Author: Mark Sample
Year: 2020
Development System: Twine
Cruelty Rating: Merciful
Length Of Play: 30 minutes

My Rating: 9

There are many types of games that can be made with Twine, but seemingly the most common and to this reviewer’s opinion the most frustrating is the game on rails that pretends it’s not on rails. The last thing I want to do after spending an hour playing a game is to replay it with all the different choices and discover that other than some flavor text, nothing has changed.

Babyface never pretends that it is a game or that the player has any agency. It’s simply a short horror story that uses Twine to enhance the player experience by using inventive visuals, frequent changes in pacing, and opportune music and sound effects. I’m reminded of House of Leaves, a landmark horror novel that used vivid stylings with text to immerse the reader. Similarly, first person perspective here works as we’re just along for the ride.

While the story itself is derivative of horror I’ve read in the past, and there are some loose threads at the end I wish had been tidied up, I was nevertheless engrossed and experienced the tension the author was going for. Good horror is incredibly difficult and I’m excited if Mark Sample continues with this genre.

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