2014-12-22

IFCOMP2014: The Black Lily Review

The Black Lily by Hannes Schüller placed 17th in the 20th Interactive Fiction Competition IFCOMP2014. You can play online at ifdb. This series of blog posts are mini-reviews I wrote as a fellow author to document my impressions of other games.

Spoilers below

At first I thought this was some story about a man reaching a point in his life where he was deciding to leave aside the passions of the flesh and settle for more stable relationships. This was some bookish withdrawn guy who lived a quiet but comfortable enough life. Then I met Lily. What the heck! So I go back and open up the safe. Oh. I'm a murderer. Heck. So I play again. I'm also maybe a woman. Well that shows how much I'm projecting into the story.

Yeah, my suspicions were raised by the title: The Black Lily being similar to the Black Dahlia (a murder victim). As I played I saw the recurring Black Lily motif as some kind of marker - a symbol that linked the encounters into something to be left behind. But then it became a great plot device to represent the urges of the player character without giving too much away.

At first I wondered why the shower scene was needed. Why not just go straight to the albums... but in the end it made sense. This was the time to discover the identity of the character and I missed it.

The commands were easy enough and the world richly described. I didn't get all the endings or much of a score. But Yep. I liked it. Play time is under an hour and you might want to play a few times.