You are on a bleak, cold, windy island. And you seem to be alone... but fires and candles still burn. As you explore, a story of guilt, loneliness, and faith begins to take shape. And it becomes increasingly obvious that something is hunting you...
User reviews:
Recent:
Mixed (18 reviews) - 50% of the 18 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Mostly Positive (723 reviews) - 72% of the 723 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 28, 2014

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Recent updates View all (14)

May 3

'The Grandfather' has been released

The collab project between MPR Art Hallucinations and I--The Grandfather--has been released on Steam:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/433750/

The Grandfather is a strange point and click adventure inspired by surrealist films such as David Lynch's Eraserhead. It follows the story of an old man who is tormented by the coldness of his wife, and wakes up one night to find that his arms, legs, and torso are missing, leaving him a disembodied floating head.

Keep in mind that The Grandfather was designed/directed by MPR Art Hallucinations (creator of The Lady) and simply programmed by me. So expect a much different (much more surreal) experience than you get in my solo horror games.

1 comments Read more

December 31, 2015

Looking for Feedback

Since I'm taking a more "relaxed" approach to game development for now, I thought it would be a good time to improve some areas I might be weak in. So I'd like feedback from anyone and everyone on about where you think my writing could improve. I'd like to hear issues relating to characters, story, prose, or narrative that you have with any of my games. Please leave feedback at http://ironsnowflakes.blogspot.com/2015/12/critique-my-writing.html (you do not need an account to leave a comment).

Only thing I ask is that your feedback is CONSTRUCTIVE. This is not the place to vent your anger at me or my games. That's what Steam reviews are for, it seems.

1 comments Read more

Reviews

“It's a classic tale retold with brilliant tension, as it was in John Carpenter's The Thing and Telltale's The Walking Dead series.”
Kill Screen Daily

“...a game that shot straight to the top of my 'Favorite Games of 2014' list...The Moon Sliver is simply too good to pass on.”
Pixels or Death

About This Game

*The Music Machine--the follow up to The Moon Sliver--can be purchased here*

The Moon Sliver is a short narrative-focused non-linear exploration game, with elements of horror. It features a unique narrative mechanic that blurs the line between story and exploration, where interacting with objects and even simply moving around will reveal fragments of narration. As you piece these fragments together, a story of guilt, loneliness, and faith begins to take shape. And it becomes increasingly obvious that something is hunting you...

The Moon Sliver is best thought of as an experiment in exploration-focused storytelling, blurring the line between novelette and game. It seeks to tell a deceptively complex, poetic story in a literary fashion, through an interactive medium. It rewards players who ask questions and actively seek to figure things out for themselves.

Explore the island, keep your flashlight charged, wait for night to fall. Discover answers.

This is not a Unity Asset Store collection. Modeling, music, environments, and programming were done from scratch. Textures were based off of stock photos. Sound effects were manufactured from creative commons samples.

The original soundtrack for The Moon Sliver can be downloaded at https://davidszymanski.bandcamp.com/. Or, the extended soundtrack (featuring music not included in the original game) can be downloaded as DLC

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel i3
    • Graphics: AMD 6870 or equivalent
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Additional Notes: The Moon Sliver will likely run on machines that do not meet these specs, if they are able to run other Unity Engine games.
Customer reviews
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Recent:
Mixed (18 reviews)
Overall:
Mostly Positive (723 reviews)
Recently Posted
intox. Requiesta de Silencia
( 1.3 hrs on record )
Posted: June 21
Check out my full review here

In a good walking simulator gameplay is removed but story, graphics, sound, and design are improved to make up for this loss. The Moon Sliver has minimal gameplay but a solid story... however it lacks in almost every other department.

The gameplay is a scavenger hunt. You have to find every single document to finally finish the game. This wouldn't be so bad in a non-linear game like Gone Home or Dear Esther, but in this game it's torturous. The graphics are mismatched with some parts being poor quality and others decently made, the sound design is poor, but the overall layout of the world is pretty nice.

It's obviously a first or second game by a lone developer. I'm not saying it's necessarily a terrible or unplayable game but it definitely feels its earned its low price tag. I recommend it only for the story and the price. I can't really recommend it for anything else.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Hitchet
( 0.8 hrs on record )
Posted: June 21
First art piece made by David Szymanski. Not as good as further games but still pretty nice visual novel with a solid sense of storytelling.
6/10
Helpful? Yes No Funny
BiPolarBear
( 1.3 hrs on record )
Posted: June 19
It wasn't until the final credit that I realized the game was actually called 'The Moon Sliver' and not 'The Moon Silver'.

10/10 Would develop dyslexia again
Helpful? Yes No Funny
IAmThePonch
( 0.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 13
It's pretty cheap so it's worth a shot. For an experimental game, it gets some things right and some things wrong.

