IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin on 2006-07-01 04:39
A neat idea, but badly flawed in the implementation.
You play the Evil Overlord, trying to land your Evil Overlord Mothership (or whatever one might call it). This involves repairing your robotic minions, repairing the ship, that sort of thing.
The game is well-described, but woefully short of synonyms. Most of the neat scenery can't be referred to. And the verbs need a lot more synonyms, too. At one point I found a loose screw, and discovered "screw screw" worked, but "turn screw" and "tighten screw" didn't. Lots of cases were like this. When I encounter a motionless robot, my first instinct is "turn on robot". Not only did this fail, but it gave a generic error; I had no indication what I was supposed to do instead.
The plot fell apart as well. I did everything mentioned in the hints, and the game won't let me do anything else, and I still didn't win. Maybe I missed something, but I found other plot-flow bugs too, so I think it's just broken.
The author put a lot of care into polishing the interface: a preferences file for various options, footnotes, boldface in appropriate places, and so on. However, the line-break discipline seems badly screwed up in places. Paragraphs run together, without even a space between sentences. The hint system is a particularly bad example.
Obligatory prompt bug report: There are several kinds of prompts in the game (command prompt, the options menu, the hints menu). They all look identical. Very hard to tell what's going on as you use them.
And finally, the religious issue. This game is written in third-person. I've now tried several third-person IF games, and I just don't like the effect. It's distancing, it's jarring, and it throws me out of any feeling of complicity. Yes, the author uses the technique to throw in lots of background information. But the same information could have fit in a standard second-person game, with practically no change except punctuation.