Interface review

This was good!  The only thing I didn’t like was, at the end, when I reviewed the Hints to see what I could have done differently, I see the author lies in his hint file.

> How can I revive the other victims?

1/4: Did you try putting her on the lab table?

2/4: A good jolt of electricity should do the trick!

3/4: Examine [the] chassis closely for a shocking surprise

4/4: You really should stop reading hints for things that aren’t in this game, y’know!

I don’t know…  it just sullied my opinion of the game.

As a novel experiment, how about authors try assuming they’re dealing with grown adults, who will consult the Hint file at times and in ways they feel are appropriate?

(This may reflect the corrupting influence of Richard Bos, the astoundingly bad-mannered and unsportsmanlike author of _Eruption_ , who is credited as a beta-tester here, and who pulled a similar stunt in the hint file of his own God-forbid-I-call-it-a-game.)

Anyway, despite my disappointment at the author suddenly schmucking things up, this was a good game.  Novel in concept, thorough in implementation, and soundly put together.

The story is a good one.  It gets you involved and motivates the puzzles properly.  The puzzles are reasonable and fair.  I only had to consult the hint file one time, and that was because I had the strategy wrong.

(He says it’s geared to your inner 14-year-old.  My inner 14-year-old is very lively, much to the dismay of the women I date.)

A few minor points:  When a player-character is in deep trouble, and may soon die or be trapped as his enemy’s perpetual slave — it’s a really bad time to start cracking _Hitch-Hikker’s Guide_ jokes.  The usual thing is for your narrative tone to reinforce the emotional mood of the main character and the story.

Also, the game ended a little too quickly for me.  The game is about powerlessness, and so when the PC starts to get the upper hand, I wanted to draw that out.  But instead, as soon as you have the problem cracked, it’s over.  I felt that I would have gotten more satisfaction, once I had been restored, in gathering some evidence and summoning, or seeking out, the authorities myself. 

Those 5 or 10 minutes of game-play would have really brought home the PC’s victory.  I realize it may have required the author to pull off a major programming trick that he might not have been prepared to do.  So, even if not that, some other minor hitch at the end, before the PC’s victory was complete.  I just felt it ended too abruptly.

Overall, a good game.  It balances story and simulation well, and leads the player without being intrusive.  It’s not too complicated, and I think most will end it in under two hours — but I expect it will do well in the Comp, and deservedly so.  Thanks to the author.

Published in: on October 12, 2009 at 8:20 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I actually liked the hints file. Normally, when you look at the hints for some X you cannot solve, the other entries in the main hint menu spoil a lot of the story for you. In this game, they don’t; on the contrary, they gave me all kind of wrong expectations, which is certainly more fun than knowing how the story will play out. :)

    It seemed a neat trick to me.

  2. Having hints that don’t apply to the game is the way the old Invisiclues hints from the old Infocom games worked.

    So the fake clues in Interface didn’t bother me, I liked the nod to the old-style text adventures.

  3. I felt a little annoyed by it too – I recall the InvisiClues system, and that was fine, but this did it too many times, I thought.

    I never got far enough to have character development like you mention at the end. Played it pretty much as a standard locked-room game.

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