One of the most atmospheric and well-written IF ever released, Lethe Flow Phoenix is a great game by Dan Shiovitz that is full of mystical overtones, dream-like surrealism, and several nice plot twists. The game begins on one Halloween night, casting you as a solo camper who accidentally pitched yourself over a cliff while investigating strange noises during your nocturnal contemplation. When you awaken, you find yourself in a stranger a strange land, left alone to find out why you are here and how you can return. |
The strength of Lethe Flow Phoenix its the excellent prose, which is highlighted in the many lengthy, non-interactive cut scenes that are very poetic and beautiful. Lethe Flow Phoenix recalls a later IF classic Sunset over Savannah, both in the strong writing and the focus on the protagonist’s internal conflicts—you will have to come to terms with your past in the game.
The puzzles in general are fair, I would say just about average for an IF. The game starts with a somewhat annoying find-something-to-eat-before-you-die puzzle, but it gets better from there. There are plenty of hints in the game, so even trial-and-error puzzles can be solved after a few tries. The game is a bit too short, but it most likely feels that way because I was so engrossed in the game that I played it through the first time. (Dan actually thought it was a bit too long for the 2-hour limit of the 1995 IF Competition, which was why he didn’t enter the game that year). Although the ending leaves some loose ends unexplained, in the game’s context it was probably better than alternatives. Overall, if you like a short-to-medium, surrealistic/fantasy IF in which the prose flows eloquently and evocatively, Lethe Flow Phoenix is a must-have.Reviewed by: Underdogs