Silver Horn, Silver Hooves

a Fantasy by mizal

Commended by BerkaZerka on 12/17/2017 1:01:53 PM

Player Rating6.61/8

"#85 overall, #8 for 2017"
based on 90 ratings since 12/17/2017
played 1,376 times (finished 108)

Story Difficulty5/8

"run through the jungle"

Play Length6/8

"It'll be a while, better grab a Snickers®"

Maturity Level2/8

"choking hazard for children under 4"
Contains content that may not be suitable for persons under age 6. To compare to the movie rating system, this would be G.
When the weather is fine, you've been coming to this grove to drink from the pool for centuries now. Today, you meet a stranger and hear a story that changes all that...

A fairy tale adventure.

Player Comments

I think this is the fourth of Mizal's stories I've read so far, but the first to which I've given a serious review.

I really enjoyed this story, although I'm generally allergic to the fantasy genre--which, yes, begs the question, what am I doing on CYS? But this one was highly rated, and it was written by someone with a solid reputation, so I went for it.

The characterizations are spot-on, and the narrative is engaging. At least at first. There is ample branching, although at heart this is a linear story with a variety of ways you can get from A to B, or get bumped out of the narrative by making certain poor choices. But if you make those poor choices, O Reader, then pooh on you; the correct choices are telegraphed so heavily sometimes that there is no way to miss what you SHOULD do.

The two scripted encounters toward the end--the one "beta" scene Mizal warns us about, and also a warm-up scene that occurs immediately before it--grind the forward momentum to a halt. For me the biggest problem was repetition--literally reading the same paragraphs over and over again.

In the first (and less scripted) of the two scenes you meet a series of characters who all look and act the same way. On my first read through this, I missed that I was dealing with multiple characters, and not just the same one reappearing over and over again.

And on the "big" scripted scene, I kind of wished I had fewer options I didn't fully understand and more story. It's hard to discuss what I mean by this in a review without giving away too much detail, but I found the shift in format from narrative to game to be unsatisfactory; just ask me which item I think I should use, and let's get on with it.

But overall, I gave this a 7/8 as I think it's a very fine story, and definitely worth reading.
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 6/26/2019 1:31:19 AM with a score of 0
Well, it's certainly going to be a bit difficult to adequately do this story enough justice with words, but it is a task that I'll certainly accept gladly.

Silver Horn, Silver Hooves is quite simply put, an amazing narrative story-game It has flair, descriptive writing, a wonderful setting, and characters that carry this story so strong until it reaches it's conclusion. The age old tale of an unlikely pair, teaming up to rid the world of a great evil is always interesting in a way.

I naturally begin to think just how the writer of such a scenario can add and inject their own style and prose, and mizal has done just that. From the very beginning in which you first meet the two heroes, your given an insight to their differing personalities, motives, and reason for being, and that gives great interest on how they'll coexist and go about their adventure.

And what an adventure it is! The story branches off wonderfully it pays the reader well for heeding certain paths and using their own insight and that of the character's on whether or not the right decision is being made or not, which gives this story a true choose your story feel, in my opinion. The pictures help set the tone with extra visual aid, but that isn't to say that the writing does a poor job, it does the exact of that actually.

As the story progresses, the reader is given a sense of just how foreboding and perilous the journey that they are headed on is. It did well in making me quite apprehensive, but also excited for the epic conclusion with the villain of this story. It also gave this particular adventure a feeling that if it was completed successfully, or in the right way, the world that these characters that I have come to like would be ripped apart at the seams.

Truly, mizal could have stopped at simply creating an excellent story with words, but I have to say that adding a battle system of sorts was also a rather novel idea for this story-game. For something that was apparently in a beta form by the time of my review, it did add another layer to the game's depth and also my enjoyment. I really felt accomplished at winning and overcoming my foes.

One thing I also liked was that certain choices that at first seemed to be one that was minimal, played a role and effected the story's climax and conclusion. It's a bit deceptive, but it is rewarding in that deceptiveness. Punishing a reader that is perhaps not paying nearly enough attention to the way the story was going, but also rewarding an attentive one as well.

All of that aside, while this story is made and written well, slight hiccups in the grammar department was there. However they were only few, and the writing holds up well and captures the reader's interest from beginning to end.

What mizal created here is something that will ensnare you from the first sentence and make you want to read every single page that can possibly be read that this story-game contains. And I for one would like to read more from this story's universe, as the best ending certainly does leave room for much more to be explored with this lovable and awesome unicorn.

