus_staff and @jastusa

http://international.librojuegos.orgSaya no Uta” (“Song of Saya“), is an horror visual novel written by Gen Urobuchi and published in Japan by Nitroplus in 2003. Later, in 2009, a fan translation patch was made, and in 2013 the official english version was released by JAST USA, using an improved version of the original translation.

In interactive literature, the formal differences between the different media are less important than the thematic expectations of their readers. So, for example, we can define gamebooks as “books in which the reader can participate in the story taking choices, by means of numbered sections“, visual novels as “interactive fictions for computer featuring extensive use of static graphics and music, and allowing to take choices during the story“, or hypertext fiction as “a genre of electronic literature characterized by the use of hypertext links to tell several different stories“. And we can see that, at least formally, the difference between these three media are minimal. These differences are based on the physical medium (a book or a computer), the presence or absence of images and music, etc. But if we stay there, we will lose many of their important differences, based on the thematic expectations of their readers.

Saya_No_Uta, by_@nitroplus_staff_and_@jastusaSo, the gamebook reader expects to find a tale of a voyage or an adventure, as well as several confrontations if the gamebook has dice mechanics. A visual novel reader will expect to find character interaction, love stories and the occasional erotic scene. In hypertext fiction, it is more common to find narrative experimentation, or stories of a more intimate sort. There’s no reason why a gamebook couldn’t have erotic scenes, or a hypertext couldn’t tell a story of adventure and monster fighting in a fantasy world. But it simply doesn’t happen very often, since that’s not what their readers expect to find.

Visual novels, a media born in Japan, has some interesting characteristics. It’s destined to a usually more mature reader, and so it has room for stories very different to the ones we use to find in gamebooks. It’s the case of “Saya No Uta“, an interactive fiction story that would be unthinkable in any other media.

Saya_No_Uta, by_@nitroplus_staff_and_@jastusaBefore going on, I think it’s neccesary to make a fair warning; “Saya No Uta” is a story featuring very dark scenes of violence, explicit sex, cannibalism and even rape. It’s a story that does everything possible to annoy and horrify us.

Still reading? Ok, let’s continue.

The story tells us about a young medicine student, Fuminori Sakisaka, who suffers a car accident in which all of his family dies, and causes him an exaggerate form of Agnosia, making him see the world as if it were made of blood and gore, and people were horrific monsters. When he is contemplating suicide in the hospital, he meets Saya, a very young and beautiful girl. They become close, move in together, and start being lovers and incredibly dependent on one another. However, Saya is not the human that Fuminori thinks she is. She is a being from another dimension, a monster whose appearance drives to insanity to anyone that is not affected by Fuminori’s illness.

Saya_No_Uta, by_@nitroplus_staff_and_@jastusaThe story is told from several points of view. With Fuminori we’ll see the world as an horrific place full of monstrosities, where the only thing that’s beautiful is Saya. We will also be told the story of his best friend Koji, who will investigate the reasons of Fuminori’s strange behavior, and also of doctor Ryoko Tanbo, who knows the existence of the being of another dimension called Saya, and will try to put an end to her existence. As the story goes on, we will see how these three stories mix together, and we will be witnesses of the descent into madness and violence of their protagonists.

Saya No Uta” is a story that wants to get us in touch with the darkest aspects of the human being. We will see old friends wanting to assassinate each other, and people commiting all kinds of atrocities. And the scariest part of it is that, in all of their actions – even the worst – we can understand their motivations and even sympathize with them. It makes us believe that in exceptional circumstances, all of us could become monsters. This story an incredibly nihilistic feel to it. And even so, in the middle of the horror, there are moments of great beauty. Gen Urobochi is capable of turning the abominable beautiful, in a form of “poetry of horror” I have only been able to see in some japanese authors, like Suehiro Maruo or Tsukioka Yoshitoshi.

