IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin on 2006-06-25 08:34
The gimmick is, a real-time arcade game. The problem is, it's buggy.
I actually managed to play some of the arcade game under MaxZip. (I have an advantage here. I'm the interpreter author, so I was able to jigger MaxZip to ignore certain Z-code errors. Most people would just see crashes.)
I wasn't able to get very far. The text adaptation of a platform scroller was a cute idea, but it didn't really give enough information. When a monster appeared, I had no idea what to do in order to attack it; the basic positional information was lacking. (Is the monster in front of me or behind, is it tall or short, etc.) I was able to get halfway through the level by jumping madly, but then I jumped into a bottomless pit. Again, in an actual video game, I could see the pit coming and at least try to jump over it. Didn't work here. I felt like I was playing blindfolded.
This approach can work, but it would require much, much more descriptive text. Of course then the player is forced to absorb that much information once per second.
There is a frame game which is in the usual Adventure mold; it's also pretty buggy. (What was up with the New Age rock melody with the backbeat? And Margot gave me the cold shoulder for buying tokens with my money. And I don't think the keys are mentioned anywhere in the game, except the walkthrough.) The three NPCs are well-developed, however.
I can't evaluate the plot, since I only saw the beginning of it.