IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin
on 2006-06-25 08:15
A very short SF scenario; you have to get your computer working to print out a school report. There isn't much story here. The game is essentially a showcase for two nifty interfaces: the virtual computer interface, and the hardware you can wire together. Both of these are well-done, but not really enough to be compelling.
The setting, a futuristic university dominated by a megacorporation, isn't much either. It's impossible to avoid being reminded of The Legend Lives. Except in Legend it was more than a setting; it worked into the plot.
It feels like the game is actually too short, in fact. If there were more plot, the gizmos would be useful background instead of a brief "use the thing" foreground.
A game with this few rooms also has to watch out for repetitive description. The main room, your apartment, is a good introductory description, but the text reappears every time you type "look". It's worth putting in some effort to be dynamic -- have it get briefer after the first time. Or briefer when you "re-enter" it from a virtual zone, with the full description repeated -- but without as much emotional setting -- when you "look". That kind of thing. There are several possibilities.
Similarly, the virtual space of your computer shows an "anomaly" even after you've fixed the bug. And, not so similarly, the game should automatically put the scanner on the desk instead of printing a "You can't do that until the scanner is on the desk" message.
I don't mean to imply I disliked the game. I like gizmo puzzles, and these are well-done. It's a very easy piece, but gizmo puzzles don't have to be hard to be entertaining. They just have to make sense, and in this game they do.