IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin
on 2006-07-01 04:17
Oh, charming. This is exactly my favorite blend of whimsy-logic, wry satire and self-satire, and mathematics. (Come to think of it, all three are characteristic of Lewis Carroll... I wonder if that was deliberate.)
Yes, we've seen a lot of the tropes before -- inside-out worlds, Klein bottles -- but they work well here. Similarly, while throwing in unrelated genre elements with no warning (talking animals, an ATM machine, a magic fish, and a wormhole) is a bad idea as a rule, the author of Erewhon is deft and aware of what he's doing. (The explanation about air was much appreciated. As was the line about Tir na Nog and the woodchuck.)
Some flaws. The pacing is a little weird: you enter a new area, and it has a bunch of puzzles and a bunch of objects, but you have to run back to earlier areas before they fit together. (I don't object to this sort of thing in general, but in this game it confused me.) Worse, there's one puzzle which is definitively learning-by-death. Or learning-by-undo, if you like, but I was several failed commands deep by the time I realized I had to undo. And there's no warning at all that you're getting to a critical point.
On the other hand, how can I score down a game that uses the word "amanuensis"?