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Seance Reviews
Author: quantumsheep
Date: 2008

Reviewed by Abbi Park

1. What was your initial impression of the game, when you first opened it up, and how did the game compare?
I wasn't looking forward to a seance.  It was okay.

2. How did the author do within the restrictions?
All right.  It seemed a bit too short.

3. How were the puzzles and/or storyline?
I was pretty much told what to do, except at the very end.  The ending was too sudden, but I thought it was interesting that either ending was acceptable to the player character.  There was also a little twist I found interesting because it seemed mysterious since I, playing it, chose to react to the light immediately instead of waiting around.  That meant that I didn't get the later messages about what happened with the candle.  I think it was better that way- not explained- actually.

4. What did you like best about the game?
It was well-written.

5. What did you like least about the game, and how could this be fixed?
I had no way of knowing that I was supposed to answer a question at the very end.  I had to look in the Generator to figure that out.  This could be fixed by asking me a question so I'd know I was supposed to answer it instead of making me think I had to come up with the right subject to bring up.

6. What stood out most to you from/about this game?
The subject matter, and the atmosphere.

7. How did this game compare with the others in the competition and/or what set it apart?
The atmosphere of fear.

Any other comments?
It would be preferable to be able to use "n" and "s" instead of having to type out "north" and "south".

Reviewed by revgiblet

Is there anybody out there?

AWARD:  The "Best Title Page" Award

Yep, another title screen with animation.  I think I prefer this one to the Main Course title page, so this wins the coveted "Best Title Page" Award.  Well done to the author, who is clearly another candidate for this year's "Best Newcomer".  This competition has really brought them out of the woodwork.

This game has the player attempting to get in touch with his dead wife via the medium of...umm...a medium.  I feel at this very early stage in the review I must make the point that, though I may be a Victorian gentleman, if a grotty French crone came into my home and suggested that we 'explore the bedroom that you and your wife shared' she would be feeling the toe of my boot on her hideous rear.  How inappropriate!

Once I got over the fury of my offended sensibilities, I was able to settle down and enjoy another good effort from the author.  The game was less puzzle-orientated than his other entry, and focused more on the linear progression of the story but that's not necessary a bad thing.  In fact, this was another entry where the author had managed to fit two distinct endings into the plot.  Also, there was no combat.  Hooray!

A little bug that I (and others) spotted was the fact that the player is required to type 'north' or 'south' on the landing - 'n' or 's' will not do.  I imagine that this can be easily fixed for any future release.

In the end, this is nothing more than a nice little story.  There's no real plot twist or great reveal at the end.  It's probably the game that veers most towards the 'charming' territory after A Witch Tale and if you've read my review of that game you'll note that I'm a reasonable fan of the charming.  

So, the final question I'm going to answer is did I prefer Seance to Main Course?  Well, Seance was clearly a more story-led game but, despite this obvious strike to my Achilles Heel, I think I preferred the humour and depth of Main Course.  Seance felt as if it were the 'after-thought' of the two.  But once again, I enjoyed playing this enough to see both endings and look forward to the author's next game.

Reviewed by Lumin

1. What was your initial impression of the game, when you first opened it up, and how did the game compare?

"Ooh pretty title screen." :) Of course I thought that about a lot of the games, but this one was the best. If I learned anything from this comp, it's that presentation matters...a nice title screen can go a long way towards making a game look more polished and professional.

The intro/letter hooked me immediately and gave me a good idea of what to expect for the rest of the game.

2. How did the author do within the restrictions?

Pretty well; the only place it really showed was in the length of the game, which just seemed too short. I was impressed he was able to fit in two endings though.

3. How were the puzzles and/or storyline?

There weren't any real puzzles, but the writing was excellent.  I would have enjoyed what was there even more as the setup to a longer story...if somewhere down the road quantumsheep decides to takes the intro and basic plot and turn it into a longer story, you can bet I won't complain.

4. What did you like best about the game?

Again, the writing. The author clearly has the whole 'atmosphere' thing down; the house, the Madame, and of course the Presence were all delightfully creepy.  

5. What did you like least about the game, and how could this be fixed?

I've already mentioned about the length, but short of writing a new game without restrictions I suppose there's not much you can do about that.

There's that whole north/south thing, but it's already been mentioned by others and is easily fixable.

As much as I liked having alternate endings, like Abbi I thought it was a little odd to have them both be essentially happy after all the foreshadowing from both the Madame and the overall sense of dread in the atmosphere. Specifically I was bracing myself for the one that seemed too good to be true to actually be, well, too good to be true, and it was almost a let down when it turned out to be exactly what it seemed.

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