Total blast to play through. I'll be back for more.
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I love this. <3 I had so much fun finding things and the random selection, not every choice is a fight, not every card is the right one. Just a lovely game.
Played through it twice, it was so nice to discover what effects the cards had on the first time and have the wonder of new experiences. The second one I strived for the best ending I could get, and because of the cards I was dealt, or perhaps the order I used them, fell short. But that's the whole game's purpose, hah. I really enjoyed this!
I like the idea of using a random selection of cards to get through your challenges! It was really cool seeing the different effects the cards can have. Played it multiple times and really enjoyed myself.
I made all of the "wrong" choices and got a very pleasant ending. I'm really happy with this game! Eventually I'll play through it again. This is something I can see myself returning to.
There's quite a lot of branching throughout: you can easily run through a second time without repeating a single encounter for the bulk of the game, after that it depends partly what sort of deck you get to begin with. The ending can play out in quite a few different ways too - based on your description, I'm actually not certain which you found!
Hmm, I don't think I can do spoiler tags here so uh... SPOILER WARNING FOR ANYONE WHO DOESN'T WANNA READ-
But uhh, so I avoided pretty much every nice-looking town and shelter and path. I just took the scary-looking paths. Had three unicorns, two spiders, four snakes. I saved a snake and came upon my destiny, but I didn't use it. So she thanked me and decided that she wanted to tag along with me and learn a thing or two.
It was very sweet. Also another playthrough ended with me giving her a horse. I haven't tried to kill her yet and at this point I like her too much!
Definitely enjoyed my experience -- I've not yet tried the game a second time, though might do so eventually. That said, my first ending definitely felt quite nice -- was definitely going for more of a 'Paragon' ending, and it worked out well with what I had.
I'm really glad you managed to get the kind of ending you were aiming for on your first try. One of my concerns about this was that there's a significant amount of trial-and-error involved in working out what the cards' effects are (and which locations lend themselves to what), so a run of unlucky guesses during a first run is liable to shut a player out of certain endings early on.
Just one play so far, but I will do so again. Very enjoyable, with great writing and interesting game mechanics via the cards. I'd love to see you create a much longer, broader game, with increased choices and consequences.
Thanks for giving it a go! I've actually got quite a range of other games already written, but not yet made them available on Itch specifically. I'm hoping to take the opportunity to improve them a little before I do. Project Procrustes might be close to what you're looking for, though: it allows you to create your own character and plays out very differently depending on your choices.
I played this several times in a row, to get all the plot and had a lot of fun doing so! The art is really beautiful and the story was touching.