"Too few ratings to be ranked"
Played 80 times (finished 14)
"Walk in the park"
"A well spent lunch break"
"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.
Hunger fosters desperation.
Play as Elizabeth, a young woman recently involved in a tragic accident that claimed the lives of her family... except for one, very unfamiliar man. Or, is he a man at all?
This is my entry for EndMaster's Prompt Contest 2. There are a total of
endings (and one profile badge) to find, not including deaths.
General Recommendation: A short fun horror game built around a simple but interesting mystery.
Preview: Are you really safe in this house with a relative you do not recognize?
Overall: I enjoyed it! It’s a fun game, with the mystery keeping the player invested and curious throughout the game’s duration. It doesn’t overstay its welcome, keeping short and sweet with an appropriate pace.
The mechanics are well-employed to evoke horror. The slow and steady exploring of the house, full of elements that might be revisited, allows the tension to build as the player wonders what the crawlspace and shotgun might be used for. I particularly liked the touch of the red link to Grandpa’s room, appearing almost like a jump scare after the player has explored two rooms. Similarly the backyard shed’s appearance shows that there is something different about this location, and allows it to be missable on a first read through.
The narrator does not have a very distinct personality, which can have both a positive and negative effect in storygames. In this game, weirdly I think it has both. Over-characterizing the narrator would take away from this game’s appeal, namely, its easiness to read. However, as mentioned later, this comes at the cost of a seemingly underdeveloped world.
This story’s greatest weakness is its lack of depth. There is a simple mystery with a simple explanation. None of the characters are very deep or complex, and there is not much to the story beyond its premise. That said, this isn’t exactly a weakness, as the story at no point attempts to be more than it is.
Similarly, the endings do not go into much detail. Either you survive or you don’t, and what happens after that is anyone’s guess. The "woods" ending in particular seems to leave several threads dangling.
It’s tonally similar to Warden in many ways, with the emphasis placed on the scenario rather than the characters, presenting intriguing elements rather than delving deep into their implications. It’s an interesting sub-genre, enjoyable bite-sized horror stories that are easy and fun to get into, without being greatly taxing reads. They remind me a bit of the two-sentence horror sub-genre, but a much more fleshed-out and expansive take on the idea.
-Great opening paragraph! I’m intrigued.
-Not much happens in the opening sequence other than the narrator reflecting on recent events. Admittedly there’s only so much you can do about that in a short story. Delivering the info through dialogue or more direct connection to occurring events would be nice, but again, options are limited.
-I like the way memories of the family are interspersed with the narrator’s wandering around the house. It’s a good way to deliver the information without seeming abrupt or overly long. It’s interspersed with details about the house, which will surely come in handy later on.
-Love the red link. It conveys the emotion much more clearly than words.
-I like the way more links appear as the house is explored.
-The plot thickens! I don’t trust Grandpa, but I don’t trust Sven either. Best to keep my options open. I don’t like the sound of “they would adore you back at the facility.” It seems a little abrupt that when you choose to leave Sven you’re transported immediately back to the house without a reaction from him.
-Lol. Love the :D face at the end of every response. The chat log section is fun.
-I was toying with the idea that “Grandpa” might be a normal guy and the narrator is the real imposter. But this is an interesting twist too. Poor dude.
-I like the protagonist’s final line.
-Huh! Surprised you survive when you don’t shoot him again.
Mastery of Language:
Good, a comfortable voice and sentence flow.
A round of red-pen editing could help with the flow. Certainly there’s nothing wrong with the language used, just that there are places where it could have been improved. Overall it’s wordier than it needs to be.
There’s tons of endings, but most of them are pretty similar, with you surviving the encounter in one way or another.
Player options/Fair choice:
I first reached the “Sole Survivor” ending.
Nothing much for this game specifically, since it did what it was trying to do, which is tell a short horror story. I could give advice, but all of it would be on how to make the story longer and more complicated, which you weren’t trying to do, and would probably make it worse.
Other than that: might be worth reading through again and combing for wordiness.
on 3/11/2023 9:55:27 PM with a score of 0
Sherbet, you got a real thing for messed up families huh?
Well anyway, let's get onto it. I once read your previous work Warden before, and I must say that there are definitely some improvements made! The one thing that is quite striking about this story, is that the storytelling is very efficiently done. You really crammed up lots of stuff in only 10k words. It was the same case with warden, but what makes Monster work better than Warden, is that you kept the focus on only one monster and one overarching feeling of discomfort.
To illustrate how efficient the story telling is: consider the exploration phase where Elizabeth just bumbles around the house she lives in with grandpa. First and foremost, it foreshadows about the nature of Grandpa aka the weird syringes in the garage and the odd stranger who tells you about some monster, then it adds some characterization of Elizabeth's dead dad (and his strained relationship with his own dad), mother and brother while also showing her grief, then at last it showcases the locations and the ways how you as a reader can escape or fight off the monster. One sequence, three purposes.
The monster is cool and tragic and downright creepy. In the beginning I thought that it wasn't really her grandpa but some monster pretending to be one, fun twist that he's her grandpa for real but did some weird experimentations and became a monster.
(The beginning pages plus the rules of Grandpa were also really smart, fun thing when one reads it for a second time "don't look at grandpa", the padlocks and grandpa warning Elizabeth to stay away from his bedroom.)
