Player Comments on A Pixie Danced
There is a lot going on in this storygame - and some parts of it are more effective than others.
- There is a ton of lore throughout the game which is tossed at the reader from the very first page. More lore is heavily sprinkled throughout, as well. While I love the thought put into the details of the various races, I wish this had taken a backseat to the game or been something learned piecemeal once I already cared about the characters. Everything was bogged down with the detailed exposition. So while the detail of the lore was impressive, it became a detriment to reading the game more than an asset.
- While there were main characters that would dominate each path such as the crimson-haired goddess or one of the kings, there was really no central character to walk through the game with. While not every game needs to be written in second-person, there should still be a hook or something to follow. This felt a bit like wildly diving into snatches of a mythic history book in between zooming in, to examine a particular scene or conversation or conversation, then zooming out again to watch the future of a specific species. Sometimes the story would follow from just behind the head of another character, and other times it would zoom out into an expansive bit of god narration.
Here, I think, was the largest missed opportunity in this game. There actually is one character who had a great backstory, clear motivations, and was central enough almost everything could have been detailed from her viewpoint: Newgnong, would be amazing! She was the one character I found fascinating and unique in the story, as well as emotionally compelling. She had connections to almost every major character as well. A game about an ugly millipede with a fat and horrific father, who eventually seeks aid from the mythic swordmaker, Brahan Dan, on her quest to be acknowledged as a daughter by his mother the goddess, would be incredible.
- Capitalization and punctuation were often optional or used haphazardly, and run on sentences were frequent. Perhaps this was meant to be poetic, but sections became near impossible to read because of it. For example, this is just one sentence, and it doesn't even end:
"from the unformed endless chaos of the worlds within the blunder of a god rose the gross waters of life, and with a will self-made formed wings and fins, fiery heads that were tempered but Burned Still in water and in air, and some were as bursts of Colour and others Devoid utterly of these things, some were as fish, others only half fish, others taking on that apish shape with which the race of gods was so enamoured; physical forms and shapes, and some were as light or air, ephemeral, now passing into sight and now passing out of sight, now taking on that besotting shape and releasing laughter into the world – cruel, joyous, mocking, enticing; come here, Here, come laugh with me, all the laughter there can Be... a bite-into-you-my-dear why-don’t-mind-if-I-do Predatory:"
- Dialogue tags are often unclear. While there is a good attempt to keep them spaced properly in different paragraphs, the description within the dialogue will often be about the reaction of the other person rather than the one talking.
“Ah. Well. That’s good. We have many things to discuss. The great feud between our peoples must end. I see no good reason for it to go on.” The Matriarch’s face fell, and she frowned.
“But… but it’s fun though. Or aren’t you enjoying it?” The King blinked.
In the first line, there, it is actually the King who is talking. The Matriarch is the one talking in the second. There were many sections like this where I had to re-read dialogue a few times to understand who was saying what.
- The game often pulled away from describing an epic event to throw in a bit of humor. Unfortunately, for me personally, most of this didn't just fall flat but ruined the build up.
"Even now it struck down one unfortunate Sullied or another, cleaving them in twain and causing them to burst into a great cloud of magick and dust.
The saffron-haired goddess looked on this penitently and with great contriteness, and she was majorly conscious-stricken and guilt-ridden. “Whoops.” She woefully said."
There were many cases like this, where something potentially horrific or important was interrupted by overly casual speech, thoughts, or misplaced jokes.
[One joke I did find really funny, though, is when one of the kings adamantly insists that he could not have possibly have impregnated the goddess as she claims with his sword, until he realizes she means the literal warsword she gave him.]
- The branching was OK. There seem to be at least a handful of different paths and endings, but often pages and pages and more long pages before the next choice is made. And since the choices were being made for 'different' characters almost every time, it gave the story a very disconnected feel from any consequences following.
I think this game could be great if the scope was pared back so it wasn't quite the info-dump it is, we followed only one or two characters through the whole thing (preferably Newgnong, but Brahan Dan could be good as well,) and events are informed by the lore but aren't an excuse to dump more lore. It also would be good to pick just one - absurd and only half-serious tale, or epic drama - without trying to merge the two in a whole that is not quite successful in either.
on 1/6/2020 2:52:16 PM with a score of 0
Alright, so this was… interesting. Overall, I can see a large amount of passion poured into this story. It is clear that you worked hard on it, and it is of considerable length. 40k is nothing to scoff at. Though I can’t say that I loved this story, and that is a real shame because fantasy is my favorite genre.
