IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin
on 2006-06-25 07:04
Well, I'm stunned. This is the first game I chose to play, and I chose it purely on the basis of the title -- oh, a symbolic game, I thought. I'm in the mood for one of those.
Did I just get incredibly lucky or are they all like this? I know mine isn't -- I wasn't even trying -- but I didn't pull this off when I was trying (last year.)
Ok, I should get more specific. The name "Tim Hunter" is pulled from DC Comics, of course, unless there's an older folk source I don't know about. The story is original, though. The story is great. Stories. No, story. This is one story shown in three orthogonal mirrors. That's use of the IF format at its finest.
Flow of the action was tightly controlled without feeling confining to the player. (Except in a couple of places -- I'm thinking of the points where you try to do an action not consistent with your chosen Path. But that has to be abrupt, because that's the conceit of the story -- that your actions are constrained to this consistency.) Pay particular attention to the confrontations with the Wraith, in the Clotho path. My first reaction was, great, another guess-the-right-thing-to-type puzzle. But that works. It evokes the feeling of panic and pressure, stumbling towards the right thing to say -- and note that, really, you can't screw up. Random guessing works, and the resulting storyline reads fine.
The dream scene. I love well-done dream scenes. Looking-glass logic. This is it. Again, you could call it a guess-the-action puzzle; but in fact you're guided cleanly through the scene, without much feeling of manipulation. The author's careful use of detail is a big factor here. Important things are mentioned; unimportant things are passed over, in a way that makes it clear they are unimportant (but without leaving the reader feeling like there was a gap.) This is true of the entire game, not just the dream scene.
Had to resort to hints once (getting Sarah to go to sleep.)
Involvement: It took me three tries to move my hands to the keyboard to type one particular command. You know which one. I don't think I can give the author higher praise than that.
[Note: This was written after playing the first, erroneous upload of Tapestry (serial number 960911). I haven't gone through the second upload yet.]