March 11, 2015

Mini-review: Enticing Ella by BeanBean

Enticing Ella is a Twine game by BeanBean that was released several days ago. As of the time of writing, it hasn’t received much of a reaction, which I think is partly a result of it being over-shadowed by The Lost Hound and partly because the author described it as having "many flaws". Anyhow, I’ve played it through a couple of times, so here are my thoughts.

In terms of design, I think the game is solid. There’s a good amount of branching, and the order in which you do things can change the result, so there’s a fair amount of replayability despite the game’s relatively short length.

As I expected from the author’s description, the text hasn’t been proof-read and is littered with various mechanical errors, notably typos and weird variations in tense. The layout is a bit unhelpful as well, with some sections being squished together and others spread apart. However, I think if those problems had been cleaned up, the writing would have been fine.

The big problem for me was that the title was a misnomer. Ella is not enticing. In fact, there’s virtually no attempt to sell her to the player as a love/lust interest. Yes, she’s physically attractive, but so are most of the women at the party where the PC meets her. So why is the PC’s friend so eager to set them up? Why does everyone (including Ella) take it as written that the PC is interested in her? The best we get is that the PC can say he’s interested in women that are "smart and kind-hearted" and apparently that describes Ella. However, that’s not really backed up by anything that happens in the game. The strict requirements for dating her make her seem intolerant of anyone who doesn’t share her worldview, and for a lot of their date she seems to find the PC’s presence an imposition and complains about him not being as good a hiker as she is. Of more probable relevance to most players is the fact that the sex scene is a bit perfunctory. It does have several variations, but they’re set up by choices that the player made in previous scenes so they’re not very accessible.

Despite its shortcomings, I think Enticing Ella is an honourable first attempt, and I hope it was a learning experience for the author.

6 comments:

  1. Any chance of a walkthrough? Its embarrassing but I can't seem to clear it...thanks

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    1. I'll see what I can do. Is there any particular part you're stuck on?

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    2. See http://aifsansmystery.blogspot.com/2015/05/walkthrough-enticing-ella-by-beanbean.html

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  2. Where can i grab a copy?

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    Replies
    1. It's only been posted to the aifarchive Yahoo group as far as I know.

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    2. Addendum: it's also on the author's website http://beanbean.neocities.org/

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