When Elrica Erlsa and her husband Colin set out to survive in a post-apocalyptic, Zombie filled world, Erlsa never thought she would find herself in the situation she did. If you have not played Entre-Deux yet and would like to, prior to reading this review, (Spoilers) you can check it out for yourself on Steam.
Entre-Deux bills itself as “A short interactive story made with Twine. A world invaded by zombies, a pregnant woman… and a village of Entre-Deux.” It is exactly that, short. That’s not to say that the story isn’t without merit, as I found myself playing through it four different times, to ensure I got the best ending, which for those of you keeping score at home, I did!
For those of you who are not familiar with Twine, it is a writing engine, which easily allows writers to create interactive fiction, in the same vein as the classic Choose your own Adventure books of the 1980’s and 90’s, but back to Elrica. The story begins with Elrica and Colin on the run, making their way through the middle of a forest. We are informed that the zombies have been roaming this world for five years, which seems like an eternity now, and Elrica is pregnant, because who doesn’t want to get their groove thing on in the middle of the apocalypse, with little to no hygiene, Amirite? However, the fact that we immediately know Elrica is with child, the story suddenly becomes that much more serious for me. No way in Hell I’m going to let baby Erlsa become a happy-meal, right…RIGHT? (Spoiler, the first time though I’m pretty sure she became a happy-meal, although it wasn’t “specifically” stated, it was heavily implied)
We learn that there is a nearby survivor refuge, and Colin is focused on getting his wife there as soon as possible. As they are nearing their destination, Colin comes in contact with a hungry Zombie, and a dynamic “Text-based Battle System” ensues. Imagine old-school Final Fantasy turn-based fighting, just in text form. The first time through, Colin was able to overcome the Zombie, to my excitement. However, that excitement was short-lived, as Colin met his grizzly end the very next paragraph, and there was no choice to be made about it!
Why have our handsome hero battle a zombie and win, only get ripped apart in the very next sentence? No one knows. It is possible to lose the text-based battle, and have colin immediately die, and I think I prefer this route better, it saved me the emotional roller coaster of victory, only to have it snatched away from me by a group of Jerk Zombies, but I digress.
I won’t go into the full story and plot, as I don’t want to ruin the experience for other readers. I will however outline the Pro’s and Con’s that I found while playing through.
- Simple dynamic battle system
- A really nice back-story to the world (However this will also fall under Con’s)
- A “Trust” system, which actively affects the reader’s experience, and ultimately decides which ending you receive
- A unique take on “Zombies.” Instead of mindless, undead brain munchers, we get to see a sentient zombie society with emotions
- Likable characters
- 4 unique endings the reader can achieve
- 19 unique Steam achievements
- Bonus story after unlocking all 4 unique endings, (not part of the review)
- Far too short. I found myself wanting much more. This would make a fantastic full-on story
- The writer gives the reader a page worth of background information, but never revisits it.
- Who are the Gods Medo and Corilia
- What are crystals of Sera
- The cadence of the story text takes a little getting used to.
- Price of admission. Currently, Entre-Deux is available on steam for $2.24 which seems pretty steep for the length of the story. I would be okay with paying a standard 99 cents “app price” however, at the end of the day, for less than a cup of fancy coffee, I got a fun story, which I wouldn’t mind seeing more of! As a matter of fact, I could really enjoy a Novella featuring these characters.
If you’re looking for a very quick read, and want to support a budding writer, I would recommend checkout out Entre-Deux!