4-Simplex

Player Rating4.32/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 19 ratings since 09/15/2017
played 102 times (finished 18)

Story Difficulty4/8

"march in the swamp"

Play Length6/8

"It'll be a while, better grab a SnickersĀ®"

Maturity Level5/8

"aren't you a little too old to be trick or treating"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG-13.

The barrier between impossible and possible is thin.

This is an entry for the Summer Slam contest.

You will be individually following Billy Joe, Runt, Virgil, and Slim.

Author's Notes:
Each character has their own storyline that is intertwined with the others' own storylines, so your choices will effect the paths of multiple characters simultaneously in little and big ways. A choice can have a large effect even if it does not appear to do so at first, so choose carefully. Sometimes, a character's storyline is blocked (by dying) until another character does something different. Lastly, try to be nice and try not to die, for it is very helpful to do both of those things.

Also, I am deeply grateful for Tyrannosaurusrex's beta-reading. Your imputes were very helpful. Thank you so much.

Player Comments

This was a decent story in its own right. I can see that some readers may not see it through to the final epilogue and will miss out on some great content towards the end.
You've got some unique ideas going on here, but what I really liked was that you could change the story depending on whether a character died or not. It would be nice if there was something to stop the reader from constantly redoing the same character so as to open up the "right" path, maybe expand on the concept more, but it's still good for a storygame of this size.

I enjoyed the characters enormously. Despite a lack of background at the beginning, you soon make up for this by allowing the reader to experience each character for themselves. I think I probably liked Runt most of all. She's quite unique and hey, she even survives to the end. (Though technically everyone is alive by that point.)

Unfortunately, I have multiple issues with the writing itself, especially right at the beginning. There's nothing wrong with your spelling, but most of the sentences simply don't flow well at all. It feels rather choppy, and this is the main reason why this story isn't rated 5-6 instead. I think if you improved on this, then you would receive a much higher rating.

Third person combined with present tense is usually not the best format for a storygame, in my opinion. Sometimes the writing switched between present tense and past tense. Sometimes you had multiple people talking in the same paragraph and repeated words which didn't have to be repeated. It was just awkward and really needs cleaning up.

Okay, the story itself.

We start out with a woman being hanged for a crime that she probably didn't commit. We never know her name or any real details about that part. It's used to set up the scene and the setting, really, and our four main characters all seem shocked about it.

But why? Why are they so affected by the hanging? Billy Joe's background says that he's a hardened sort of guy who experienced horror in his childhood. Virgil has killed someone before. Are hangings not that common? They've seen people die before, haven't they? I don't know, it just felt off.

Also, the introduction of the phantom killer (as I'll call it). A disembodied voice speaks to the entire town and tells them it's going to murder them all. Immediately, everyone is in a panic, running all over the place in mass chaos. The sheriff is taking this extremely seriously. Our main characters want to take action.

I can't take this part seriously at all.

It just sounds like a guy playing a prank or something. I mean, if the phantom had murdered five people in the middle of town and THEN said something like "You've seen what I can do, now I'm going to kill everyone else in town", then it would make sense. But no, the bodies aren't found until later, so nobody's got any reason to take this seriously. Especially not the sheriff. Besides, shouldn't everyone be barricading themselves indoors and locking the doors or something?

Anyway, after the sheriff is found dead then the plot starts moving along really well. The reader gets to control each of the main characters. As long as we pick the "nice" decisions and manage to survive to a certain point, then we'll get to see the Epilogue.

...which is another beef I have with this. Small choices have big repercussions, which is fantastic to see. But I have to be nice? I can't even punch a guy first without being doomed to a bad ending? (Maybe you are allowed to get away with it somewhere, but I couldn't see it.)

In fact, I can't even choose to kill the phantom killer without dying. The main villain. I have to choose to spare the creature...which in turn means that I do kill it...yeah.

Okay, I know that we're keen to make our characters as "good" and moral as possible, mostly because of the rules of the contest. However, these characters are already pre-determined, and there are four of them. You ought to be able to make some bad decisions without being automatically written into a bad ending. It's not really a choice, in other words.

The story might have benefited with a bit more info about the phantom killer, but otherwise there was a good sense of closure at the ending (though a tad cliche).

Overall, a rough start at the beginning with some writing issues, but by the time I reached the end I found myself genuinely enjoying the experience. This had some great storytelling with characters that I cared about, but there is definitely room for improvement.
-- Saika on 10/12/2017 6:20:15 AM with a score of 0
While it's an interesting idea, I ended up just getting stuck in a loop where the endings were always the same. I'm sure the proper way involves making the correct choices in the right order, but I didn't feel like mapping everything out.

I do think it's a really cool concept though.
-- Killa_Robot on 9/19/2017 9:46:54 PM with a score of 0
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