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4 Stars IFReview Rating Screen

IFReviewed by Emily Short on 2006-08-01 04:19 

Game Profile

Author
Edward Floren

Idiom
English

Authoring System
Inform6

Release Year
2002

IFR Overall Rating
6 Stars IFR Overall Rating
Separator
Played to completion?: Yes
House or Office: House
Rating: 4

Typos are typos, but one that says your childhood sweetheart looks "really sweat" should've been caught. The implementation also lacks the polish it might have. I don't like typing >CLIMB and being told "if you want to go up, please type UP." As a general rule of thumb, I figure that if the game knows what you want to do, it should let you do it. The parser should only request a rephrasing if the way the player phrased the instruction is unparseable.

There are also some logical mysteries. You can go down a chimney and come out in a room with no fireplace — how exactly does that work? I suppose various events in the game are supposed to be mysterious, but this felt as though "magic" was being invoked simply to cover something that the designer didn't feel like implementing a more complex scenario.

There are other such points. A tv is described as "not something you can switch." "Attach thread to putty" works, but not "attach putty to thread." The game is so small that it could easily have afforded more attention to such details.

Puzzle design also needs a little work. There is a timed puzzle with far too little time provided: if you waste any time examining objects, you wind up unable to finish the puzzle on time. I had to replay this passage three times, and ultimately had to follow the walkthrough exactly in order to get through. This is part of what beta-testing is for: to catch this kind of thing.

These are gameplay issues; the deeper dissatisfaction I had with this game is that it just doesn't hang together. There's a memory-of-the-past aspect and a silly-tv-based-puzzles aspect, and they don't fit together in any real way that I can discern. The parting text assures me that I feel as though I've been on a wonderful journey, but I don't know what I was supposed to have gotten out of this all. The game needs more focus; if the designer is relying on the memories of the past to convey an emotional punch, he also (I think) needs to work on them a little bit more, because they feel a bit cliched and generic. The characters in "Jane" were generic, too, but that was to make a kind of point; here, I think, they would need some more development in order to provide an emotional grab. The old man who lived in the now-abandoned house is also apparently intended to be a touching figure, but there's not much at all to characterize him, since his house is stripped of any distinguishing features other than the mammoth television.

If, on the other hand, the designer wanted to present this as a puzzle-fest, I'd suggest stripping away a lot of the framing material and adding a few more actual game scenes. These were, to my mind, the most entertaining parts of the game. The response to REMOVE HAT made me smirk.

Emily Short Profile

IFReviewer Rating
10 Stars IFReviewer Overall Rating

Name Emily Short
Gender Female