IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin on 2006-06-25 10:09
Aha. Good solid game. (Albeit in the well-known "research facility" genre. :-)
Seriously, this game does fall into a well-known format: a single miraculous gimmick, which you have to exploit every way you can imagine. And this is done very well. Reasonably complex plotline. Tight map, all of which is relevant throughout the story, and not always the same way. A bunch of characters.
However, although all of this adds up to a good game, it doesn't quite make a great one. I have two problems.
First, the characters are basically as interesting as rocks. Each one does about two things, and does them constantly through the entire game. They react when you advance the plot (and, okay, they then advance the plot too), but they don't react to you at all otherwise: they seem entirely passive. (Or worse, they watch blithely as you get up to all sorts of antics.) This doesn't fit in with their various positions in the evolving story. There's no particular reason for your character to be the Sole Dynamic Hero in an Apathetic World, and that's the impression I was left with.
Second, the writing didn't seem to pace right. Nothing wrong with it on the sentence level, but (particularly early in the game) I didn't feel any difference between events that were routine (for the protagonist) and events that were interesting, dramatic, or terrifying. Nothing felt new, and considering the experiences the protagonist goes through, that ain't right. Maybe the author let his own familiarity with the plot color his writing; I'm not sure.
But I have made much of the flaws; don't let that give you the wrong impression. I enjoyed the game. (Used the hints a few times, but not excessively, and after each instance I was willing to go back to playing on my own. As opposed to losing faith and playing from the walkthrough, I mean.)