I’ve been playing The Night Circus a lot lately. Well, ‘playing’ is a strong word; I’ve been mostly clicking on random cards and enjoying the athmosphere of the game. I’m not really making any informed choices that influence the story, and I have little control over the game flow. This isn’t really the type of game I usually bother with, but it does quite a few things right:
- You don’t have to create an account to play; just sign in with you twitter or facebook account.
- Every move is represented by a card that you play. You get to keep six cards in your and you’re issued a new card randomly(?) every four minutes. This, in conjunction with that there is very little state to keep track of, means that it’s very easy to return every now and then, play a few cards and then do something else. In short, a perfect game to play while you’re code’s compiling.
- There’s a constant stream of small rewards. Almost every card played gains you a memento of some sort, and most of the mementoes can be used to unlock new paths in the game.
- Also, the setting is very athmospheric in a kind of fantasy victorian, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell kind of way. The writing is well done, and you get the feeling that there’s a lot to be discovered. I don’t know if there’s a conclusion or if the game ever really ‘ends’. New story segments are added weekly however, so there’s hope for some kind of coherent story.
The game builds Erin Morgenstern’s upcoming novel with the same name, and as a promotion piece it works pretty well. At the very least, it got me engaged and actually considering getting the book at some point.