The Panic Room

Player Rating4.91/8

"#295 overall, #26 for 2017"
based on 51 ratings since 02/03/2017
played 497 times (finished 57)

Story Difficulty5/8

"run through the jungle"

Play Length3/8

"A nice jog down the driveway"

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.

When a police officer is murdered in what seems like an impossible crime, the team look to you to put the pieces together and solve the murder. It's up to you to examine the evidence, interrogate the suspects, and, when you're ready, make the arrest.

Player Comments

This was well written, and the whole police detective thing was carried out well enough, but the entire story was linear. At the end, when you had 5+ choices a page, it was still linear because all but one choice led to you losing immediately. The items also could have been used more often. While it was a good piece of writing, it felt like a bad CYOA. I can't say I hated it, but I also can't say I loved it. The main thing I find that could be improved in most of the new stories on CYOA recently is A: The lack of character depth, and B: Linearity.

You need to give us a reason to feel for the characters. Create some emotional backstories. At the very least, give us emotions like petty anger or grief. A guy dies and none of the 3 people he was friends with showed obvious signs of crying and being upset that someone they were fond of died. The readers have to be able to know that the characters have emotions just like us, and aren't just names on a computer screen.

As for linearity, you need to give us the power to choose. At the very least, give us the feel that we are choosing, even if we are not. Making 3 choices per page, and having 1 go to the end game screen after a link or two, and having the other 2 meet up back with each other in the same spot at some future point is much better than providing two choices that are so similar it doesn't have any impact on the story 3 words into the next page.
-- Sarah J Warren on 2/3/2017 10:43:25 PM with a score of 0
This story was unique, and different then most other mystery/detective genre story games I have read in the past. I enjoyed it at times, but there were also portions I thought could have been better written/produced.

Though not of considerable length, there was adequate description and detail of the scenes. Spelling and grammatical errors were at a minimum, though there were a few punctuation mistakes in there that could be fixed. I liked the twist in the end on the murderer, as that was quite surprising, despite the small hints hidden within the depths of the story. The author clearly spend time and effort putting these miniature details leading up the final interrogation.

However, I feel if the author had decided to put in more options, the story would have been more intriguing and mysterious. The options didn't make the impact it could have- there was only a few wrongs and 1 right to choose from, and if you chose the wrong, it simply made you go back until you had chosen the correct one. The choices for the interrogation at the end was a bit silly- Why would "you" be the murderer?.

I would also have liked to see more character development throughout the story, as Jake and Mason, who are two of the characters who seem important at first, are hardly even given the courtesy of a mention throughout the story. "You" do not seem to go through any major changes, simply going from place to place, intent on solving the murder.

Though the story was interesting enough, it left more questions than answers (such as who Michael's "special friend" was), and there was next to no character changes of personality. 5/8
-- Snowflame on 2/3/2017 9:03:18 PM with a score of 0
I thought the story was enjoyable, but pretty linear. There were also a few issues with punctuation and formatting, but not enough to distract me from the flow of the story. The killer was an interesting choice and was a type of twist you don't see too often, at least with the mystery reading I've done. I went through a second time just to see the dialogue from the perspective of knowing who the killer was from the get-go.

One of the things that detracted from the experience most was the non-decisions that still lead me down nearly the exact path regardless of choice. And some of the early side bits could have been fleshed out more to help create the setting before diving in. Things picked up more towards the end and I appreciated that, but it was still straightforward and didn't make as good use of the CYOA medium as it might have.

When testing others options towards the end, the wrong choice is essentially an end game or looped back to guess again, the correct means to progress, with almost no middleground (with a small exception). I would have liked decisions to feel more than a simple "right" or "wrong" with immediate consequences. And from there, many of the "wrong" decisions were pretty obvious anyway.

I also would have appreciated more depth to some of the side characters and maybe even a few more suspects involved, with their own quirks and flaws. If a side character only got a tiny bit of attention, and in that time there was nothing incriminating, it was pretty obvious they weren't the killer. More detail and personality to the innocent characters would help further throw off the scent of the murderer, and make the choices at the end be more challenging as people would really need to pay attention. You did fine with the Jessica and Michael investigations though, so that did help carry the mystery aspect.

From a technical standpoint, the items should have been made required to progress, rather than letting people click through pages without grabbing them. There's one mandatory item that if forgotten, they would hit a dead end with no way to progress. And trying to stay spoiler-free, there's at least one other item that the reader should be grabbing too or they won't get the best ending. This requires the usage of a STOP variable that prevents the reader from proceeding until it detects the item in their inventory. You can message me if you need help with it.

I know the tone of this was more critical, but overall I think you're doing a good job with your writing, and I wanted to offer some feedback to help encourage you to continue writing and improving yourself. Keep on fleshing out your characters + world building, fixing a bit of that punctuation, and making use of the site's tools to branch out your stories. Check out some of the featured storygames to see some good examples of branching plots.
-- IronPanther on 2/2/2017 10:21:56 PM with a score of 0
Interesting. I think I just watched this exact mystery- “Death In Paradise,” season one, episode one, aired in 2011... Even the dialogue was exactly the same...
-- ViolinAndDeerstalker on 9/2/2018 2:23:42 PM with a score of 0
Pretty well written and an intriguing mystery, but very linear. It might have been interesting to have more opportunities to fail, besides the ones at the very end.
-- PhantomStylus on 5/23/2017 7:03:54 PM with a score of 0
Good enough to kill time. Dialog was bad and the writing was ok, I never felt anything for any of the characters though.
-- John Cury on 2/19/2017 12:47:43 AM with a score of 0
It was an interesting story, with a well thought-out plot line which made sense. It was a bit linear, and could have used more description of the characters and development of their personalities. Overall it's not bad.
-- insanebutvain on 2/6/2017 5:56:24 PM with a score of 0
A good story and interesting to be part of!
-- Moya on 2/5/2017 11:50:04 AM with a score of 0
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