Ghosts

Player Rating5.34/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 16 ratings since 09/23/2018
played 168 times (finished 17)

Story Difficulty6/8

"wandering through the desert"

Play Length7/8

"It keeps going and going"

Maturity Level6/8

"I'll need to see some identification"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 16. If this were a movie, it would probably between PG-13 and R.
Down the Chimney he will come with a great big smile! You help ghosts with their problems. That's most of the story. Please leave which ghosts you helped in the comments.

Player Comments

-There will be spoilers in this review-

This story was interesting and I really liked the concept.

The protagonist's ability to see ghosts and the way these different ghosts appeared makes for a great setting and story concept. The main character is young, still being in school, and you captured that voice very well. They acted their age consistently.

That being said, not all of the characters were that way. G for example. Even though their age is never stated, I would assume G is an adult given the nature of their position in the story and how they refer to the protagonist as "kid". But, they have the speech patterns and maturity level of a fifteen year old. I have a hard time believing that an organization with such an important task would put people with that level of maturity in a position of authority. Given more mature speech patterns and a less catty, angsty teen attitude they would be much more believeable as an authority figure.

I really enjoyed the path with the character Gwen. While exploring that path I honestly expected Ned to be a counterpart of G, but was pleasantly surprised when that turned out to not be the case. I do wish that there had been more to that path, it would have been interesting to see what sort of experiments Ned was planning to do and why.

For the other path, I liked the idea for it but it felt like it ended far too soon. Just when I was getting into the idea of helping these spirits, I was sad to see there was only one that I actually could help in the entire path. I would have liked to see a few other ghosts helped in the story before it ended so abruptly.

The writing itself is good. You did a good job describing the characters, scenery, emotions, etc. It set the mood for each scene in the story very well. I would have liked to have seen more character development, I didn't see any growth in the main character at all. A senior in highschool would have to be around eighteen and that is an age where most kids do a lot of changing and growing as a person. Someone that age with the ability to see grotesque ghosts everywhere he goes? There is so much room for a deep personal growth for this character, but that is never tapped in to unfortunately.

Altogether I give it a 5/8
-- simplesabley on 9/25/2018 9:48:48 AM with a score of 0
SPOILER WARNING: Read the game first guys it's actually pretty good.

First of all, congratulations for completing this! Sixty-thousand words in a couple of months is no small feat. I quite enjoyed reading through it. While there were some run-on sentences and awkward phrasing (which I of all people shouldn't criticize, but it's a review so...) it was more well-written than a lot of the stuff I've seen lately. Well done, and best of luck in the contest!

Concept: This wasn't entirely unexpected, but the whole concept seems to have a kind of anime-esque feel to it. Of course that isn't necessarily a negative. The description pretty much sums it up in the simplest way possible. That's a good start, but in the future I'd recommend putting a bit more thought and effort into your storygame description. "You save ghosts and that's it" just didn't hook me in I'm afraid. As for the concept itself, it's a unique spin on the whole helping ghosts move on thing which I actually found quite interesting once I got into the story. You obviously put a lot of thought into how the protagonist's powers work and the effects it has on him as well as the spiritual world we are introduced to. Well done.

Plot: The plot was fairly interesting. You have a protagonist with personal stakes that drive him, which is always important. The only issue I have with the plot itself is that it feels... incomplete. It's entirely possible to just help one ghost and completely end the story there. It seems like everything gets cut off before we really learn anything. More importantly, it seems like the protagonist never learns anything. It is possible to get more elaboration out of this story depending on which paths you take, but the fact that it's possible to reach a "real" conclusion without much meat to dig into first is troublesome. I think this is a climax issue as well. Our main character never seems to hit a point where he has to risk everything. There's no "low point" for him to rise from or ultimate challenge for him to overcome. The closest he can come to a real decision is whether to help the girl he's fallen for or keep her there with him- which would have been a great climax if it were actually a choice. The game asks you whether you really want to help her go, but if you say "yes" it acts as though you said "no" anyway. Perhaps if there was more of a tie-in between storylines it would help the plot to feel more complete.