Basically, you're on an island that is abandoned. There are small huts filled with notes to read that explain the backstory of what was going on. As you go, you learn more about what was going on and why.

I thought the writing in the game was really solid. It was fun to digest and try to piece everything together. However, I couldn;t help but feel that this owuld simply work better as a short story. I thought the environments and atmosphere were top notch, but the vague nature of playing a game like this is frustrating since it doesn't seem as clear as it could be. Not that it needs to spell everything out, but it could be told with a touch more clarity than it is.

But hey, I've played much worse in my time.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
RipWitch
( 3.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 12
The Moon Silver plas on the elements from their previous game Fingerbones and does a better job at it. You can tell the developer has worked hard on improving the environment along with the story. As you explore and read, you find out more about the events surronding the area and well, you'll have to play to find out. The writing has improved and will leave you needing to find out what exactly happened on this islane. Why are you on it? What is hunting you? Why can you only enter the mountain at night?
Let's just say...there's a dark side to this moon.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
curiopun
( 2.1 hrs on record )
Posted: June 9
It's like reading sci-fi novel.
Just finish this game for the first time. i'm going to replay it again later [too see if i miss anything]
Helpful? Yes No Funny
flyssann
( 0.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 8
This started beautifully, it was creepy and had an odd atmosphere, but I couldn't complete it because of the flickering torch, it was too tough on my eyes. Really gutted as it looked great in all other respects, I really wanted to carry on and complete it.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
It's Matt Boi oh shit whaddup
( 1.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 7
The Moon Sliver is a short, "literary" walking-sim game that isn't overwhelming in its presentation or design, yet still challenging enough to be engaging. By "challenging," I don't mean in the traditional gaming sense: this is challenging because you have to think about the story being told as it's given to you, and how to conserve your "energy." It could have been ♥♥♥♥ if the ending didn't pay off, but one hour later I am still thinking about and still getting a chill from it, though I can't decide whether its from the horror or elegance of delivery, or both. It's very minimal, using a few assets from Unity over and over again, but always to a great pretty, weird, "moony" aesthetic, emphasizing many "slivers." Minimalism works to its advantage, especially the scenes where you have to think wisely about the "energy" mechanics, how it's upturned later on. I wouldn't have believed it before playing either, but this is also an imaginitive parable with interesting things to say, or at least ask about humans, which is cool because lots of games don't get that far in 80x the hours.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
drdouglasdark
( 0.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 7
Well I admire them for trying something different!

The music was good and there was a good effort by the creator and it starts off interesting.

Unfortunatly it gets boring! I Spent the entire game waiting for something to do / figure out.

I Ended up going onto youtube to see what happens in the end.

I Wish I could recommend this game but I can't, sorry.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
lust for beer and cocktails
( 0.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 5
Intense, creepy, and literary game. Evocative environments and non-linear plot. A real gem of an art game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
9.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 4
Moon Sliver is on par with those walking simulators that require you to be patient. Patient enough to read one piece of note after the other one in order to make progress. These pieces make up the story which, as it unfolds, is getting more and more interesting. Saying anything more would be a spoiler so I refrain from doing that.

Some of the screenshots feature fireplaces - as you read in the darkness of these rooms while the shadows dance on the walls thanks to the light it can certainly create an amazing atmosphere. At the same time it is haunting; you can go as far as to say that your loneliness is horrifying. What is this place? These small houses built on an island that has long been away from society. Where are your friends? Who did you come here with?

I think David is onto something here! Let's hope you'll optimise your next project a little better and use a better font / letter size that is more suitable to the eye. Other than that this journey with the Moon Sliver is an interesting one!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 19
It wasn't until the final credit that I realized the game was actually called 'The Moon Sliver' and not 'The Moon Silver'.

10/10 Would develop dyslexia again
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 27
This is a story-driven game. It's an interesting story, as well. You must piece together from past conversations what has happened. I enjoyed the game, I thought the price was fair for the 45 minutes I played it. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys story-based games.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 21
First art piece made by David Szymanski. Not as good as further games but still pretty nice visual novel with a solid sense of storytelling.
6/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 21
Check out my full review here

In a good walking simulator gameplay is removed but story, graphics, sound, and design are improved to make up for this loss. The Moon Sliver has minimal gameplay but a solid story... however it lacks in almost every other department.

The gameplay is a scavenger hunt. You have to find every single document to finally finish the game. This wouldn't be so bad in a non-linear game like Gone Home or Dear Esther, but in this game it's torturous. The graphics are mismatched with some parts being poor quality and others decently made, the sound design is poor, but the overall layout of the world is pretty nice.

