IFComp ’13: Vulse

Going from its description, I thought Vulse would be a mystery game:

A dead body floats down a river into the heart of an infuriating small town. As the locals grapple with the murder, they must also contend with the breakdown of cause-and-effect and the realization that the world is not for them anymore.

But no, instead it’s a tone piece of the sort that seems to excel in Twine (at least, in my limited experience with the platform). I can’t say I quite penetrated what was going on. There might have been a body in a river, though I can’t say for sure. I have no idea what “the breakdown of cause-and-effect” is referring to other than existential vagueness. Plenty of that to go around. Still, the writing is good: moody and full compelling imagery. The game was captivating in the playing and there are some neat little moments, like the description of the radio updating in real time, or fast-forwarding through the mix-tape. However I’m in no hurry to dive back in to search for hidden meanings or even to suss out a plot. Vulse is entertaining in the moment but lacks staying power.

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