IFReviewed by Emily Boegheim on 2007-04-28 06:17
It's just an ordinary night shift for the crew of the Volant, until they are confronted by two Techthon ships. The Techthons claim there is a fugitive onboard the Volant, and if the crew doesn't give him up, they will board and hunt him out themselves. Knowing the Techthons, this would be a bad thing.
Starship Volant: Stowaway is a short, linear game, and what puzzles it has aren't difficult. There are CYOA-like decision points here and there, but (if it even matters which one you choose) these don't usually lead to alternative storylines; there's one correct choice, and if you get it wrong, you lose. (Fortunately, it tends to be pretty obvious which choice you should make.) A lot of the time, you can get through a scene just by WAITing and TALKing TO everyone you come into contact with. If there's something specific you have to do before you can go on to the next scene, it's made clear.
Starship Volant, intriguingly, begins by allowing you to select any of five characters and explore the spaceship. During the prologue, you can switch between these characters as often as you like. But the game never really does anything interesting with this. There's nothing to do during the prologue but wander about, look at things and talk to people; when you think you've exhausted these possibilities, you SKIP to the real game. I'd have preferred to see the prologue more integrated with the
rest of the game, with a few introductory puzzles just to keep things moving. There really isn't much information in the prologue that you need later in the game, and nothing you can't discover later. And while the
player character does change regularly (dizzying often at times), you don't get any say in this after the prologue.
Talking of characters, there are a lot of people on the Starship Volant,
and the game (especially during the prologue) gives a host of little details about their personalities and relationships. But these details don't go anywhere; when the emergency comes, most of the crew members go about their jobs calmly and efficiently, with minimal interaction. You don't need to know any of it to finish the game.
The writing is good, but there are a lot of typos ("thier" is
particularly prevalent). A few input-related annoyances, mostly Adrift-
related; for instance, "look under/behind bed" gets Adriftified to "look bed".
Starship Volant: Stowaway is a pleasant enough way to spend an hour or so, but don't expect anything more.
3rd place on the 2007 Spring Thing.