Clearstone

Player Rating4.31/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 14 ratings since 08/25/2019
played 80 times (finished 14)

Story Difficulty3/8

"trek through the forest"

Play Length5/8

"Not going to lose any sleep"

Maturity Level4/8

"need to be accompanied by an adult"
Contains content that may not be suitable for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG.

Clearstone was a peaceful place where a man could forage his own path in life, but that was before Mad Dog Roberts took it over. Now Clearstone is owned by the Roberts Mining Co. and the people are little more than cogs in Roberts golden machine. This traveling cowboy isn't a part of that machine, and he isn't about to leave without a fight.

Player Comments

My first impression of this storygame was that it was quite good, with an interesting set-up and what appeared to be an admirable amount of branching. I intentionally chose to do a questionable thing fully expecting to reach a quick-death ending. To my surprise, the story kept going, and eventually I was able to redeem myself.

If the first path I read was that engaging, I was eager to see where the other branches led. And that's when I discovered all the copying and pasting.

So let's start with what I liked:

As I said, the introduction to this story was engaging. I know Shadowdrake27 mentioned in the forums he was concerned that he was writing too many words, but I think the bigger issue is the use of paragraphs. A story with good pacing shouldn't feel constrained to an arbitrary word count; if you feel inspired, and the words are contributing to the story, then go with it.

I also liked that choices were placed at key moments throughout the story, giving the reader a sense of control over the story.

However, as I explored the different options, I quickly figured out that this story had been written once, with key passages copied and pasted into the various branches, with only slight modifications for continuity purposes. So regardless of what decision I made at the very beginning of the story, I still got shot in the same place, and still wind up as mayor.

And once or twice, the copying and pasting is executed poorly. There was one page where the paragraphs were fragmented, with quite a bit of missing information. (I only knew what I was missing because I had already read it in another branch.) And then there is the bit about "Rodney." It is never explained why the "lone hero" seems to think Mad Dog Roberts is named Rodney, but nevertheless this gets repeated into multiple branches.

In short, I think the writer has a lot of potential, and this story shows promise.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 9/1/2019 8:13:08 PM with a score of 0
This game was really quite good in terms of the writing--the prose style was well controlled, with interesting sentence structures and a good sense of dialogue sound.

The choices were also interesting and often challenging--I would have liked to see a more personality building choice a bit closer to the start of the game rather than more action-packed choices, but in this genre, I think that's forgivable!

Since the writing was solid, it was a shame to see how the paragraphing was really harming the readability. Dialogue should be broken out from description a bit more, and the big blocks of text needed to be broken up as well, at time, because they hurt the pacing. When the pace was working here it was *really* working, and when it dragged, it really dragged. Also, something weird is going on with the font--it seemed to switch several times throughout--a bit distracting.

All in all, a solid Western with a good sense of style. Totally worth a read (especially if you are a sucker for the genre like me.)
-- Gower on 8/26/2019 7:08:15 PM with a score of 0
Having recently read Inheritance House, I cannot help but compare the quality and style of the two and conclude that you're a more accomplished writer as far as westerns are concerned. Clearstone achieves the exact effect I think you were going for when writing this, the soul of a Lone Hero story, but told from a more interesting perspective.

I'll say, most of the elements of the story are a bit cliché, from the setting, to the main antagonist, to the mysterious stranger that approaches the town to wrangle up the Mad Dog's posse, but I like the small twists you put on some of them. Particularly, Sally's connection to the protagonist's father (which I wish was elaborated a little more on) was a twist that made sense and yet also raised lots of questions about this blacksmithing family.

Just as the protagonist began to buy into the legends of the mysterious cow"boy" by the end of the story, I did as well. I admire your restraint in leaving much about how this stranger is so skilled and how they keep escaping danger under wraps, because the best badasses always keep their methods a secret.

Overall, I like this Western, and I look forward to more stuff from you. 6/8
-- TheChef on 9/8/2019 5:32:13 AM with a score of 0
A bullet made of gold wouldn't work.
-- RealKuriosIasoun on 9/2/2019 6:54:53 AM with a score of 0
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