It's obviously a first or second game by a lone developer. I'm not saying it's necessarily a terrible or unplayable game but it definitely feels its earned its low price tag. I recommend it only for the story and the price. I can't really recommend it for anything else.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 1
The Moon Sliver is one of those 'visual novels' or 'interactive stories', so it's not a game. And there are two more heads-ups here:
- it's very short, 30 to 40 minutes, so it's more of a short story than a novel;
- the interactivity is pretty limited. I wanted to elaborate a bit on that but then I considered that might be a spoiler so I decided against it.

The story presented here is pretty basic stuff. It's also told in a peculiar way, but I suppose that's due to translation issues rather than intended. The graphics are ok for the purpose they serve, but they are certainly not impressive in a way that they would improve upon the story or the overall experience.

I went back and forth between recommending The Moon Sliver or not, but in the end I went with 'No' because of the following facts:
1. What you're getting here is a very short story/experience, and not an overly impressive one at that. "It's ok" is the most enthousiastic phrase that comes to mind, really.
2. Only when it's on sale for less than 50 cents could one consider recommending The Moon Sliver. At its full price it's definitely a 'No Way'!
3. Yes, the game has Steam Trading Cards but it's too short for that. When you\'re finished, you will usually have received one of three cards. This means everyone needs to let the game run idly in the background for at least an hour to get the other cards.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
188 of 247 people (76%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 28, 2014
Let's make one thing clear before somebody gets the idea of looking at my friends list - yes, I do have the author of the game in there. I am not actually affiliated with him in any reasonable way, aside from exchanging a few words now and again. Nonetheless, my opinion might be biased, that's why I'll try to explain it in detail. Oh, and I have finished the game when it wasn't on Steam yet.

So, first of all, a word of warning: The Moon Sliver is a game strongly focused on telling you a story, with very light puzzle elements. It stands somewhere between Gone Home in focus on freedom of movement and exploration and Dear Esther in telling a mysterious story which is quite open to interpretation. If this is something you are not into - not a game for you. If, however, previously named titles got your attention - read on. Or just buy the bloody thing, it's as expensive as two bottles of beer and my recommendation thingy glows somewhere around these words anyway.

Right, you're still reading. First of all, I stand by the comparisons I have made above, so I'll use them as a baseline. At first, you're likely to notice two things - quite apparently lower production values and fantastic music. To elaborate: In terms of graphical design and fidelity, the game is not nearly as flashy as games like Dear Esther or Gone Home might be.

Graphics are quite spartan, yet very functional. I feel that the simplicity of the graphical presentation is often enough used to set a feeling of loneliness and desperation, which it does quite well. At any rate, if pretty is what you're looking for, I'm sad to say that's not part of the package, and repetitive assets don't help much.

Music, on the other hand, is quite wonderful. It sets the tone very nicely and is used to underline the desired mood of individual locations.

When it comes to most important bit of the game, the storyline, I find that the less you know when you start it, the better. Suffice to say it's captivating and definitely kept me playing all the way until the end of the game, which is not a particularily long journey, nonetheless long enough for me to lose interest in most games. Writing is very good, and aside from the way it handles reading notes (no, there's no voice acting, just a lot of quality writing), I was very happy with it.

The story is told both trough enviromental cues you can see in various locations and notes and books as already mentioned. You will also run across a few simple puzzles and the entire game is based around exploration of a small, yet very open island - you will not see the linearity of Dear Esther here, you can go just about anywhere, at any time you want, altho some locations require information obtained at other ones.

Right, I have opened the subject earlier, but I feel I should elaborate on it a little more - the game is short. Even by Gone Home standards short. You'll beat it in under hour and a half, and you don't really have much of a choice in the matter as it doesn't support save states. The game is designed to be beaten in one sitting tho, and it's hardly too long, so that should not be an issue.

All in all, The Moon Sliver was an experience worth remembering, and that's more than I can say for most games that I have played recently. For the asking price, you're hardly even taking a risk, so if I got you even slightly interested, just go for it.
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50 of 56 people (89%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 11, 2015
Alright, I'll come right out and admit it: the Moon Sliver looks like it was made in the 1990's. It's blocky and undetailed and generally unimpressive in terms of graphical prowess. But that is, perhaps, part of what makes it so fascinating, because what this game lacks in anti-aliasing and high-definition textures it makes up for with its impressively bleak and tension-inspiring atmosphere. Along with well-done pacing and a plot that is steeped in mystery and slowly-answered questions, this nerve-wracking sense of environment makes for a short, dread-inducing game worth experiencing.

