The Warbler's Nest

Jason McIntosh (2010)

The Warbler's Nest is a decent game that starts off on the wrong footing. In the middle of a field of reeds you have to figure out what is going on, but simple questions like why I am here or what I should be doing arenít answered. Once the game opens up it becomes easier to play with a bit of direction. The ending came a little abruptly for me, but thatís because there are two endings, and it felt like I only played half the game. But whatís here is a cute story that anybody can play.

The game starts off with you in the middle of a bunch or reeds, but it doesn't say why youíre there and when I tried to explore around it says that I need to stay on task. What task? I found this pretty frustrating right at the beginning of the game and even wanted to close out of my interpreter, but that would have been a shame because it turned out to be a neat little story.

The player seems to be helped along by this voice in his head, the tailor, but who is this guy? Thatís never explained either, and it took me a while to understand this second voice in my head was talking to me and I was responding back. At first I thought I was overhearing a strange conversation outside my cottage that didn't make much sense, but in Dark Fantasy almost anything can happen so you have to be willing to go with things a little longer to figure them out than you would with a piece of non-fiction letís say. Oh well, something like ďyou hear a mysterious voice in your headÖĒ would have gone a long way.

But I do like how a lot of the solutions for the puzzles are clued right into the text.

>x baby
Slackjawed, the baby stares at your eggshell with its dull, dark eyes.

When an experienced IF player sees that, he just wants to GIVE BABY EGGSHELL and it makes for an awesome play mechanic. Actions seem natural and the game very rarely gets hung up on any verbs, there are no guess-the-verb puzzles here though you do have to LOOK BEHIND stuff. I think that examining the log could have encouraged the player a little more to look behind it.

The game also stopped half way through for me. I wanted to do the ritual to the baby myself, going down to the river, throwing the baby in, all that. I could see the commands in my mind. They all were easy, and they all made sense. But when you walk out the door the game ends right there with a bit of a cut scene. This felt like a let down. I wanted more.

The Warbler's Nest is a short game that could use a bit more direction in the beginning. The setup should at least tell the player why they are there, and what they should be doing. Thatís the basics of any setup in an IF game. But once it gets going it finds its stride with clues laced through out the game, finally giving direction and fast pace to the play. It could use a bit more work, but whatís there is pretty interesting. I scored it an 8.