Saya No Uta” is not a story you are going to enjoy, but I think it’s worth reading. In my opinion, it’s a rich and wonderfully written visual novel, one of the most interesting that have been published in recent years. If you feel bold enough and understand the kind of story you are going to read, I would consider giving it a go.

You can find this visual novel here.

Published: 25/05/2015 | Comments: 0

Path of Light, by XS Gamebooks

Path of Light“, by Ivailo Daskalov, is a mobile phone gamebook from 2014. The story is set in a fantasy world, in which the protagonist, Brother Jacob, a priest of the Light, together with sister Ulmia, will descend to the deepest part of the Abyss in search of an angel prisoner of that place.

I would like to start explaining the reasons that motivated me to try this gamebook. I’ve recently got in contact with the gamebook community in Bulgaria. I could learn from one of their members, Alex Torofiev, the administrator of the website “Legacy of Kreya“, a bit of the rich history of this media in his country. It seems that, although they started late (their first gamebook was published in 1992) more than 250 works were published during their heydays, most of them from local authors. They experimented with very different mechanics and themes, and even concocted their own subgenres of gamebooks. All of that in a country of little more than 7 million people! The problem is, of course, the language. The chances for me to learn bulgarian at any point during my life are very low, so I am left only with the very few works that have been translated into a language I can understand. And that’s how I arrived to this “Path of Light“.

The background of “Path of Lignt” is, as I said at the beginning, a world of fantasy, in which two opposing forces, the Light and the Dark, fight for dominance. These two forces are strongly inspired by the christian concepts of “good” and “evil” in many aspects – e.g. there are “angels” for the Light and “demons” for the Dark, as in the christian dogma. In this story, religion pervades every aspect in the society; it has a stronger link with the world than in many other worlds of fantasy, shaping the relations between the characters and their moral concepts and philosophy. It can even be seen in our main character, a priest of the Light with a congregation in his care.

Path_of_Light,_de_XS_GamebooksIn contrast with the pervading morality of the setting, there is Ulmia, a sister of the Light, our love interest in this story. Ulmia is an interesting and contradictory character. She was a demoness captured by the paladin Atoro, who made her undergo a Ritual of Transformation, turning her human and allowing her to become a servant of the Light. In Ulmia, the two aspects of this world – the Light and the Dark – meet and collide. She is at the same time a nun and a devil, and her inner nature comes out at several points during the story. His relationship with brother Jacob is, surprisingly – considering they are both priests – very passionate, loving and carnal at the same time. Considering how prudish are usually gamebooks about sexual matters, this was a refreshing change of pace.

Aside from these aspects, the story doesn’t stray too far from fantasy conventions, but it manages to be more interesting than many. The design of the app made me fear that it would be similar to Delight Games’ stories (“Wizard’s Choice“, “Zombie High“…) with their almost railroaded linearity. Here, though, a codeword system allows to break this linearity, allowing us to solve situations in different ways and realize their implications much later.

Could I recommend this work? I am not sure about it, because of two important reasons.

The first is the amount of grammatical mistakes in the text. It is obvious that the author doesn’t speak english as his first language. I can understand what he is trying to express behind the clunkyness of the phrases, and I can see there is a competent writer there… if only he could use his own language. That didn’t make me enjoy the story less, but I can imagine how it would be distracting or even annoying to an english native reader.

Path_of_Light,_de_XS_GamebooksI sympathize with the effort it takes to translate a whole long piece of fiction into a different language – I am a spanish blogger writing posts in english after all, and I am painfully conscious of the “engrish” that surfaces in some of my own phrases – but the result is what it is, and this work would need a deep revision in that sense.

The second reason is the interface of the Android version of this story, the one I have been able to test. To call it “clunky” is falling short. Not because of its simplicity (white text over a black background), but because it requires the players to control the variables of the game. As an example, we will find choices where we are asked “Do you have the keyword ‘shield’?” or even “Is your ‘devilry’ score above 14?”. And yes, we can tell a lie and cheat, as simple as that. (To be fair, I’ve checked the app interface of the second part of this story, “Path of light II“, and it seems much better. But then – why didn’t they update the first part to the newer version?)

