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Muse: An Autumn Romance

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Christopher Huang



Copyright 1998, Christopher Huang

Second-place winner of the 1998 Annual IF Competition, Muse: An Autumn Romance is a beautifully written, touching game about the nature of human relationship. Set in a Victorian era, the game will definitely not appeal to anyone who is accustomed to the frenetic, do-or-die pace of games set in the 20th century and beyond. True to the time period the game is set in, Muse is a game that must be gradually explored and carefully observed to be appreciated. In a break from handsome-hero protagonist of most games, Muse casts you as an introspective, 59-year old clergyman who is unwittingly falling in love with a younger girl?in a town where his dead wife is buried.

One of the game?s strongest points is the many plot branches. Similar to Tapestry, the game is very non-linear, with multiple endings. There is a lot of things to do and see in this game, and you likely will need to play it a few more times to see all the possible plot branches. Unfortunately, many puzzles belong in the guess-the-verb category, and the built-in hint system even contains some red-herring hints that discourage you from using it too often. Character interaction, which is the game?s focus, is not as effective as, say, Rameses, but characters are interesting enough to keep you playing and guessing their motives.

Overall, Muse tells a great story about caring and giving?one that could potentially move you to tears especially when the final poem in the game is revealed. If you like fast-paced games, look elsewhere– Muse is a mellow experience to be savored. Highly recommended, especially to fans of Jon Ingold?s My Angel and Adam Cadre?s seminal classic Photopia. IMHO Muse is somewhat inferior than those two games because the puzzles sometimes get in the way of the story?making it a puzzle-less interactive novel like Photopia would probably have been more effective. Still, it?s a game not to be missed.

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