Characters: We've got a protagonist with a personality here, which is honestly a welcome change from the normal blank-slate type. It does, however, come with risks. You do a good job of letting us see the character through his thoughts and dialogue for the most part, but some of the choices seem very streamlined because of it. There are also a few points where you straight up tell us personality traits that the protagonist is supposed to have, but the choices we are given do not usually reflect that. That aside, I did think the protagonist was interesting if not a bit stereotypical. We don't get much description on some of the minor characters, but they do all have a certain jadedness to them that confuses me. It makes sense for the teenage protagonist to be moody and jaded (he's an angsty teen who sees dead people, what do you expect?) but almost every human character seems to act eternally pissed off with their lives. Why? They aren't dealing with the spiritual world and death visions, why would all of them act like that? This is a rather minor issue though, since most of the narrative focuses around the protagonist and ghost characters. Speaking of the ghost characters, there is some elaboration that needs to be done there as well. Most of them are merely archetypes, which makes it harder for me as a reader to get invested in them. Ken is "the sniveling child", Gwen is "the love interest"... they're just a bit too straightforward to make for truely interesting characters. I feel like the romance suffered most from this. I never found myself getting attached to Gwen, and as such felt no overwhelming need to keep her with the protagonist. Overall I think you had decent characterization, but there's definitely room to broaden your characters out a bit.

Themes: I think this was the main issue I had with this one... I just couldn't find a good theme to latch onto. There's a lot of potential here- a cursed love, a forced hero, plenty of tragic backstories to pick from- but the protagonist never learns anything, so I had a hard time learning anything from his tale. There's no need to hit us over the head with a Theme Anvil of course, but a story does benefit from having a theme to keep the reader engaged.

Structure: Overall, I thought the structure of this one was pretty well done. There are plenty of options with few linear sections, and vastly different ending to find. The only issue I have with it is that it doesn't all tie together. For example, your character is supposed to have stomach problems at school that won't be cured until he helps a ghost. But if he stops on his way to school or does anything aside from take the bus there, this never happens. If he helps Gwen, he never gets contacted by the stranger who helps explain his powers. Yet none of these events are actually contingent on those choices. The stomach problems don't happen because of school and G doesn't contact you because you never met Gwen, so it would only be logical that the protagonist would still experience these things. Still if you only take one path this doesn't create any major plotholes.

Grammar/Spelling: The spelling was fine and most of the grammar was technically correct. Yet there is still a certain awkwardness to the writing that I believe stems from word choice and sentence structure. Let's start with word choice. There seem to be a lot of curse words and slang thrown into the writing that makes it sound as though it's coming from the point of view of a character- but it isn't. These things are wonderful tools to use in dialogue and character thoughts. They help us to better understand and identify with the characters. Yet when they are just thrown into the narrative, I find it rather distracting as a reader. This may just be a personal preference, but having a clear distinction between the narrative and the characters has always struck me as particularly important.

The biggest flaw in your writing here is your sentence structure. You have an abundance of long, complex sentences with redundant phrases strung together. For example, on one of the early pages you wrote "when you were younger at that time." Only one of these phrases is needed, and including them both makes the flow of the story seem awkward. I think if you went back through and varied your sentence structure a bit you would have a much better-written game.

Overall Rating: 5/8- Great job Digit! This is a very impressive story considering the time limit. There were a few issues, but overall I found it to be a very enjoyable read.
-- Leora on 9/24/2018 4:02:09 PM with a score of 0
It wasn't bad, but I don't think the plot really worked with the "Epic" theme of the contest. I felt more like I was going through a prologue of an epic story. The origin story that would lead to the epic parts.
-- Killa_Robot on 9/27/2018 4:48:34 PM with a score of 0
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