Game Review: The Sock Puppet Killer (2019, Jason Cantalini)


In this diabolically clever work of interactive fiction, the narrator needs you to track down the Sock Puppet Killer!

Who is the Sock Puppet Killer?  A killer who kills sock puppets, of course!  And why are you the only one who can stop him?  Because that narrator says that you’re former Chief Inspector Caine Slade, the brilliant detective who has been a pathetic drunk ever since the tragic death of your family!

You can tell the narrator that you’re not interested in catching the Sock Puppet Killer.  You can say that you won’t even “do it for the children!”  (Yes, that is an option.)  You can say that you have no memory of ever being Caine Slade.  You can tell the narrator, in detail, why his story doesn’t make any sense.  But eventually, you’re going to end up in a bar, approaching a beautiful woman who you’ve been told is the Sock Puppet Killer.

This is one weird game and winning it going to require more than one try.  Fully understanding everything that is happening is going to take probably a dozen tries.  There are a variety of different decisions to be made throughout the game.  Make the wrong decision and you’ll end up dead.  Make the right decision and you very well could still end up dead.  The best piece of advice that I can give you (without spoiling the game, of course) is to avoid pissing off the narrator.  At one point, I very adamantly told him that I wasn’t going to approach the Sock Puppet Killer and I suddenly found myself drowning in the ocean.  It’s accepted in almost all Interactive Fiction games that the narrator is basically God but The Sock Puppet Killer is remarkable for featuring an easily angered and very vengeful God.

The Sock Puppet Killer is well-written and often loud out loud hilarious.  It’s not an easy game but that just makes it all the more rewarding if you manage to get through the entire thing without dying.

The game can be played by clicking here.

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