Hello everyone! I just finished playing/reading/adventuring with Andy Kirschbaum‘s interactive novel Verdigris on my Droid, and wanted to share my thoughts on it. I should go into this saying that I have an astonishing lack of experience with this kind of narrative; I read a few choose-your-own-adventure books when I was younger, and played a few text-based multiple choice adventure games, but other than that, my experience with forms of electronic interactive fiction is very limited.
As such, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from Verdigris, but I went with the expectation of finding a text-based adventure game. I was wrong. Verdigris is truly best described as an “interactive novel,” and far surpassed the expectations I had held of an interactive narrative. Most overtly, Verdigris did away with the inconveniences of many text-based games, making it very simple to follow and a pleasure to use.
Instead of having to do all of the traveling yourself, hopping from place to place, once you began an adventure hook, you were kept within that storyline until it’s conclusion, which delighted me. I had expected to have to trudge around finding clues to solve the mystery, but what I ended up doing was starting on a plotline that seemed interesting, and then just making the choices for how the character solved the plot, solving the plot, and then moving onto the next one. The organization was very simple, which resulted in the story itself coming to the forefront, rather than the “gameplay.” And the story was really where thisVerdigris shown.
The world of Verdigris is extremely rich and well-developed, with deep characters, interesting locations, and complex plots. I was immersed in the world throughout the story, and couldn’t stop trying to figure things out. The world itself was a fascinating blend of steampunk, magic, science, social and political commentary (which often had me smirking, especially the game’s references to bureaucracies), industrialism, robots, and the undead. The characters in the world were all very well-thought out, and I enjoyed interacting with them. The plot was also extremely intriguing, and I genuinely wanted to find out what was going on.
Unfortunately, when I had completed 11/12 of the story’s “missions,” a bug caused me to have to restart. However, this was actually not a bad thing; it gave me the chance to go through the story again, choosing different options, and opened up a whole new set of narrative possibilities that I enjoyed going through again. In the end, my one complaint with the game was that I wish there was more! A lot of interesting avenues for further exploration into the world of Verdigris were opened, and I would love to learn more about it – particularly the pneumatic tube system and the August Lord in Jade.
I highly recommend Verdigris to pretty much anyone. It’s a worthy purchase, and I good way to pass the time – though be careful in case you can’t stop! It is available here on iTunes and here on Google Play. Also be sure to visit Andy’s website and blog.