Review – Moon Base

This is a short sci-fi/horror piece written in Twine. The aesthetic is green san serif text on a black background, what I’d call monochrome modern. The writing is earnest but staccato: the introductory screen includes seven sentences, each its own paragraph, and only one was longer than a single line in my browser. While there is enough gore, I didn’t have much emotional reaction to the scenes; for me, the horror aspect fell flat.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I had a bad first impression as early as the second sentence: “All was within normal paramenters.” Mostly I care about setting the tone and roping in the reader in the first few sentences, but errors like this so early on may lead players to press the abort button.

[Some spoilers follow beyond this point]

The story is, at least, fast paced. The main character, Maria Kenshall, lands at a moon base and immediately learns that the base has been attacked by a monster.

There are three decision points in the game, which is otherwise entirely linear. I hit the first of these five minutes into play and ended up dead. I would have preferred to have eased in with a few non-lethal decisions, but okay. Having learned from my mistake, I started over and speed-clicked through to the decision point, but took the other choice. A few screens later, another bad decision and another death.

Restart. On my third run, I hit the third, and I think final, decision point. To my surprise I did not die! Not immediately. It took a few screens, but the decision that I had made did lead to my death. In retrospect, I prefer immediate death.

On my fourth pass, I got all the decisions “right” and reached an ending where everyone lives. The End. Total time elapsed about 15 minutes.

Story: 3. A brief monster encounter. Few choices.

Voice: 3. More action, less voice.

Play: 4. No navigational issues; would have preferred an undo mechanism to get through this in one versus four plays.

Polish: 4. Lower error rate than some works, but not spell checked.

Technical: 3. Some design choice in presentation, otherwise straight hypertext in twine.


Preliminary Score: 3.2

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