In spite of these two important issues, I’ve enjoyed a lot this “Path of Light“. But I understand that this story would have greatly benefited from a better translation and a much more user friendly app interface. In any case, the price is low enough (0.99$) that giving it an opportunity wouldn’t be too great a risk.

One last curious detail; as I mentioned, I have tested the Android version. The iPhone version is developed in ChoiceScript, and has a much better interface. Even more curious is the fact that – as I have been able to see in its page in the Choice of Games website – they start very differently! Could they be different stories with the same characters?

You can find the game here (for Android) or here (for iPhone)

Published: 21/05/2015 | Comments: 0

“Sons of Uruzime” by @TinManGames

.”The sons of Uruzimé” is a gamebook inspired by H.P.Lovecraft‘s myths, where we take the role of a teacher of the University of Miskatonic, investigating the whereabouts of one of his students after receiving a desperate letter from him. Our investigation will lead us to descover the sinister secrets in Miskatonic’s campus, and the dark rituals performed in the frat house Iota Psi. This gamebook is the first in a new line within “Gamebook Adventures” by Tin Man Games, called “Gamebook Adventures Choices“, with less of the dice mechanics common in other titles of the australian developer.

I have been following this title for a long time, since it appeard in Google Play in 2012 in its french version, “Les fils d’Uruzimé“. This title, along with “La Drang ’65” (still untranslated) have been made by Studio 09, a tabletop role playing game french publisher, as part of the deal to translate into french the titles of Tin Man Games. Since the announcement of this translation until now, more than two years have passed, so we can expect for them to have taken the time to make a good translation and test the game appropiately. Is that so? We will find out soon…

Sons_of_Uruzime_by_@TinManGamesWhen we think of “Lovecraftian horror“, a number of ideas come immediately to our minds. Ancient deities forgotten by humanity, morbid rites, despicable cults, revealing dreams… The stories of the author from Providence, even if they ocassionally have racist undertones, necessary to fully understand his world of fiction, have been a constant influence in horror literature since his death. Maybe as it is such a well known universe, they no longer deliver the same impression since their publication in the 20s. After the appearance of the role playing game “Call of Ctulhu” and all its derivatives, Lovecraft’s myths are a well-known and “cozy” territory for me, full of adventures and commonplaces.

In this sense, “The sons of Uruzimé” is an absolutely conventional Lovecraftian story, where the fan of this universe will find all the expected tropes. Here we have the ancient cult to a dreadful and forgotten deity, the ancestral conspiracy, the old volumes full of forbidden secrets, even a long oneiric sequence in the style of the “Dream Cycle” of Randolph Carter. Although conventional, the story is interesting from start to end. Sometimes it forgets its tone as a “horror tale” to veer towards the mere adventure story, but it meets its objective as a work of entertainment.

Sons_of_Uruzime_by_@TinManGamesThere is a criticism that can be done to “The sons of Uruzimé“, and it’s that, in this current version, there are too many bugs. They don’t make the story unplayable, but they are common enough to be distracting. We are talking about numerous choices that aren’t active when they should (since we have the object or the knowledge that should activate them) or are active when they shouldn’t (since we have already visited the place we are offered to visit again). Some of the most worrying of these issues are a section that cannot be exited without restarting the gamebook – since both of the choices are inactive – or the last part of the story, that becomes a complete mess – as an example, it is possible to enter the frat house Iota Psi and escape from it as many times as we want during the same play. Some of these problems reveal very little care during the testing process. Considering that the translation has been more than two years in the making, there is no excuse for these many bugs.

I understand, though, that many of these problems will be solved in future versions. If they finally are, I will be able to recommend this “The sons of Uruzimé” as what it is: a fun horror and adventure story, that won’t break any molds in the genre, but can make us spend some enjoyable evenings.

You can find it here.

Published: 18/05/2015 | Comments: 0

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