The game begins with the player spawning in a small room with a fireplace, some chairs, and a few empty barrels. When the player clicks one of these objects, a snippet of the storyline is displayed via text at the top or the bottom of the screen. Through the examination of these objects, four different characters, each with their own personalities, are described, and the player is left wondering which of these characters's shoes they have stepped into. The story itself is vague in the beginning, with more details being unveiled the more you explore the island you are trapped on.

Throughout the game, there are lingering hints of a supernatural force on the island—a sense of another presence, something dread-worthy that stalks you as the day slowly grows darker. The tension of the Moon Sliver grows the more you learn about the characters and the betrayal they have faced. It reaches the start of its pinnacle in an underground maze (with a well-done flickering flashlight mechanic that occurs if you don't keep your light charged) and then peaks with the player's night time return to the mountain and the unveiling of the player's part in the story as well as the final confrontation with the malevolent force of the island.

Of course much of the Moon Sliver's gameplay is optional. Players can skip most of the story entirely by simply refusing to explore. For that reason, perhaps, the Moon Sliver is a game that is what you make of it. This short story sets up the perfect environment for a creepy, unsettling journey—all it takes is an imaginative player to really sink into the text-based story and truly walk in the shoes of its protagonist. For anyone willing to fully explore the content the creators have left out for you on this barren little island, the Moon Sliver is a thumbs up.
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47 of 53 people (89%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 11, 2015
"Oh world, oh prison dingy white
Oh ghostly shadow grey
Your whelming lies of false delight
Are dark and cold as moonless night
And bleak as sunless day"


This passage taken from a discarded poem found in one of the cabins is actually a successful definition for the game itself. A sense of isolation, desperation and abandonment are the building blocks of The Moon Sliver, a minimalistic psychological horror by David Szymanski. I've been meaning to play this for a long while, and finally managed to spare an undivided hour to complete it, which is a prerequisite of completion since there is no save game feature. The game is intended to be played in one sitting of an hour, and all there is to explore would fill that hour completely anyhow. The definition of my experience was an effectively uncanny environment mixed with a bit bleak story revelation.

The game starts in complete darkness, in a warehouse that resides on a shore line, and there is no one else besides us. We learn that there "used to be" four people that dwelt on this island, yet there is only one now. We start walking, exploring the island and try to put things together through reminiscences of our character. By gameplay function, this is a walking simulation since there is nothing else to do rather than explore. So no monsters to jump at you if you are in expectancy of a "big bad wolf coming at you" scenario.

The island itself isn't that big; but the howling wind, the approaching darkness and constant clouds of dust establish an appropriately plain yet ominous setting. I wouldn't call graphics anything extraordinary - minimalistic even - but the choice and display in decoration combinations are in artistic value to set the mood. Added with a sorrowful soundtrack, there is no doubt that we exist in an ultimately forlorn geography without a clue to any happenstance and feel that isolation, that helplessness every second of our one hour gameplay.

On story purposes: aside being quite successful in atmosphere, The Moon Sliver either fails to explain much, or intentionally leaves matters unspoken. In either case, anecdotal memories or vague dialogues exchanged by intended characters don't reveal much aside a single act of desperation that would either doom or salvage the former inhabitants. There is no explanation for the purpose of the island, or how people ended up being there in the first place. As it is, this game feels like a glorious demo which would promise for things to come. I heard that there could be some explanation for the background in David Szymanski's next game, The Music Machine which I didn't play yet. If so, I strongly recommend playing two games back to back to track a complete story.

Do I recommend it? Yes, for observing a complete success on establishing an atmosphere with too little in graphics, but on narrative achievement, I must say that I've seen better. For your half a dollar, it is a good experience. I'll be keeping an eye for more David Szymanski games in the future.

Update: Now that I've completed the Music Machine, I'm positive that these two games should be played back to back. In unison, they form a beautiful story, the tale of a creation and its undoing. Buy them together, enjoy an age old story in some really radical context!

Please also check out Lady Storyteller's Curator page here - follow for regular updates on reviews for other games!
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68 of 88 people (77%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 28, 2014
Definitely recommended for people who like moody, artsy experiences, and aren't too hung up on what constitutes a "game." The graphics aren't fancy, but they get the job done, and the music is fantastic. Tense and scary in the same was as Gone Home. It's not about jump scares or combat, but a feeling of dread that comes with being in near dark, and feeling like you're not alone. Yes, it is short, but it's also cheap. The asking price for the time to completion is comparable to Dear Esther. And for what it's worth, I didn't particularly love Dear Esther, so even if you're like me and thought DE was overrated, give this a shot.
Edit: Also, if either you enjoyed this and want more of this kind of thing, or want to find out what the developer's work is like before you buy The Moon Sliver, I just played one of his free games, Fingerbones, and it does similar things with creating tension and fear through music and sound effects. http://jefequeso.itch.io/fingerbones
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