IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin on 2006-06-25 10:15
Interesting idea, not executed well enough. Which is a pity, actually. It felt like it wasn't beta-tested, but according to the credits it was (and I therefore just insulted some folks -- sorry).
I guess it needs beta-testers who care about the details that bother me. To wit: "it's"/"its" errors (frequent!); extra or missing newlines; completely wrong capitalization in some places. Also just plain bugs, such as the "The only exit to this room is the door to east" message, which haunted me throughout the game. And a great many objects were mentioned twice per "look" (once in the room description, once farther down in the "You can see" section). These things need to be dealt with, in every game, always. Really.
And you can't go northwest from the Forest Room.
Okay, beyond that. The plan is intended to be a riddle wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a masquerade, but they don't exactly come together at the end. Or at all, at least when I played. The built-in hint system jammed at Act 2, and I never got more than 60 points (out of 100). I got to the end of the story, though.
A lot of characters, none of whom have much to say.
Now, little bits came through of what this game wanted to be. The fun of being at a scripted masquerade ball; the personalities of the other attendees; the fact that some of them blew their lines. Heh.
However, I wanted to spend the evening trading poisonously sweet barbs with a bunch of opinionated, self-willed schemers, keeping up the pretense of a social occasion while sneaking around and doing dirty work. Instead, I was pretty much shepherded through a social occasion while barely touching on someone's scheme. Unsatisfying.