Review – The Adventure of Esmeralda and Ruby on the Magical Island

I think this is a serious entry, so I’ll review it in the usual manner. While the author may have put some effort into learning the authoring system and incorporating graphics, I don’t get the sense that a lot of time was spent on the writing or editing. If there was editing.

It starts off sounding like a children’s story, and I would guess that it is aimed at children under about ten years of age. The introduction sounds typical for a fantasy story involving a boy and his sister. The part that I liked most about this story was that every few pages, there is an illustration done by children, who are credited at the conclusion of the story.

Structurally, there is intro text, three possible sub-adventures, and a conclusion and credits. Within the sub-adventures, pages are linear.

I think IFcomp has room for everybody: parser, twine, cyoa, etc., and also all ages: young readers, YAs, hipsters, cranky codgers, and everyone in-between. Given the current size and composition of the comp, I don’t see any compelling reason to subdivide. A good young reader story, if it does what it is intended to do, should stand toe-to-toe with an adventure game or interactive essay.

The part that I really love about this entry are the drawings. I’ve mentioned in earlier reviews that writing with a constraint helps an author get the juices flowing and stay on track. I’d like to imagine that this project started with the drawings and then framed a story around them, perhaps with input from some underage consultants. Maybe that’s an idea for a future SpeedIF comp — toss some paper and crayons into a kindergarden think tank and see what they come up with.

Unfortunately, the writing was difficult to get through. In some places, there were frank contradictions — the kids in the story are referred to as two brothers. Without getting into a hot and heavy debate about gender terminology, my understanding was that one was a boy, and one was a girl. They are referred to as brother and sister in other places. Is this a continuity error? Could it be a translation error where “sibling” was rendered as “brother” by default?

These in consistencies and a constant stream of word choice, grammatical, and spelling errors dissuaded me from trying to read through the text. I clicked through, scanning superficially. Here are a couple examples of what I came across for flavor:

  • on ad unknown island
  • he was already out, they tought.
  • Ma most importantly, where on
  • “And this mosquitos?
  • I need you to stat alert

So, while I give a lot of credit to Tetta and Gerry for their drawings, I would encourage the author to find some editors and try to get writing hammered out.


Story: 3

Voice: 4

Play: 3

Polish: 2

Technical: 4


Preliminary Score: 3.2



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