- The gameplay really is as brilliant as everybody says.
- The writing is terrible.
Take, for example, the second passage in the game:
Not just one. He made many mistakes during the time they spent together, all those years ago. Memories of their relationship have become muddled, replaced wholesale, but one remains clear: the princess turning sharply away, her braid lashing at him with contempt.The final line here is presumably the line from which the title is derived. As such, it would be nice if it weren't so tortured. Braids, as unfortunate as it may be, do not "lash with contempt." Indeed, braids are not prompted to do anything by emotion, given that braids feel no emotion, given that braids are composed of hair, which is emotionless. This is not me being overly literal or rejecting personification as a valid literary tool. The problem is that this is not how personification should be used, and it's hardly clear that the author even intended to use it. On the contrary, what Blow seems to have been trying to say is that the princess was contemptuous. But what he, in fact, said was that her hair was contemptuous. Which is kind of funny, but probably not intentionally so.
Or take this line from the middle of Chapter 3:
But to be fully couched within the comfort of a friend is a mode of existence with severe implications.Translation:
Getting too comfortable can be problematic.Is Blow's version better? If so, why? Because it contains more words? Because it's less clear? Because "is a mode of existence" just sounds so, um, not stilted?
The problem here seems to be one of trying too hard. Blow was clearly trying to create something of artistic worth, and he was adapting the storybook style of the early Mario games, so he took the narrative style of those Mario games and tried to make it literary. Unfortunately, it reads not as great literature, but as a poor imitation of great literature.
Which is too bad because the rest of the game really is an artistic triumph.
*It also means that I reserve the right to change my mind if it turns out that the story justifies the style.