Game: The Hunter’s Journals – Tattered Sails
Platform: PC, Android
Genre: interactive fiction
Style: heavy influences
Verdict: Recommended
Buy: Steam
Lovecraft Video Games received a review copy of The Hunter’s Journals – Tattered Sails.

Due out this Halloween, the latest entry in the interactive fiction series The Hunter’s Journals sees you in the role of a hunter called in to assist with a seemingly-cursed search for lost treasure.

The basic gameplay is the standard for the series, with dice rolls in combat added to your skill stat to determine whether you or the enemy deals damage that turn, and numerous choices to make as you read through the story. Here, you can customize your gameplay through the use of an Heirloom or the new Trait system, which might give you a bonus in one area in exchange for a disadvantage in another.

For example, I favored the Last Scion trait, which gave me a 50% chance of ignoring an event that would otherwise lower my skill points, but also meant I’d lose an additional point of stamina if I took damage outside of combat.

(Alternately, you have the option to go with no Heirloom or Trait.)

Tattered Sails has a decidedly Lovecraftian tone, from the ominous nature of the dig to the events that unfold later on. I particularly enjoyed the story’s use of all caps for the names of certain things. While simple, it’s an effective way to make those things stand out as unnatural even in text form.

And of course, as you progress, you’ll unlock many dazzling and horrifying pieces of art that accompany the story. After several playthroughs, I still hadn’t unlocked the full gallery.

Depending on your choices, you’ll encounter a variety of different situations, some with ramifications that aren’t felt until later, although the variance seemed a bit less than before. Tattered Sails also felt shorter than its most recent predecessors, although that might also be because the difficulty is lower. I didn’t feel nearly as pressed for survival as in the past.

For many players, that might be a good thing, although others might not find it so.

With its new customization, lower difficulty, and intriguing horror story, The Hunter’s Journals – Tattered Sails might be one of the best starting points for this interactive fiction series, and I look forward to seeing where the series will go next. And if you prefer the entries with stronger Lovecraftian leanings, this one should suit your tastes for sure.

Buy: Steam

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