This is a nicely presented, relatively short Twine game that shares some of its DNA with a Choice Of Games story. Pages are a few paragraphs long, followed by a series of choices, most often two or three, but sometimes more. There are a few parameters along the top of the screen, shown as linear gauges with superimposed numerical values: health, rage, discipline, and claws. There is no back button, so on any given run through the game, there is no taking back actions, and players have to live with their choices.
As the blurb indicates, the player must choose a path through the story, either suppressing or giving into their natural bloodlust. Most choices dial up or down the rage and discipline counters, so the player has some immediate feedback of the degree to which they have turned to the dark side.
[Some spoilers follow beyond this point]
This feature of the game is not quite in keeping with how things would be done in Choice Script — rage and discipline are not complementary parameters (i.e., rage is not defined as one hundred minus discipline). Very often these two indicators do go in different directions after a commitment to either peace or war, but not always. It’s probably not an ideal analogy, but you could view these two values as the traditional D&D axes of law (discipline) and beneficence (rage). The game does not fit the Choice of Games mold in several other ways: the story is weighted by fewer parameters and does not check all the boxes that a model COG story would be expected to incorporate.
The interface is polished — not your standard blocks of text with embedded hyperlinks typical of twine games. The writing is solid and well edited. There are a couple issues with quotation marks, but otherwise, the story has been very well proofed.
I did hit a programmatic bug in the original release of the game, but by report, it has been patched and does not affect the current version available on the IFcomp website.
The game is just the right size to play through multiple times, and I would guess that most players try it at least twice, exploring the extremes of pacifism and anger, but there are also some more subtle pathways through the game corresponding to mixed feelings or indifference.
I did find that regardless of path, the ending came a bit abruptly, but also appreciate the author’s decision to draw the line at a reasonable game length.
Preliminary Score: 8.4