“Heretic’s Hope” is a choice-based game with an intricate plot and a thoroughly professional presentation.
Gameplay: The player guides the actions, mostly conversations, of the narrator as she fulfills her duties as an unwilling acolyte in the religion of an insectoid race. The protagonist is a human, and she’s as unfamiliar as the player about her new role and what it involves. By building relationships with the different NPCs she meets, she gradually learns more about the true nature of her situation. The plot is more involved than I have space to summarize here (and without spoilers), but it’s well-paced, consistently interesting, and takes place in an original setting. 8/10.
Mechanics: The game focuses on developing the relationship between the narrator and the insectoid effectively serving as her mentor. It’s difficult to anticipate exactly how the conversation branches will affect the development of the plot, but there are definitely branch points in the story and meaningful choices to make. There are also three different mentors from which the player can choose, encouraging replaying the game. 7/10.
Presentation: The custom interface for the game is both beautifully designed and easy to use. The polished and professional writing is consistently strong throughout, conveying the utter alienness of the world and its inhabitants. It might work well as a conventional short story, but there was a substantial part of the story and setting I missed in my single long playthrough, and that feeling of seeing only a small fraction of a confusing world at a time would be hard to replicate in a static work of fiction. 10/10.
You might be interested in this game if: You like well-crafted stories with genuinely unfamiliar settings.