I feel silly for not thinking unicorns weren't that cool, but my eyes have been opened after finishing this. I'm at a loss of what more I can possibly say other than that everyone really owes to themselves to read this. As a choose your story writer or potential writer, you can perhaps learn some things. And as a reader, well, you'll most likely find what has been written enjoyable.

Great work as always, and as to be expected from someone who loves writing as much as you, mizal.
-- TharaApples on 6/20/2019 6:27:55 AM with a score of 0
I was looking through some of the higher rated stories and realized I was sick of the same old hero's tale, but wasn't exactly sure why. Then I stumbled upon this one, and came to see that what I was looking for was a point of view character that wasn't human. Obviously, in the fantasy genre at some point the good guys are going to face nearly insurmountable evil magic, but what makes it worth continuing after reading the first page is the somewhat alien culture of the creature. It's refreshing to read a storygame that isn't the same anti-hero trope hovering on the border between decent and obnoxiously edgy.

Anyway, as for the story itself, the descriptions were suitably creepy, and the overly dramatic language did justice to the genre. Everyone loves a little slightly archaic, overstated dialogue. Additionally, it was interesting to walk beside the stereotypical hero, rather than play as him.

There were several quality fairy tale tropes along the way (which presumably you'd expect and even be seeking when reading a story like this), and the fact that they were done well enough to be entertaining is what really matters here. Every comedian has an itchy butt joke. What separates the creamy goodness from the smelly discharge is the execution.

There were few grammatical errors, none of which distracted from the story. I did encounter what appeared to be a short loop (SPOILER: the first and second raven had exactly the same page if you chose to handle them the same way /SPOILER), but I would say the biggest negative was that the battle didn't seem all that orderly. I did manage to get through it, but there didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for the actions I took. The first three choices I picked because I didn't want to get eaten by the dragon, but the last couple I just randomly selected, and LO! I SLEW HIM. It does say "beta" however, so obviously the story isn't finished.

One other thing that confused me is that *SPOILER* being merciful in one part of the story (the ravens) results in a "losing" ending, but being merciful at the end doesn't. Being a unicorn, I would have figured mercy would be the general default setting. Although I suppose one should not expect a story to end happily just because your character does the right thing. In fact, maybe you should expect it not to. And then on the other hand, maybe letting a witch live is the WRONG thing. *SPOILER.*

Anyway, the storygame is worth reading because it establishes a believable setting, the character has an interesting culture and disposition you won't see very much in these games, and it has some of the soul and flavor of old time fairy tales, which to me is always a plus. Also, there are a few cool pictures scattered throughout, and I'm a big fan of expanding the experience to include visual story telling. It's not a massive, world spanning epic, but it's a nice little tale well worth the read.
-- Fluxion on 6/14/2019 11:48:46 PM with a score of 0
This was a very pleasant story to read and experience. It does a great job of making you think that each choice mattered and could lead to disaster. I got the good ending, which was defintely a nice surprise. The story is pretty straightforward, which could be seem as a weakness to some people, but that gave it an "old fashioned fairy tale" vibe that I think is severely underrated.

Easily a 7/8.
-- fluttershypegasus on 12/6/2020 9:01:02 PM with a score of 0
the pages were too long and not a lot of choices. got very dry and boring
-- Lorelei on 12/2/2020 9:46:25 AM with a score of 0
-- Hello on 11/26/2020 9:47:13 AM with a score of 0
That was phenomenal.

That's all I can say. It was very well written, detailed, and interesting.
-- Anastasia on 6/15/2019 4:45:43 PM with a score of 0
Of course it's very well written. I enjoyed every second of it, but it was too linear.
-- 3iguy on 5/25/2018 11:55:51 AM with a score of 0
This fairy-tale was well-written, beautiful, and memorable. Definitely a jewel.

It was very easy to fall into a mental rhythm with the pacing of the overall story… the alterations between action, description, and dialogue flowed smoothly… new twists and encounters emerged at just the right time. This was excellent.

The plot, the choices, and the branching were great. Lots of variety and traditional fairy-tale like possibilities (as well as hints of Miyazaki/Howl’s Moving Castle in the turtle guy and the swamp witch?).

The unicorn and the Jerran initially had moments of conflicting emotions which made them dynamic and engaging characters from the start… but I did wish that these internal conflicts re-emerged as the story progressed to keep those characters more dynamic (more on this later).

