IFReviewed by Greg Boettcher on 2006-05-22 08:55
I wish I didn't have to write a bad review of this game, for a number of reasons:
- I've recently come to understand just how very much David Whyld has contributed to the ADRIFT community, writing reviews and maintaining a very helpful website, in addition to writing a huge number of games.
- I recently took issue with David on r.a.i-f, and I don't want anyone to think I have anything against him, because I don't. I even wrote David an email to make sure there were no hard feelings.
- David just made a cash donation to the Spring Thing, for which I'm grateful.
- Finally, both of the previous reviews of this game (by Cannibal and Emily Short) were positive.
Nevertheless, I'm not going to lie. I didn't like this game. Simply put, it's a comedy that didn't make me laugh. The intro says, "listen up fellers, and listen good . . . no using the floor as a convenient toilet because it's closer than the proper toilet . . ." Sigh. Well, if you just laughed, you'd better run out and play this game. If you didn't, it's probably better to try out a different David Whyld game instead.
The premise is simple: you and your crew have to paint the office of Mr. Ostinolypakalopodopous. Naturally, complications arise, which include a meteor strike, a kidnapper, and a visit from Thor the thunder god.
There's more crazy stuff going on in this game than in any other one-room game I know. But there's nothing that holds it all together. I like method in my madness, most of the time. I probably wouldn't be complaining about this if I'd found the game funny, but I didn't.
The writing is mostly good, but sometimes the programming seems sloppy. For instance, there's a telephone that never rings, but you can answer it, and sometimes there's somebody to talk to. What, were they waiting on hold?
The puzzles are problematic for me too. I'm not sure whether they're badly designed, or simply too hard for me. When I first played it, I there were certain challenges I just couldn't figure out, and I was never able to get a good ending. Then I recently discovered that the new version of the game comes with a walkthrough, so I tried it again, and -- well, the walkthrough contains a lot of things I never would have tried. On the other hand, maybe that's just me.
Humor has been an essential part of all the David Whyld games I've seen so far. And comedy is a risky business; either a game makes you laugh, or it doesn't. In this regard I think Paint is less successful than, e.g., David Whyld's more recent game A Day in the Life of a Super Hero, which made me laugh quite a few times. So, if you want my recommendation, play Super Hero and/or Back to Life... Unfortunately first. Then try Paint!!!