claims to be An Interactive Horror. Yet, the introductory text makes it seem like an absurdist comedy. Preparing for the worst, I brace myself… I find out I'm playing a 'drunk beachcomber'. There is no immediate goal to the game, except maybe to find out how this fish bowl came into my possession. Exploring the immediate surroundings, it does not really matter much anymore suddenly as I'm drawn into a consciously surreal adventure of self-recognition.
The surface actions the player takes, like burying a dead cat, filling the eponymous fish bowl and reviving a dead fish in it or trying to grab a bottle with a message inside are all meant to be highly symbolic. The message in a bottle is slipping through my fingers… hmm, I really wonder what that means? All this is accompanied by small, teasing hints about something deeper going on here. Which are then resolved in a short second scene/day which makes things more explicit by replacing (or 'reinterpreting') all the previous objects as something else. Which, given the build-up, as short as it may have been, is not really such a big reveal anymore.
This kind of surreal horror has been tried before andcertainly is not the definitive seen-all-end-all masterpiece. The plot idea is serviceable and sometimes, knowing fewer specifics can definitely be creepier than the opposite. Yet, exploring the motifs a little deeper certainly would not have hurt, either.
More importantly, though, it is the implementation which gets in the way at times. Exits are unlisted. Some objects are only mentioned once and then never again. Parser disambiguation produces unintended and sometimes hilariously clunky effects (standing on the beach, wading into the ocean, the noun 'water' will still refer to an empty bucket rather than the obvious choice). Obviously synonymous actions are not implemented ('sleep' does not work, while lying down on the bed produces the intended effect). None of that intended for reasons of surrealism – it just makes the player's life unnecessarily hard.
That said,is technically solid enough to enjoy the little trip into the subconscious it offers. Well done – work on the implementation details a bit more next time, and you'll have a really good game!