As a fan of classical music, I had a particularly enjoyable time with “Pas De Deux,” in which the player conducts an orchestra and solves various problems by signaling from the rostrum.

Gameplay: Gameplay consists of literally conducting an orchestra’s performace of “The Nutcracker,” with each turn corresponding to a measure of the piece. Beyond just turning the pages, the protagonist can also cue musicians in various ways as the piece continues. While the goal of the game is presumably to give the best performance possible and receive the maximum rating in the review the next day, I had fun trying to derail the concert. It’s a clever premise for a game, and it uses the restricted actions available to the protagonist to good effect. 7/10

Mechanics: The game allows the player to use clickable keywords or a full parser, although a few commands require the latter. While the author provides a score to follow, it’s a bit odd for a game about music to be entirely text. It would be a very different game if it had a more elaborate interface that, for example, used audio and took place in real time. As it stands, the game takes clever advantage of the restrictions on its player, as in limited-parser games. 7/10.

Presentation: Even though the game is based on music, the writing is strong, and the characters are well-defined despite their brief appearances in the story. The reactions to conducting failures were described well, and I genuinely laughed at the response to KILL [musician]. 8/10.

You might be interested in this game if: You’re interested in classical music and have ever imagined yourself as a conductor.

Score: 7

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