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A really sweet, solid Game

  • Kylaila
  • 08/02/2018 03:10 PM
Maja's Wish is a short story-driven game about helping a ghost pass into the afterlife. It is a sweet well-made game, and even if it offers little action or suspense, it is a kindhearted diversion.

You go on a family trip with your father and younger sister to a cottage in the middle of a forest. The two caretakers there, as well as the ghost you meet are the only additional characters in the game.

The Characters:

To my mild surprise, we play as a child protagonist of 12. As such the tone is mellow and the writing simple. Technically, you may also call him a young teen, but the game handles it more on the child side stylistically, except you count appreciating phone reception as a strictly teen behavior.
The best description I can give is a bored child needing to go on a vacation he does not want to go on, and as such acts more spoiled than anything else but eventually reveals he has his sweet sides.

I am not even complaining, stories like these are so common under the misguided guise of "doing it for their sake".

The focus really is not the side cast, as you have very few dialogues, and these few dialogues are focused on your objective - finding out more about the deceased girl. Sadly, while she receives a lot of attention in writing, you find out very little about her (bar her aspiration/play hobby). I feel like I have not gained any deeper insight into any of the characters towards the end, even if they all feel natural.

The Mystery:

Having read the description, the main plot came as no surprise. It is also quickly made a natural quest to help a certain ghost move on to the afterlife, with our protagonist never doubts or questions.

What you do gameplay-wise is to examine the house and talk to its inhabitants in order to find clues that you collect in your notebook. These clues can then be used to start conversations with Maja, talking about various things, as well as trying to remember how exactly she died.
Additionally, the protagonist adds a little side quest of his own, which is a very sweet addition and made the ending all the more lovely.

There is really very little mystery or suspense here, as nothing really ever comes as a surprise, and there are few things standing out too much. So while it is in a way satisfying to see it unfold and slowly understand more of what happened, you learn very little that is truly interesting or catches your attention.

The Sweet Things:

What makes this game worthwhile are the small descriptions of places here and there. The house is littered with small items that are commented on (like stacks and stacks of apples), and you even pick up a plushy of your choice. Nonetheless, most of these really stand out, either.

The ending is the true highlight of the story, revealing sweeter sides of the protagonist after his initial dislike for the place. I really loved seeing how he continued after he bid farewell, too.

Mapping-wise the house is fully-packed and alive, which I love seeing. There are even animals out in the back, though there is little to explore aside from the house. The only drawback is that the two music pieces used, while light and sweet, do become slightly repetitive.

All in All:

This is a very simple sweet game with a wonderful scope for what it sets out to do. It is well done and has no major issues or drawbacks to note, which makes me very hopeful for other endeavors that will surpass this. If anything, though, it is the lack of standing out as something to catch your attention or to be truly memorable that could be counted as one. It is very average. Maja's Wish is definitely a nice sweet diversion for those wishing for a small easy break, but as sad as it makes me to say this (I really love games like this), it offers little beyond this.


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Sorry for the late reply. XD
Thank you for your kind review. I think it's very helpful and fair.

I was surprised as well that my protagonist turned out that young. XD Originally he was supposed to be a bit older, but when I decided on the last part of the game I realized I had to make him younger to make his actions more believable. So I decided to park his age somewhere on the border between teenager and child. And he was absolutely supposed to come of as a bit bratty and spoiled at the start so that he had room to grow later.

I originally wanted to tell a longer story with more cutscenes and story beats but about halfway through the gamemaking event I noticed I wasn't going to finish a game of that size in time and cut everything back down to the barebones, story, gameplay, maps, everything. Because of that character interactions suffered and I only focused on developing the protagonist a bit. Since you liked the ending that part seems to have worked out well. But I didn't notice poor Maja falling to the wayside in the process which I agree is a problem.

Because this was the first mystery I constructed I didn't try to be too clever with it and just used some of my favorite mystery tropes because I had always wanted to use them in a story myself once. But I probably overdid it a bit and made the story way too predictable. XD I don't regret it though, it was fun.

Anyway, I'll keep your points in mind for when I make my next game and will think a bit about how I can improve character and story depth then.
Thanks again for the review. :D
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