Inheritance House

Player Rating3.98/8

"Too few ratings to be ranked"
based on 23 ratings since 08/30/2019
played 191 times (finished 34)

Story Difficulty6/8

"wandering through the desert"

Play Length3/8

"A nice jog down the driveway"

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.

A suspense/horror story. It is about a cabin you inherited from your creepiest uncle (yeah you know the one). There are two possible endings. Good luck.

Tips:  Use the link at the end to go back to the beginning, even if you die you can continue to play. Hit "Drive to cottage" after each play through and look for the room that changed. You will face a choice in that room that will decide if you live or die, again.

Note: A special thanks to Chris113022 and Gower who play tested, and proofread this story.

Player Comments

Overall review:
This is a quickish adventure in a haunted house, written using a room-to-room structure with no inventory (that I found). The house is small. The twist here is that when you escape, you can loop back to the start of the game for a new experience in the same space several times. I thought the loop might have been handled a bit differently--I didn't quite realize that I was looping and got rather confused when I played this later and couldn't find the scratching noise in the kitchen! Granted, that's on me for missing your disclaimer in the intro.
It's a cool concept. The looping is neat, and the ideas for the various hauntings are quite good too. I did wish that the house had compass directional indications within since I tried to draw a map, but it's so small it doesn't really matter.
This is a fun quick game which could benefit from more polishing and more attention/time given in the descriptions. But as I said in the playtest, it has the bones of an impressive game.

Tone:
Might have created a bit more sense of atmosphere on page one with illustrative details rather than narrating the emotion, like " It's hard when family dies. It’s harder when they leave you their ratty old cottage in the woods just south of the middle of nowhere!" Tonally, that tells the reader that this is going to be light because of "ratty old cottage" and "middle of nowhere"--you can get a spookier effect with more emotional description. It's the old "show v. tell" thing--if you say "but where did the knife come from?" that's one thing, but if you show the knife suddenly appearing, the reader will think that same thing, and enjoy the process better. Ditto for "The knife has you concerned. Where the heck did that come from?" If you show us this scary situation, we will *be* concerned and wonder.
My biggest comment is that you lean heavily on cliche here. -- middle of nowhere, the statue "almost looks like it is watching you."; "You stare in disbelief"; "This has to be a bad dream"; " must have been the wind"; "go to the light."
Choice Structure:

I don't like the go left/go right structure of choices that don't have any reason to make that choice. How about some description that give me a reason to go left or right--and that could help me get more "into character" too.
Microlevel stuff:

"You remember your uncle telling you he built a new barn a few years ago, it might be nicer than the house." <-- you never want to connect two sentences with a comma. That's called a comma splice, and it hits reader's ears clumsily sometimes. Try a semicolon there (or make it two different sentences.)
Plural of knife = knives
Change "Running right out the back door" to "You run right out the back door."
The font type changes in some room, like the left and right living room.
-- Gower on 8/30/2019 5:56:52 AM with a score of 4
Note: I wrote this story after getting the first end game link, as I saw all that the story had to offer when I playtested.

This story is a nice and neat little experiment. The death and loop concept isn't an original one, but it's executed very well here. I'd say the concept is what mostly carries it, this almost seems more like a proof of concept for a system than an actual game in some ways.

The writing is good and I respect that you implemented a lot of the suggestions from the thread. A few things you missed, namely Gower's suggestion to include a better reason to go right or left (iirc you included a mention of the barn, but there's no real way to tell where that is), but it's understandable. As for the story itself, it's passable for what it is. Didn't enthrall nor scare me much.

Like I said though, the real good in this story comes from the primary gameplay element: dying/escaping, and then going through again with changes. This keeps things fresh as you don't know what you'll find this go around. Sort of reminded me of Groundhog Day in a way. Still, like I said, this seems like something that would fit nice at home within a longer story. As is, the concept is all that's really carrying the story itself.

Overall, I'd say that for your first shot at a game with various features such as variables and items, it was very good! You didn't have any glitches or bugs or the like, which is more than some of us might be able to say when we first did this sorta thing. I give it a 6/8, would've been a 5/8 but you proved that you cared enough to fix any problems with the story that were pointed out in your thread... Plus, you included me in the special thanks, so I couldn't bare to rate it any lower.
-- Chris113022 on 8/30/2019 5:22:30 AM with a score of 1
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

This story has a very creative premise. The beginning of your game set the tone quite well, and left me intrigued to read more. I also really liked the twist that you had at the end of your first run through the cycle; I didn't see it coming. Having the protagonist note new sounds coming from different areas of the house was another neat idea.

