When I woke, it was high noon, and the air was dead.
Sigil Reader (Field) is a fantasy exploration parser game made in Quixe. The PC is a woman called Priyanka Ramasamy who deals with sigils of protection, speed, silence, and more; she works in an institution whose role is to capture and log specimens and monsters. What exactly this involves is hidden at first.
Thrown into the events of the game, Priyanka has tattered memories of the catastrophe that has occurred, and the Station is deserted. It quickly becomes clear that while the Station is not working as it should, neither is Priyanka’s mind.
Something made me look down, and there was my ID card clipped to my belt. Had it always been there?
Although the descriptions of the station offices fall on the spartan side, it’s in the small details where the writing shines. Snippets about Priyanka’s colleagues and brief but intense sensory interactions are some of my favourite segments, revealing low-key but characterful information about Priyanka’s colleagues’ lives, and what Priyanka herself remembers and values.
The game moves forward steadily, with minor puzzles that serve to enhance the atmosphere rather than challenging the player for any great length of time. As it progresses, it becomes clearer that Priyanka is in an altered state of being, but Sigil Reader (Field) is not about enforcing the player’s will on the world: it’s more about savouring the story, the world, and Priyanka’s experience.
The snippets of information we get whet the appetite for more. As Christopher Huang notes: “It feels like there’s a lot of detail in this setup that’s just a little bit beyond the frame.”
Though Sigil Reader (Field) is successful as is, I wonder where it would have gone with a longer deadline. More than that, though, I’d love to see more in this setting … and more non-Euro/US settings generally, more Malay SFF in the IF world, and more Singlish. The dreamy atmosphere and lightly-creeping dread of this game means I’m looking forward to playing more of verityvirtue’s work in Ectocomp 2017.