IFReviewed by Dan Shiovitz on 2005-05-09 10:07
You're a cat detective, and your best buddy is a
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
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.
4th place on the 2005 Spring Thing.