Jul 07

2022

The Sword of Rhivenia by Ayan Mammadli

Posted by: Jason Stevan Hill | Comments (1)

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The War of Three Brothers, which took place ten years ago, changed the unknown fate of Rhivenia. The Sword chose Prince Charles to rule; however, his brothers dared to go against its choice. Prince Charles gained victory over his brothers, who were the victims of their greed. Executing all the traitors, he strengthened his reign and became the rightful king of three kingdoms. He’s been living a peaceful life with his two wives and four children until an unexpected enemy shows up. It’s 30% off until July 14th!

You play as one of the heirs, who may be chosen by the Sword once King Charles dies. Are you worthy of the throne? Or do your siblings deserve it more than you do? What kind of heir will you be?

“The Sword of Rhivenia” is a 750,000 word interactive medieval fantasy novel by Ayan Mammadli, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

  • Play as prince or princess.
  • Customize your appearance and personality.
  • Build friendships and make enemies.
  • Be chosen by the Sword or stay as prince/princess.
  • Betray your kingdom or be loyal.
  • Get married and start a family.

Ayan developed this game using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels like these. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Write your own game and Hosted Games will publish it for you, giving you a share of the revenue your game produces.

1 Comment

  1. A lack of clarity of the intended result when it comes to choice selection.
    -A skill/attribute system that doesn’t seem to come into play very often.
    -A story with a large cast, but relatively few interactions.
    -Romances where the result of one’s responses are unclear.
    -Relationship gauges that barely seem to move regardless of the actions you take.
    -Stories where you make decisions, but don’t actually do anything, and other characters act out most scenes.
    -Scenes where you are unsure if a certain response will end the scene, or if you can choose multiple responses.
    -A story arc that indicates a longer story, but ends abruptly before that conclusion, indicating a sequel.

    Unfortunately this story trips up on all of these at one point or another. In addition there are, at the time of writing this, quite a few spelling and formatting mistakes, mostly encountered in the latter portions of the game. The writing also begins to suffer in the latter half, with the prose becoming even more simplified and some of the characters stating things in a way that feels like a first pass in want of an edit. As an example, the line “Manipulation is the best method for controlling people.” is uttered, and the simplistic delivery makes the character sound childish. Some of the world building feels simplistic as well. Pirates are a state enemy, but whether these are just random rogue sailors or represent some culture group is kind of vague. There are a few gods mentioned, but little real description of them, same thing with countries. This is unfortunate as the writing is more nuanced when it comes to aspects of leadership, personal and familial relationships, and how to navigate the burden of power and the matters of the heart.

    The premise is interesting, and the characters, though somewhat shallow, were engaging enough that I had some favourites, but over all a lot of them feel sketched out and it was difficult to know what they wanted or what the likely result of any given response was going to be. And given how few interactions it is possible to have with some of them, and how little the relationship meters move it could be very difficult to know who liked my character and who didn’t, with most of them barely moving from the baseline during the entirety of the game, in spite of being declared my closest ally. When it comes to the various attributes things could be even more confusing.

    I was almost maxed in Charming and Confidence, but I have no idea what the effect of that was. I was an incredibly skilled swordsman and combatant, but in the only combat scenario I encountered outside of training (and I was looking for chances to put my skills on display), my character did nothing and some allies took care of things. Archery came up twice, and both times seemed important, and I failed both of those, but there was no indication it would be useful compared to the other two before hand. There is a point early on where you can learn another language, that seems pretty important later, and the chance never comes again and isn’t really explained at the time. I raised my knowledge skill quite high, but I have no idea if that changed anything at all. Considering how many stats there are, it’s unclear if there are tests regarding them or if they are just supposed to indicate your personality.

    All of that said, I found the plot engaging, and the courtroom drama an interesting setting. The rigid society and the competition between you and your siblings was an interesting conceit, though again figuring out exactly what the standing between your siblings and you is determined by can be confusing, and it’s unclear what, if anything, you should be trying to do to progress against them.

    All in all, it is not a bad game. But it does show signs of needing some polish. Considering how intricate some of the plotting is, the delivery could use a little more grace, and the prose could be given a little more life instead of being so perfunctory. There were characters I liked, and choices that felt tense, but also many interactions that felt hollow and under cooked. It feels like an ambitious first entry, and while I’m interested in seeing the rest of the story, I hope the author can use their experience making this to refine their output for future stories. I recommend it, but with the admonishment that it feels like a first work, and may not be as polished as some other Text Adventure Games you may have played. I do however think there’s a great deal of potential here.

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