IF Comp 2014: Following Me (Tia Orisney)

followingme

Following Me is a choice-based thriller about two sisters approached by a sinister stranger in the woods. I read through to the end.

Last year Tia Orisney submitted two longish Twine games, one a vampire story and the other a sort of thriller/mystery. I enjoyed those but found them on the verbose side. Like those earlier games, Following Me packs in a lot of text relative to the number of choices: there’s a lot of text on a page, and even so many of them end with just a “continue” link. The pacing is closer to something from SilkWords than from most parts of the IF community. And as before, there are some proofreading errors.

Nonetheless, I felt that Following Me improved on those two earlier works. It could still use a bit of trimming, but it seemed better paced to me; the suspense is kept pretty high throughout, and the characters were more distinctive.

I also felt that Following Me was well-served by the relative simplicity of the premise. The bad guys aren’t supernatural, and they also aren’t romanticized, sinister-clue-leaving, had-a-bad-mother-and-went-mad serial killers. They are violent and predatory men whom the sisters are right to fear. That is perfectly adequate to make them pretty scary.

Most of the choices, as far as I can tell, don’t actually change the outcome of the story, but it still felt nerve-wracking to make them, because almost everything is potentially lethal in this situation. I found myself giving a fair amount of thought to questions like whether it would be safe for my character to try to get an object away from her attackers, even though in another part of my mind I was aware that it probably wouldn’t end the game either way. (Probably.)

Other reviews: Wade Clarke, Sam Kabo Ashwell, German IF community.

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