Dingo's Reviews - Brimstone Manor (Up Next: AI - Aftermath)

Dancing with Demons
By Ivailo Daskalov

”And, she is strikingly beautiful. She might very well be the model of every Goth girl with her long raven hair, short black dress and pale complexion. Except for the eyes - they are like two pieces of an the abyss. Other than that, her facial features are soft and innocent.”

This story feels like a Hot Topic, all eras of it. You start off playing a Hearthstone card game competitively, find out you are a Succubus or Incubus (You know… be other-worldly, count your blessings, seduce a stranger), and you end with the most disjointed selection of popular brands, edgy story-telling, and dark eyeliner. What’s so wrong with being happy? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have an issue with darker storytelling, but I’m just here to call out a Warning. We are like frogs, oblivious… Okay. Enough of that. I’m going to go listen to music from 2001, and wonder why my mom never let me buy JNCO.

General Story:

As above, the story jumps from you being a Demon, but not a normal demon. A demon who must balance light and darkness, and determine a mystery of what happened to you and those around you after you are attacked by another unknown demon.

This mystery doesn’t last long as the story is short, and at a breakneck pace at all times. The story moves way too fast to have any investment. Character descriptions are all like the above quote, which can give you a little bit of an idea of how nun Sister Mercy is depicted. This feels like peak McFarlane comic Spawn.

Honestly, I tend to be pretty iffy on stories that start characters off with amnesia to allow lore dumps and teach you about the world, but if any story could have gotten away with it… I think this might have been one.

Format and Typos:

I’m assuming this was written by someone with English as a second language, but it works well enough. There are still quite a few typos, but I reported a few. Some primers were included as options in the game that you could ignore, but I felt like it might have been better included as a lore dump within the story.

Game Mechanics and Stats:

Mechanics run with some minor stat choices, like the use of Whips or Fireballs, and it’s usually pretty easy to tell what is going to be tested. There are some opposed pairs measuring your Light and Darkness (which were pretty easy to understand what would give you what, in most cases) and Protection and Retribution. That second opposed pair was really hard to wrap my head around sometimes, because protection was both ‘wanting to protect someone’ and personal caution.

Replayability:

There is a decent amount of replayability. You have your basic Light vs Darkness run, but there are also a few minor branching paths at the end. There are a couple of romantic options, but I’m fairly certain they are all women. I didn’t exhaust every path, so I may have missed some other options.

Dislikes:

  • Events and occurrences felt like they were improvised on the fly. Chapters feel disjointed.
  • Gender variability for your character essentially only changes the immediate page after selecting it, as far as I can tell.
  • A focus on a few less skills might have helped focus some of the choices and strengthened the style of the story. Powers should feel powerful and wondrous. You lose a little bit when your character uses a fireball like this was a normal Tuesday. You can just feel them yawning while doing it.

Likes:

  • Sister Mercy is a Heavy Metal-esque nun and that is not nothing for those with that inclination.
  • There was a lot of potential in the story about what the difference is between demons and angels.
  • For as much as I poked fun at the Hot Topic-goth culture, the descriptions did work to capture that feeling from the early to mid-2000’s.
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