Sawbuck Gamer


Fractured Fairy Tale

In Sought, you rescue the damsel. Or not.

By Drew Toal • July 3, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

Plenty of games require you to rescue the princess, but not many examine the missing woman’s agenda. Maybe Princess Toadstool and Bowser were secret lovers, afraid to reveal their love for fear of political blowback from anti-koopa bigots. Perhaps Princess Zelda was actually a disciple of the wizard Ganondorf, manipulating Link to dispose of her dangerous master once she gleaned enough of his Triforce knowledge.

In Sought, a maze game drawn in black and gray, you’re told that the young girl in question wasn’t kidnapped, but instead ran away. The reasons are unclear, but your character—a female hunter—is tasked by her father to bring her home. The hunter explores the middle of a dark forest, where the missing girl was last seen. Shadowy, amorphous creatures attack you, but your trusty crossbow turns them into shadowy, amorphous vulture jerky. As the search progresses, Sought switches perspectives. Instead of controlling the hunter, you direct the missing girl herself. She’s not defenseless, but neither can she survive alone in the wilderness for long. Linking up with the hunter, you control both parties at once and fight together to escape the woods. Rescuing the princess isn’t a foregone conclusion. The game has six different endings, depending on how the search goes down—if you decide to immediately leave the forest without looking for the girl, there’s a story for that. The forest labyrinth is randomly generated, but the game still has little variation. It’s a simple quest—not a quest to rescue a damsel in distress, necessarily, but rather to unveil all of her possible fates.

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754 Responses to “Fractured Fairy Tale”

  1. caspiancomic says:

    I really want to play this, but it’s pretty amazing how quickly my desire to play a game plummets when we go from “browser game” to “downloadable title”. Still, I downloaded that escapey-boxy-metroidy game a couple of weeks ago, so I’ll probably gird my loins and jump into this one.

    As for the re-evaluation of the hero/princess dynamic, I recently finally finished Braid, and had my mind thoroughly blown by the beautifully executed ending. I didn’t get the true ending (fuck those stars I got things to do) but the ending I got shook me up pretty good all the same. 

    • doyourealize says:

      I thought of Braid, too, when I read this description. I got a few of the stars, but got stuck on one of them and gave up…maybe I’ll go back someday. That last level, though, pretty incredible stuff.

      And by “escapey-boxy-metroidy game”, do you mean Box Life? I just played that today (pretty fun), but it’s not downloadable. You need to dl some kid of flash player thing, but it’s still browser game.

      • caspiancomic says:

         Yeah, Box Life, that’s the one. You can play it in the browser, but I found the controls to be really bad when it was windowed like that, so I downloaded it. Turns out, the controls were just bad, at least on my machine. Still, the actual game was pretty okay, even if it only took less than a half hour to beat.

      • PaganPoet says:

        Oh man, the last level of Braid. It was like an M. Night Shyamalan film, but back before his formula grew stale.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       Yeah, I probably have a greater preference towards browser games as well.  I’m not sure if it’s because I’m lazy or what.  I will say that,by and large, downloadable titles take more chances and have more distinctive design.

    • Girard says:

       And because this one half-expects you to purchase it, it asks you to enter some personal information and so on, and download the game through a link in an email it sends, putting up further barriers.

      Considering the author is hoping for people to pay for it, the game is fairly buggy – on my second play-through, the princess got trapped in a “wall” of trees and sat there hopelessly until she was killed by the spiders. I wandered for a while as the hunter, found nothing else to do, exited, and got the exact same ending as I’d gotten for simply turning around at the start and not doing anything. A little annoying.

    • Electric Dragon says:

      I don’t see the stars as being the “true” ending of Braid, but as at least partly a subversion of the idea of these easter egg endings and a commentary on how obsessive you have to be to get to it, given how difficult they are to get and how long you have to wait to get one of the stars. And is not obsession one of the themes in Braid?

      • caspiancomic says:

         That’s a good point actually, I guess I was a little quick on the draw calling the A-bomb headfuck stars ending of Braid the “true” one (for my money, I’ve seen both endings and much prefer the standard one anyway). It’s true that Tim’s unhealthy lifelong obsession with the Princess is a driving theme in the story, and the true “goal” of the game for the character should probably be to overcome his obsession and move on. By instead succumbing to that obsession and searching even further and harder for ways to reach the Princess (which she very clearly doesn’t want you to do), the game effectively punishes you by having the whole thing “blow up in your face” as it were.

        Man, Braid could be an obtuse pain in the ass when you were playing it, but that ending sequence makes the whole thing worthwhile. More games like Braid, please, games industry.

  2. memaxar says:

    I liked this a lot. The design and the structure of the game both reminded me a lot of Looming, a game which is one of my favorite flash games I’ve ever come across.