I also think that the first pages were the best at giving the story real darn tension. I love the creepy descriptions of the grandpa, really gave me the shivers. However, towards the finally the tension kinda dies off a little which is kind of a shame.
I think it's a bit of a lack of description and setting the tone for each ending page. Most of them were really short (300 words or so) which makes it even more difficult to stick a good landing and make the endings distinct from each other. The stealth, runaway and hideaway ending suffer the most of this problem and are incredibly similar with Elizabeth eventually running away from the house.
My favorite ending is probably the monster ending followed by the sole survivor and the mercy ending.
Minor nitpicks that don't have anything to do with the main themes etc.
I don't know what I should feel with the woods ending; it feels kinda strange that this not-so-benevolent dude is willing to help/warn Elizabeth.
Plus: Elizabeth knows the house for quite a long time, why doesn't she know about the shotgun or the hidden passages (if you didn't explore it, then it won't show up in the ending sequence).
Tldr: what I like to see more of: more elaborate ending scenes and a greater diversity of endings (i don't really mind if those three endings were meshed into one). The infodump of all those emails that set off the ending sequence, I wonder if there would add more tension to have some out of context notes strewn over the houses for the reader to collect, I'm not sure.
All in all, good story Sherbet, I enjoyed it. (I played through all seven endings)
on 3/7/2023 9:47:46 AM with a score of 0
This is a pretty good example of what the horror genre should be. This story succeeds in making itself horrifying and unsettling without using gross descriptions and oodles of gore as a crutch. While descriptions of the ‘monster’ in question are somewhat disgusting, it’s still the nature of the monster that takes center stage in this story.
Sherbet did a wonderful retelling of the wendigo myth in a more sci fi horror context. The part that really shines in my mind is that the grandfather turning into a monster was due to a motivation that is familiar to all of us. After all, if this were a mad bargain for power, we might blame him, but who can blame someone for wanting their body to function like it used to. He even has an altruistic motive of being useful to his daughter.
Elizabeth was suspicious of the grandpa from the beginning, and because we are too, that adds to the twist. The rules and his ever changing body make us feel that something is wrong with grandpa, but there’s no way of knowing what. There’s certainly no way of suspecting that he’s the unwitting pawn of some kind of shady medical research facility.
The setting of the childhood home, all but abandoned certainly gives rise to an unsettling feeling. Going through the old abandoned rooms also gives an otherwise featureless protagonist the opportunity to show some appropriate emotion, especially at her brother and father’s love for her and the family.
Due probably to the shortness of the game, several large mysteries are left rather unexplained. To me, this is the most unsatisfying part of the experience. Why exactly the grandpa wasn’t in the picture in the first place was sort of hinted at, but never fully explained. The fact that he probably messed up with his son does explain why he uses the odd method of gaslight adopting his granddaughter after the accident. There’s also the facility and what they were trying to achieve with this kind of treatment. It was sort of hinted at in the “Woods” ending, but never actually gone into. One that seemed rather silly was the Dad’s need to keep all his sentimental pictures in a cabinet. That I don’t understand. Was he afraid his family would think he was soft?
In any case, even though I share horror as a genre, Sherbet created a creepy horror story that even I can enjoy. It’s a quick, pleasantly unpleasant read that I would suggest to anyone.
on 3/16/2023 8:30:02 AM with a score of 0
Wow. Just... wow.
This hooked me in - I had to read all the endings.
A brilliant story doesn't have to have a lot of choices or pages. This is one of them.
on 3/9/2023 4:10:48 PM with a score of 0
I liked this story!
The plot is short, simple but effective! I particularly loved the eerie atmosphere the setting creates with you being stuck in a remote location with your weird Grandpa you’ve never met. Stuff like that is just plain weird and creepy which helped create a sense of dread for me as I slowly realized something was very wrong with Grandpa. Speaking of Grandpa, he’s an interesting, and honestly touching character who becomes the tragic antagonist of the story at the end. In the beginning I viewed Grandpa with distrust due to his strange habits and the fact that your character has never met this man in her life. This view changed at the end when I discovered his computer and learned how far Grandpa was willing to go to care for a granddaughter he's never met in his life, that's deep for a character in a 10K story!
However just like any story that's 10K words there were some casualties…
For example, one thing that really irked me was the sudden woods ending, this ending just felt incomplete. For context the ending goes like this, while Elizabeth is exploring the shed she finds this weird guy who claims to be spying for a facility (Which if you read the rest of the story you’ll learn they are the ones who made the monster) he then goes on to invite you to come with him to the facility, if you accept his invitation the story just ends right there. This ending felt the most incomplete to me out of all the other endings which is why I definitely think if Sherbet had more time this arc would have been fleshed out more (Maybe the monster chases them through the woods?). There were other endings like the hideaway and runaway endings which are both very similar but those endings didn’t bother me as much compared to the woods ending since they actually felt like conclusions to the story. I also want to mention that the climax of this story felt very rushed to me due to the sudden lack of descriptions and complete evaporation of the creepy atmosphere the story had been holding onto up until then.
My ranking of this story is a solid 5/8, sure I’m being a little bit generous here but for a story of this size it was just so enjoyable to read.
on 3/7/2023 2:05:49 PM with a score of 0
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