I noticed that the story was written in two different fonts. I'm assuming this might have been due to copy/pasting from a word document, but fixing this could improve readability. I also think it could be improved by limiting the number of cycles experienced by the reader. Sometimes, it felt like only one major action could be completed on any given cycle. Why not allow multiple actions to happen on a particular run, and let the reader explore a bit more?

I felt like the use of directions in the links was a bit confusing, at first. After a few runs through the day it was easy to construct a mental map of the (very small) house, but I think the interface could have been improved.

You mentioned in your story description that there are two endings to this game. It seems I got the bad one (regarding shapeshifters), so I'm not sure how to get the other one. Or is the other ending the one where you go into the light? Normally, I like games that include links describing certain concepts, so I liked your idea to include such a link to describe shapeshifters. I don't think this should be done on the last page of your game though.

Overall, the writing was very atmospheric, and it was an interesting idea. I do think it deserves higher than its current rating. (I think that if the above issues were fixed, people would tend to rate it a lot higher.) The writing itself flowed nicely, and the grammar was good as well. The twist with the uncle at the end was also good, too. I was hoping he'd come back to play an important role in the story, since you'd mentioned him in the summary, and he did. Good work.
-- Reader82 on 1/9/2020 9:01:01 PM with a score of 11
I really like the repetitive returning to the cabin! Especially with some of the subtle changes to the story each run through makes it all the more interesting of a read!
-- MrMainStream on 1/7/2020 2:01:22 PM with a score of 11
What I like about this game -- and it is to me more of a game than a story -- is the creative use of the circular structure. This by no means the first storygame to employ such a structure, but they are more complicated to write and design, so kudos on a glitchless first attempt.

What I found less impressive was the weak narrative. I explored the rooms of the cabin because the requirements of the game forced me to do so, but not because I was self-motivated to do so. For instance, all that happens on the first round is that I enter through the front door, exit through the back, and then the game restarts.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

And about those restarts: as they are used here, they are too flagrantly a gimmick, and not a compelling part of the narrative. At the end of each round through the cabin, I have to actively choose to restart. If I hadn't read the game's description, I'd have no idea why. The game does become more interesting with the successive play-throughs, but based on the outcome of each pass, the protag has every motivation to flee as fast as possible, not go back and start again.

And how is it I can remember some things from the previous rounds, but not others? The internal logic of the story is not evenly applied. For instance, each time the demon appears, it is described anew as if being seen for the first time. But I can remember burning the chair, and when the barn and shed appear I can remember they weren't there previously.

This looping structure reminds me a lot of the movie "Groundhog Day" and the ST:TNG episode "Cause and Effect." In each case, the characters are caught in a time loop, forced to relive the same events over and over again. But although the circumstances are the same each time, the characters retain some memory of the past loops, and this changes the experience. The loops are involuntary, and figuring out the way to break the cycle becomes the primary motivation.

In terms of the gamebooks of old, I recall the "Escape from Frome" and "Escape from Tenopia" series used a similar branching structure. You didn't die in those books, but you did wander in circles and hunt for the links that would move you closer to the goal.

As for "Inheritance House," I hope the experience of writing and designing the game proved to be a valuable experience, and that you have learned some useful new tricks to employ on your next storygame.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 11/18/2019 8:59:15 PM with a score of 11
I briefly played this game on its release. If I remember correctly, I gave it a 4. Let’s see if a second, more in-depth playing with adjust that rating. Onward we go.

So right away I’m conflicted by the story. The first two sentences are confusing for me because I can’t understand if the author is trying to be funny or the second sentence reads funny (in the strange definition of the word). Is inheriting a cottage in the woods really harder than a family member dying? I suppose that depends on the cottage…and the family member.

The house itself is called both a cabin and a cottage. I always understood those two words to describe different structures, although people may use them interchangeably. A quick internet search told me a cabin is a small structure made completely from wood, and a cottage is a living place made with multiple materials. Not sure if using both descriptions really impacts the story much, but an inaccuracy is an inaccuracy.

I hate to restate what everyone else is saying, but the font changes and paragraph spacing gets distracting. Sometimes words are capitalized that shouldn’t be. I saw this with page links. “The Foyer” vs “The kitchen.” I did have a thought the different fonts and gaps could be the author attempting to disorient the reader, sort of like a shaky camera or crooked angles in a horror film. If the “mistakes” were intentionally, I applaud the idea.