Your descriptions of what we see and hear are superb in quality (and are another of your very-strong suites) but, perhaps this was overdone at times. The story sometimes felt bogged down by the detailed narration.

Here are two examples:

Example 1 (full):

Disappearing into the hut, she emerges a few moments later. “Catch!”

Reflexively Jerran leaps toward the object she tosses over the balcony. It turns out to be a small wooden box. Opening it, he reveals a long, serrated fang. At his confused expression, you swivel your ears, just as much at a loss as he is. Both of you look back up at the witch.

Example 1 (shorter):

Disappearing into the hut, she emerges a few moments later. “Catch!”

Jerran leaps to grasp small wooden box, opening it to reveal a long, seared fang. Both of you look up in confusion at the witch.

Example 2 (full):

While the great turtle is occupied swallowing down its prey, at the stranger’s assurance that it’s safe to do so you work around closer to the front and climb carefully up atop the neck and onto the shell above it, which with this method of approach slopes at a gentler angle.

Example 2 (shorter):

While the great turtle feasts, at the stranger’s assurance you climb carefully atop its neck and onto the shell, which with this method of approach slopes at a gentler angle.

I should point out that I’m not sold that the shorter versions are “better” per se, it's more that it felt that there were too many “full” versions. In my opinion, play-by-plays aren’t necessary (and are inefficient) outside of the most powerful actions and emotions. Your issue is the reverse of most authors. You sometimes show when telling might be preferable (i.e. *spoiler just "tell" us he catches the fang, then continue to "show" us when he cuts himself with it).

There is some word-for-word repetition in the fight sequences (both with the ravens and the dragons) that I felt should be eliminated. I know it’s easier for the ravens rather than the dragon fight (where you probably need about 4-5 unique descriptions for each equivalent outcome), but still, unfortunately, every time I saw the same the writing in response to my actions, I was reminded that it is a game rather than remaining immersed in your world.

There was a bit of a missed opportunity in that the race against time (“thirteen days hence when the moon is fat and full. Her blood shall mingle with these ashes, and then we shall see what new thing is born of the night.”) was not repeated/used to build the tension throughout the game.

The final sequences (*spoiler everything after killing the dragon) were haunting and beautiful. I love how you chose to hint at the bad outcomes (*spoiler both here, and earlier in the game if you chose not to help at all) rather than explicitly telling us what happened… it certainly added to the fable-like feel of the game.

My final note is only relevant to making this a non-children’s book (which I think you should):

With the notable exception of the final scenes, the story comes off a bit too saccharine .

I have always been told to “write what you know”, and “play to your strengths”… There is a side of you that I see in your posts that is needed in this story… a jaded, spiteful, funny side. Here, we only get the diplomatic/wise/sweat Mizal. It feels unsatisfying without the mischievous twin.

During the march, the unicorn should probably occasionally fantasize about skewering the main character and returning to her peaceful life in the grotto.. or perhaps have more moments of revulsion at his clumsiness and stench…

Jerran should more often lament the burden of true love (or wonder if the unicorn’s horn would work after all)… or the unicorn should wryly comment how ironic it is that, while powerful, whatever it is that humans, in their ignorance, call “true love” has only seemed to predict a relationship that is chaotic, painful and short-lived… even without the assistance of something so fancy as a curse to help it along…

The witches could also benefit from channeling your bitchy side … “ah, a unicorn… or as we like to call you, a do-nothing nobody… watching life pass you by… refusing to comment or participate… a lazy spectator with clean hooves... and you insist on debasing yourself by associating with humans… the perpetual dumb-ass noobs of the world…” Then, when one of them is dying “I just wanted to make the world a better place by purging it of stupidity… gasp… weaklings… croak… and cats… turns to dust”.

I felt like more of that side of your personality would make the story stronger.

Anyways, your writing is amazing. It was actually challenging (and fun) to come up with ways to improve it. Great story.
-- lkiriakos on 4/7/2018 3:11:27 AM with a score of 0
While it was a simple story in terms of game mechanics, it was the kind of fairytale I've loved since I was just a little kid. People often get mired in the darkness of the world, or stumble along in the gray. I think it's important to remember that there is light, too, just as real and far greater. I'll remember this story for a long time.
-- Niftu Cal on 2/23/2018 7:47:36 PM with a score of 0
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