I don’t think the issue is the plot. I liked how the story played out. The pacing was pretty slow at times, but it was decent overall. I liked the characters as well. They didn’t grab me, but they weren’t bad, overall their quality was fairly average, and that isn’t a bad thing.
I found the branching was more heavy at the start and as the story went on there was less of it, though that wasn’t too bad. All the branches I found were fairly long, and that is good. I’m not sure if I would have prefered shorter branches and more branching, or the way it is. Just a thought.
The main problem for me, is that even though your writing is good, it seems like you are trying very hard to be complex. You tend to use at least one adjective to describe everything that happens. I find that the best authors can get their message across using simple sentences. What is happening here by doing this is you are breaking the immersion of the story, and making the reader stop and think a lot about what happened. This also messes with the pacing, and makes readers much more likely to just close the tab and walk away from what is a good story.
I think this game could have been solid. The whole immersion thing might just be a me thing, but it is what did it for me. I liked the story, but found myself unable to lose myself in it. Overall if this one thing was fixed I would rate this a 6 without question, and I might even consider a 7, but as it stands I can’t do that.
5 out of 8
on 12/31/2019 5:50:45 PM with a score of 0
Everything I say in this review should be regarded with this disclaimer: I am 100% positive that I'm not the intended audience for this storygame. It is quite possible that devotees of the fantasy genre will find it to be absolutely engaging, but I am clearly not that person.
From what I could see scanning through the text, the writing looked solid from a technical perspective. Sentences were competently constructed, and words were spelled in a recognizable way.
But I was turned off by this aspect of the story's description: "This story is not about you. It is about a cast of fantastical characters - faeries, a goddess, and a few who can be [categorized] as vaguely human."
The problem with this type of story -- to me -- is that if the entire cast of characters is inhuman, then I will have no ability to relate with any of them. And as tends to be the case, the behavior of the characters can all be broadly painted by race: fairies all behave the same way, elves all behave the same way, pixies all behave the same way, gods all behave the same way, and so forth. As soon as a character's race is identified, you can predict what he or she is going to do.
And "gods" in particular can be troublesome characters, because they all stand for a single trait, and therefore by definition have a one-dimensional set of motivations. And in "A Pixie Danced," this card is played right away:
<<“Go,” he commanded his other monsters, “and bring them all to me to be marred!” Because that is what anyone whose name is quite literally Mar does.>>
Hypothetically speaking, when you have a God of Fire and a God of Water, you know without having to think too hard that one burns and the other is wet; in a contest of strength it's a foregone conclusion that one is either going to get boiled or the other one is going to get doused. There is inherently no suspense in the interaction, because the "characters" are incapable of any other outcome.
I only mention this in the context of a storygame review because I found myself incapable of maintaining interest through the first couple pages of "A Pixie Danced." All the talk of fantastical creatures begetting each other made me think that I was being asked to learn the creation myths of some pagan culture -- except that as advertised, there is no human connection to this story.
And as a result, I had no connection either. Reading about the story of, say, Saturn devouring his children can be interesting because of what is also says about the Greco-Roman worldview. But "A Pixie Danced" seems to be a work of sheer mythology, completely detached from a world I can recognized, and it was asking me to take a journey I found no compelling reason to take.
I rated this a 5/8 just for the obvious writing competency, but this is not a story that held my interest for more than a few paragraphs. But if others think more highly of the story, I will happily defer to their opinion.
on 12/7/2019 11:58:56 AM with a score of 0
First, take my opinion with a grain of salt. This is part of one of the genres I directly hate. It is really well written and the really few choices lead to different paths with well-thought lore. My main criticism is really slow-paced and with few really interactive content in pages really big and dense.
Still, I recognize is quality, even if is not for me.
on 12/5/2019 11:26:26 PM with a score of 0
-- Rowan on 11/22/2019 12:16:28 PM with a score of 0