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2 Stars IFReview Rating Flat Feet

IFReviewed by Dan Shiovitz on 2005-05-09 10:07 

Game Profile

Author
Joel Ray Holveck

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Inform6

Release Year
2005

IFR Overall Rating
3 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator

You're a cat detective, and your best buddy is a hyperactive ferret.

Together you fight crime! Specifically, in Flat Feet you fight crime by bopping around the Bay Area, cracking jokes and (at least for me) trying to figure out what you're supposed to be doing.

The problem is, basically, the author is aiming for an absurdist humor game (a la Sam & Max, he says in the credits), which is good, but he's made the mistake of also giving the game an absurdist plot design, which is very bad. Like, at the start of the game you're sitting around waiting for a case to come in.

You might think the correct answer is to wait for the phone to ring — but no, the correct way to make stuff happen is to go outside and make preparations for leaving the office, and then this will make the phone ring, giving you a case and thus a reason to leave the office.

Funny concept, irritating in practice.

The plot is filled with situations like this, where you have to do things before knowing why they're useful, either to solve a puzzle or to advance the plot.

Slightly more defensible are the puzzles that are obviously just stuck in to make things harder (eg, Ralph and the elevator).

There's nothing wrong with this feel-wise in an absurdist game, except that they're psychologically hard to solve: the author has plainly said "THIS IS AN ILLOGICAL PUZZLE" so how can you expect to solve it by reasoning out a solution?

Putting aside the plot difficulties, Flat Feet is a lot of fun.

There are plenty of zany hijinx and goofy remarks, and they take place in a really well-done version of the Bay Area that strikes the right balance between cartoon and geography.

It's just a pity that the plot makes it such a pain to see all the funny bits.

Flat Feet Awards

    4th place on the 2005 Spring Thing.

Dan Shiovitz Profile

Name Dan Shiovitz
Gender Male

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