The next game I played in Spring Thing 2022 was Fairest. This is the latest game from Amanda Walker, an author that took 4th place in last year’s competition. This game came with a walkthrough, the reason I played it next, but it’s the only one in the competition to have one.

In this game, you play as yourself and Prince Conrad. Well, the person you call yourself at the beginning of the game. This is the only real gripe I have with the game, but we can return to that later. The prince is the firstborn of an aligning King, so the crown should go to him. But due to a scheming stepmother, his two brothers challenge him for the throne. It is decided that you, Conrad, will go out on a quest to prove your worth as King.

The game unfolds naturally. With a guiding feather that takes you to the areas you need to be. No wandering around the map, wondering what to do. I never felt lost. The areas are big enough for the player to move around freely. They’re easy to keep track of and not so large that you need a map. There are three main puzzles that interconnect nicely, like a Tarantino film, minus everyone dying at the end.

The game’s dark, and the ending a little chilling, with a long list of choices at the end. I don’t know how well this works in a parser game, but I don’t see how you could do it differently. It also made for some interesting conclusions before the final scene.

This game was polished, with a lot of love put into it. I only got hung up once, and the mirror was no help where it could’ve been, but there was a walkthrough that got me out of that early part of the game. I’m glad, or I would’ve missed a beautiful game.

What I was saying before, it did feel weird having the game address me directly. It felt confusing when it was over because it felt like that person was still talking to me and not Conrad. The transition back was strange. It really broke the 4th wall. Also, I think there was a missed opportunity with the horse. You should be able to talk to the head after you free the girl. I just thought that something extra could’ve been thrown in there.

This game really blew me out of the water. I didn’t know what to think going in, but it turned out to be a dark game with easy puzzles that I enjoyed immensely. I hope it does well in the competition. But there’s only first place. This one is a strong contender for Best In Show for me. I can’t recommend it enough.

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