The Duel in the Snow

Utkonos (2009)

The Duel In The Snow is a story with a faint moral message, though in our desensitized times it feels odd to be put into a fair fight. Itís a well crafted game, I had no problems technically, and the world here is small and manageable with puzzles that are easy. It makes for a nice entry that can be played in about 30 minutes.

The writingís good, but it fails to unveil the backstory that it's built upon. I'm still left with questions about why Natasha left. Kropkin could have filled me in, but the game didn't go there. Also, it would have been nice to see characters with a bit more depth. Natasha just ignored me in the dream sequence. It would have been pretty cool if we couldíve talk about the fight, maybe fixing things between us before waking up from the fantasy.

The puzzles are pretty easy, though I figure most people will end up dying without looking at the walkthrough, and their simple design works well, allowing the story to flow. Then it comes to a crashing halt right at the first flashback scene.

To get around this the author should have a daemon ticking in the background waiting for about 20 turns to go buy. If the player hasn't left the scene on their own and the time has passed, it should trigger the end of the scene. The problem here is if the player doesnít do exactly what you want them to, it kills the game. So the author needs to keep things moving along, and in a game thatís moving this swiftly, and as pointed as it is, you might as well keep things happening.

I scored this game a 7, I really can't give it a reviewer bonus. IF is a very malleable medium and this game felt extremely linear. It also missed some opportunities to tell its story, even though what it does tell is well executed. Some people might like this game. I feel it has limited appeal.