I must have missed something vital that the other reviewers managed to find, because this game did nothing to engage me whatsoever. Surrealism is a hard thing to make work, and although I suspect the prose is aiming for mysterious and intriguing, it is far too purple and often borders on the incomprehensible.
It makes the mistake of thinking that "good" or "intelligent" writing depends on using lots of adjectives, obscure words, and non-sequiturs, and I can't help but feel some of the praise given in other reviews is a form of "I didn't really understand it so it must be good and it's just too smart for me." While being cryptic is a facet of some good art, one does not automatically beget the other and sometimes not making sense is just what it is- hurriedly scribbled nonsense.
The game begins by throwing you into the situation with no explanation which actually works quite well, the clay desert and strange bazaar are very interesting and evocative choices to set the scene. Like many IF games I have played, it seemed like it would be a flashback or dreamlike state to serve as a prologue. What happened instead, was the game continued in a similar vein for the entire course of play while getting more verbose, more disengaged with reality, and less interesting with each turn.
I think part of the problem stems from the lack of interactivity. It's not really a game, it's not even really a choose your own adventure because apart from a few abrupt chances to die, there's nothing you can do to change narrative paths or affect the outcome of the story. By making all actions dependent on selecting an option from a (limited) list of verbs on a (limited) number of highlighted objects, the author has required the player to just lawnmower through all the options, making moving forward in the game a chore rather than a path of discovery.
My QuestComp 2013 rating for this game is low because there is so little to the game. Whereas its QC competitor can be marked down on all sorts of things like implementation and bugs, there is nothing Worship The Pig can do to lose marks because there is nothing in it apart from narrative. It started off well, but I personally became disenchanted soon after.
Worship the Pig is supremely surreal (almost, but not quite, to the point of confusion), much like a genuine dream. Ranging from lighthearted whimsy to vulgar absurdity, it's as if it were co-written by Theodor Seues Geisel and Clive Barker. It takes you on a perilous journey to strange and beautifully described locales in the desperate pursuit of an uncertain goal. The plot is vague and unclear, but it's also captivating and intriguing enough that I couldn't stop reading if I'd tried. In the end, it reveals just enough hints at its meaning to stimulate interesting conversation. In fact, I actually forced my wife to play through it as soon as I'd finished just so we could discuss it.
The game has no input bar or side panels; the player interacts with the story purely by use of hyperlinks. It's an interesting and exciting concept for play, but in this case it left me feeling more like I was reading a book with footnotes than playing a game. There are very few moments where the player can actually make a significant choice about they do, the primary one resulting in a "traditional frustration" of text games.
Despite some disappointment with the interface, I have to say I truly enjoyed Worship the Pig and look forward to any future titles Heal Butcher might release here. I might also take a look at some of his ADRIFT games.
A bizarre journey to a "strange bazaar", this CYOA style game is filled with unnatural and abstract scenery and sports a cast of insane characters that serve to create the feeling of some obscured, stylized message throughout the story.
The writing is beautiful, and the style chosen for the game allows for the player to feel as though they haven't missed any of it unless they meant to leave it behind.
It is very easy to navigate through the game, there is only one puzzle (if you could call it that), and the title is a bit of a spoiler to that end.
In terms of a "game" I would say it's lacking simply because there is only one point at which the player influences the events in the story in any significant way, but as a work of literature, and as a somewhat novel use of the medium chosen it works perfectly, allowing the reader/player to explore the world as much as they might choose while still telling a story exactly as the author deems that it is best told.
I would, however, have very much liked for it to be longer. It took about 15 minutes to get the end, at which point I somehow arrived at the conclusion that I had chosen another bad option and ended the game early. It wasn't until I had played it through a few more times that I realized I had explored every option the first time and that the story's ending reflects the mysterious, confusing nature that the rest of the tale possesses. I'm left feeling like there could have been more to it, some way to explore the fantastic settings and characters, or at least something to help make sense of it.
For the QuestComp 2013 score I'll say 6/10, and I'll hope that there might be something more to come for this very odd, but beautifully detailed fever dream I wasn't ready to end.
This is a rather surreal adventure. A lot of it works, but some descriptions left me scratching my head ("unerring points of light", "incredibly naked" and "heat rising like weightless gelatin from empty streets" sound like the author is trying a little too hard to be surreal). The ending was somewhat bewildering too (in fact, I thought I had died, and reloaded to see where I went wrong).
The plot is pretty simple, it took me about twenty minutes to get through it. There was only about half a dozen locations, and not many more objects.
There is no command line, which makes it easy to trawl through every possibility when playing, but really there were no puzzles anyway, and I think that that worked well enough. There was no compass either, and directions were done via objects, which was a good idea.
The fish mosaic interlude was very well done. On the other hand, the sudden death in the atrium is annoying (the game title is a clue, but even so...).
Technically it was faultless as far as I noticed, but it was basically linear, and there really was not much too it.
ADRIFT veteran Heal Butcher (I don't think there are two Heal Butchers around?) gets all weird in Worship the Pig. This is a hypertext click, look and walk journey through some strange and ornate scenery. The clickable keywords make for a clean and smooth delivery of the experience, with the most commonly appearing contextual menu action being "Look At". The imagery and feel reminded me of one of the David Lynch films not grounded in reality (EG Inland Empire) or of Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle. There is no plot to speak of, but there are anonymous figures, a garbed pig-man and crowds who say strange things. It all feels somewhat threatening, like you might be the only sane person wandering in a world of creatures who are freakish or alien to you – though these creatures also have a slavish civility about them, and seem to be following a set of rules that you don't understand. It is unsettling to be amongst them.
In the tradition of some other games with imperative titles, "Worship The Pig" turns out to be a an action you can take one point, and in the context of this no-puzzle game, worshipping the pig is a significant decision. In terms of interactivity, the fact that you're still choosing when to move around and what to look at in general gives you a traditional IF trope to hang onto, one which, even on its own, can add a purposive feel to a game that's essentially linear and not interested in revealing a clear narrative purpose.
I found the prose a tiny bit ripe, but it's undoubtedly vivid and has been well crafted to deliver the experience it wants to deliver. And that experience is more than a little freaky.