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Existence Reviews

Author: Abbi Park
Date: 2009

Reviewed by James Webb (as revgiblet)

Of all the games that I played for the comp, this one probably struck the best balance between teasing you with hinted-at answers and giving you enough of the story to go on.  The big hook for this one is "What am I?".  Like everyone else who's played this, I was speculating and looking for clues as to my identity in the text with each new piece of the puzzle uncovered.  At first I thought I was a bird - I could only move up, after all - but as I went on my theory began to change.  A fairy, perhaps?  Maybe a ghost, or even a gust of wind?  Now that's how to get someone like me interested.

The assumed spectral nature of the protagonist, coupled with my inability to interact with anything in the world, really reminded me of the old Level 9 adventure Scapeghost.  That game begins with you, as a ghost, developing your ability to interact with the physical world by picking up objects of increasing size.  Having solved the puzzle with the fan I began to wonder if this was exactly the same sort of thing that Abbi was going for.  If I recall correctly, a feather was one of the graded objects in Scapeghost too.

Anyway, enough of the trip down memory lane.  This game's great strength was that it had a compelling hook - and that's what this comp is all about.  Although it was frustrating to not be able to interact with the world more, it did seem to fit with the game so I couldn't get too mad at it.

It's hard to sum up my thoughts about this game.  It succeeded in its goal and left me dangling, but I still feel a little unsatisfied - as though the demo also left unresolved smaller issues that should have been resolved by the end.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but think that the demo could benefit from a bit more fleshing out (no pun intended).  If there was more to do and see within the three rooms, that would be good.  It wouldn't have to give anything else away.  I'd be happy to be left as clueless as I was, if only I could engage with the world a bit more.  Despite that, this is shaping up to be game that, after Donuts, intrigues me the most.

EDIT:  I don't think that there was a feather in Scapeghost after all...

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