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Moonlit Tower

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Yoon Ha Lee

GAME DEVELOPER:Freeware

GAME PUBLISHER:Freeware

Copyright 2002, Yoon Ha Lee

Moonlit Tower is a fascinating debut IF title by Yoon Ha Lee, a published fantasy author. Steep in Eastern mythos, Moonlit Tower evokes a great atmosphere, a feeling of being part of an Eastern folk tale, mainly through vivid and beautifully written descriptions that are reminiscent of Lethe Flow Phoenix.

Because the storyline is told in an indirect manner, and the dreamy descriptions make the line between reality and fantasy a blurry one, much of what is going on in the game must be inferred largely from room descriptions. I did not fully understand the plot until my second run through the game, when I paid more attention to the text (and discovered in the process an alternate ending, to my pleasant surprise). Puzzles are quite fair and logical, although a few could use more cues.

But the star of Moonlit Tower is the writing, and here it succeeds in spades. Almost every response to simple commands like EXAMINE is written beautifully. Even more impressive is the fact that many times you EXAMINE something, it triggers flashbacks or recollections about the object that gives you more information about your character’s past. With memorable writing, deft evocation of Eastern mythos, and multiple endings, Moonlit Tower is a well-deserved fourth place winner of the 2002 IF Competition, and will appeal to anyone who enjoys Lethe Flow Phoenix, Infocom’s Trinity, or similar games that combine strong writing with intriguing fantasy locations. Highly recommended.



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