Love the idea. Will play through the whole thing.
First impressions are just okay, though: I know the game is literally called place, but just describing the place isn’t exactly a breath-catching opener … It’s also very clinical. I like the detail about the bed being sadistically narrow, but other than that the descriptions are workmanlike rather than evocative.
I think the very first thing I want to do is get a sense of the personality of the place.
So far I get that the place is …
- very tall
- mildly crowded
- equipped with an uncomfortable bed
Plus a lot of the description is what the place isn’t, rather than what it is.
Since it’s a dreamscape (I assume) I would heavily exaggerate its main features:
- It’s not just sunny, it’s blinding. The curtains do nothing to block the glare.
- The ceiling stretches up hundreds of meters tall. It makes you dizzy to look up. You can spot a small fan wobbling away ineffectually at the very top.
- It’s nearly impossible to move through all of the gadgets and trinkets lying around. You have to wade through old toys like you’re in waist-deep water.
- The bed is sadistically narrow (I liked that detail a lot)
Something like that! Something that tells us this place isn’t quite real, and that there’s something off about it.
It reminded me a lot of Walking Simulator games like Gone Home and Dear Esther. I think the latter was a lot more successful in presenting a mystery and a reason for pushing forward, whereas Gone Home was more of a slow burn, like picking apart a knot. I think Loci would have benefitted from a strong central mystery; I spent most of the game unsure what the mystery was, and ultimately it wasn’t really clear who I was playing as.
So these were the characters:
- red haired girl
- Laurel / Loren
- beautiful lady I can’t remember
- the narrator who got really hung up on the sink
- the room wanderer you play as
I feel that the most interesting part of the story is the relationships between characters, so I identified strongly with the laurel/red dynamic, but I didn’t feel that pull with many of the others. Maria and the pianist had an interesting dynamic, but while Laurel and Red went cave diving, parasailing, desert crawling, ziplining, and apple stealing together, Maria and the pianist just had a conversation.
I got the feeling that there was a lot more to the story, but I didn’t get the sense that I was unpicking a knot – each memory jumbled the knot further. When perspective changed from red to the pianist, I actually just wanted more light shined on Laurel and Red.
There was the uneasy feeling that something terrible was going to happen with Laurel (and I even deliberately picked choices to get there further out of sadistic curiosity) but it never came.
Anyway I’m sure I missed something.