While the first visit to the house feels bland, the story real comes online on the following loops. It reminds me of that one horror game where you walk in a looping hallway discovering different clues (or hauntings) each time. I’m blanking on the name. I understand the repetitive structure. It’s like a tribute to Through Time.

My biggest criticism is mostly towards the beginning loop. Finding the locked door behind you is a nice touch, but there isn’t a ton that motivated me to drive back to the house. While additional details continue to be added the further you get, there’s not a lot in the beginning to draw in the reader. I think that’s why I rated it a 4 originally. After multiple attempts, I’m keeping my rating the same. I have more respect for the story, and really think it’s on the cusp of hitting a 5 with a few more interesting details added.

Summarizing my thoughts, I think Inheritance House is a good, quick little game. The repetitive nature gives a familiar feeling towards each loop. While its shortcomings include lack of characters, a fully-formed plot, and opening hook, the game itself is light and engaging enough. I get the feeling the game was churned out in a short period of time, and I would have liked to seen a well-developed story in addition to the game aspect. It may not be one of the top storygames on the site, but it’s entertaining for what it is.
-- ninjapitka on 11/15/2019 10:55:54 AM with a score of 2
No offense to you, but this game almost had slight hype coming to the release of it. It's a nice long game, but it has a lot of issues.

Number one the repeating looping structure, after about the five times in the loop, it starts to get boring, and the reader will lose interest, probably skimming there way through the rest of the game. It just gets boring, like restarting a game five times you lose interest in it luckily, my drive to finish the game got me through the next nine loops. It also explains the number of reviews about the story.
Although it is not as long as some of the games on the site, because of the way it is structured, it seems SUPER long, I recommend that instead of having five loops have 3 or 4 even and instead of repeating, it make the in-between part enjoyable.

Now there were a few grammar errors not enough to full-on bitch about — so good job for that.

It's just the structure of the game that ruins it overall. Making an exciting looping game is very difficult, and I understand that, but it's like watching a T.V. series after the five or 6th season you get bored because it's the same old thing.

So good job, it was a great idea, and I like the overall quality, but it could be more interesting, and there could be a better backstory and an explanation of the time loops.
-- Davefaster on 11/7/2019 5:57:12 PM with a score of 11
I loved this story. I have been wanting to read a story like this and when you said you were going to do a time travel story, this is what I pictured by it. This is a concept that I am surprised has not been done more, or if it has I must have not seen it. Though more on that later. I think this story is quite good, and I would recommend it any autist who reads the reviews before the story. This story only has 13 ratings and I am quite surprised by that.

I love the concept of this story. It is what I think is the strongest aspect of this story. On my first trip through the house I visited every room, and the house is quite small. Though the looping over and over is fun. In almost every path you restart, then go somewhere to almost die, then do it over again. This may sound bad, though it mixes things up and keeps it fresh throughout the whole story. It also gives you the option to end the game at tons of points along the way

Though the story itself left me with a lot of questions. For one, why the creature try and kill the protag if he needs his soul? I may be if he kills him he gets his soul, though I’m not sure. Also what was happening to the protagonist in the first place? How come he kept leaving and forgetting info until it is convenient that he remembers it? If I was almost dying by a demon, and then narrowly escaping, then I would never go there ever again. Though I could have just missed the answers to these questions, idk.

In conclusion I have no idea why this story is rated a 3.6. The reviews I read were very positive as well, so I’m not sure why the rating is so low. Regardless, this is a very well made game, and if I’m mistaken also your first? Though I could be wrong about that.

6 out of 8
-- MicroPen on 11/6/2019 6:57:54 PM with a score of 1
There are an interesting set of mechanics framed by pretty good descriptive writing in Inheritance House. My first impression was definitely mixed, as far as introductions to the "Inheritance House" went, I was pretty unintrigued, but maybe that was by design. Each loop through the house brings you to a different bizarre and creepy encounter within one of the rooms and suspense definitely builds up.

One of the things I was hoping for, that didn't really appear, was tweaks in the writing between trips to the cottage that served to give you a sense of progression. Nothing major, but just subtle noticeable changes. What you do get (much appreciated) is a cue as to where the next encounter will take place, so you're not just wandering the cottage.

I like the parts of the story that are engaging, and I think with a little rewriting some of the rooms to give them more intrigue outside of the encounter, this story would be super compelling. Thanks for writing this, I enjoyed it.
-- TheChef on 9/6/2019 12:50:46 AM with a score of 1
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