Maginary | Review

Maiginary is an interactive adventure story by Semyon Polyakovskiy. But it is not your typical interactive story. Instead of choosing from various choices, you interact through your device’s microphone, display settings, compass, and more.

When you first start the story, it asks for your name, which it then just calls you by your first initial–so giving a full name seems pointless. You then meet the previous “owner” of the story, who is now trapped within the book. Your job is to help him escape. Soon things get worse as a clock appears, with each new page turn time is deducted. If you fail to rescue the trapped character before the clock runs out, they are doomed to remain. Luckily, since the the timer counts down with each page turn, you don’t have to finish the book in one sitting.

I found some of the puzzles to be a little difficult. I ended up having to burn through many page-minutes in order to find a hint. Also, it was annoying trying to find the right level to activate the continuation prompt.

In one puzzle, I had to use the microphone to blow away some mist. I kept blowing and blowing and nothing would happen. I had to get a specific level of breath in order for the app to accept it. In another puzzle, I had to adjust my screen’s brightness levels in order to find a hidden object. I kept having to go from the app to Settings as I tried to find the correct percentage level.

People who have more experience with interactive stories or know more about their device’s features might have better luck.

I enjoyed that this story involved me more. I wasn’t sitting there clicking Choice A or B, I had to figure out compass directions or how to get something out of a vending machine that appears within the story.

I did roll my eyes at the moments where the character would hint at becoming trapped in the story because he chose to not finish reading.

I found the adventure app to be immersive and funny. Certain words would join together to form an image. For example, a group of letters spelling out “tall grass” would hook together and wave like grass blowing in the wind.

The part I found the most annoying was running into the paywall. I was just starting to enjoy and figure out the game when BAM paywall. If I wanted to continue I need to pay; fortunately, the price is pretty fair–especially for what you get.

While there were some annoying moments, thanks to the puzzles, in general the app worked fine. It didn’t crash or run slow or have long load times. I didn’t feel like I was a distant observer–I always felt like I was part of the story…at least until the paywall.

Overall, the story provided a good mystery and sense of tension and urgency–but not so much you fell panic. It had a nice balance between easy and difficult puzzles. Finally, I did not feel forced out of the fictional world that was being created. 4.3/5

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Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

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