Next: “Ariadne in Aeaea”, a gleeful little prequel to one Greek myth….
Here’s a saucy little tale. We’re Ariadne of the Theseus-and-the-Minotaur myth–though this is significantly before the events of that story–and we’ve just woken up in a naked tangle of goatherds. It seems we’re also a priestly initiate, except that we snuck out last night for a bit of a lark, and now the headmistress–er, I mean, the high priestess is Not Amused. We’ve got to prove our political worth, because the whole priestess thing is a political game, or we may be posted to the stores to spend the rest of our life as an administrative clerk. The horror.
The situation is described in much wittier fashion, of course; I’ve had to condense it for this review. Suffice it to say that the game proceeds with heavy doses of piquant humour. Ariadne is a naughty, naughty girl, and completely unapologetic about herself. She doesn’t quite fit in with the priestesses or the system of advancement, but she’s far from being a loser: she has too few regrets, and as far as she’s concerned, she has yet to actually fail at getting what she wants. The attitude comes through in the writing, and it was fun to walk around for a bit in her sandals.
I also get the sense that the world is very thoroughly researched and thought out. It’s in all the details, from tiny things such as the offhand remarks about saffron exports to larger things like how the religious and political systems work here.
In terms of gameplay, it’s largely about talking to people and showing them the right object. The puzzles that don’t involve this are fairly simple, too. This means the game goes by pretty quickly. It would seem slight, but the conversation snippets can be relatively lengthy, at least in comparison to most Interactive Fiction. Fortunately, they’re written with some pretty good humour, which makes them a joy to read.
As it turns out, though, this is (once again) the First Instalment in a proposed series. That could be seen as a pity; I’m getting a bit tired of things that are presented as “Part One of Many Many”. That said, though, the game does come to a natural end rather than to a real cliffhanger. Our original stated goal is reached and fulfilled, so, to all intents and purposes, we’ve finished the story. It stands on its own just fine.
Breakfast? Eggs Benedict Florentine (spinach instead of ham) with extra paprika in the Hollandaise. Accompanying it is a Bloody Mary, because we are an adult and we’ll break our fast with a cocktail if we damn-well want.