Reviews by Kake
One-Room Game Competition 2007View this member's profile
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...or see all reviews by this member1-4 of 4
I really enjoyed this one. The hints are well-paced, the puzzles make sense, the implementation is sound, and there's lots to play around with.
The only bug I managed to find was a small one which produced a small amount of contradictory output, but it didn't spoil anything. The game did give me an unsolicited hint at one point, but that might have been because I'd just asked it for a few hints in succession, and to be honest I really did need it.
Would definitely recommend this game.
Urban Conflict situates you in a bombed-out building in the middle of a war. You've sustained a serious injury, and your only companion in the building is sitting opposite you in possession of an assault rifle — and definitely isn't on your side.
I didn't feel this was really a one-room game so much as a conversational game along the lines of (the obvious comparison) Galatea. I couldn't interact with anything in the room, and I couldn't figure out how to move around within it; I got as far as standing up and sitting down again, but I couldn't work out any way to move towards or away from the NPC.
I'm not a great fan of conversational games — I didn't particularly enjoy Galatea either — as they make me feel as though I'm expected to read the author's mind. I actually managed to spoil the power of this one's ending by stopping my line of questioning slightly too soon, moving on to other topics, and then accidentally triggering the ending somewhat incongruously.
It's worth playing, though, especially if you already know you like this kind of thing.
The title kind of put me off this before I even started; it needs some punctuation, for one thing. The writing of the opening scene isn't great, either. Parts of it sound like bad goth poetry — "The fireplace is as empty as my heart" — and some of the descriptions are clumsy; why does the bed have "a blanket wrapped around it"?
The initial exposition ends strongly, though: "My remaining life can be measured in heartbeats. I must act!" This pulled me into the story and made me eager to get started.
And this game is worth playing. The story isn't particularly original, but the puzzles are reasonably fair and I did feel satisfaction when I finally managed to solve them all. It doesn't really have much replay value, but I quite enjoyed the two playthroughs that I needed to solve it. I would have preferred it if there had been some accommodation for alternative methods of solving the puzzles, even if it was just along the lines of letting me know why the object I was using was unsuitable (instead of just showing the default "you can't do that" response).
Having to type "story" to see the backstory was a bit odd. I'm still not sure if I liked that or not. The game is written from the first-person perspective, and the player character hasn't suffered any memory loss, so it seems odd that I-the-player have no idea what's going on at the start of the game — and it's entirely possible to play through the game without ever checking the backstory.
There is a turn limit, but it has a sensible justification (albeit one hidden in the backstory).
I'm not too keen on the way the game infers quite a lot from my commands; for example, if I type in "look at <thing>", I don't expect the game to have the PC start rummaging about in it.
One problem (which may be related to the above criticism) is that there are at least two items in the game that show me an interesting and useful description the first time I look at them, but on subsequent examination give me only "I see nothing that will help me", which is clearly untrue. So it's worth keeping a transcript that you can refer back to.
This game really has no plot at all — it's basically just a series of rather unvaried logic puzzles, the kind of thing you find in IQ tests. The ending was a slight let-down; it basically just stopped, which is a shame, because there were some reasonably effective attempts at building up atmosphere as I progressed through the puzzles. I didn't not enjoy the game, but I found it rather unsatisfying.
Trial-and-error seems to have been guarded against; you have to have seen your clue before you can input the puzzle's answer. The answers are randomised, too, so you can't just get a cheat sheet and plug in the answers.
I got stuck on one of the later puzzles, and because the description of the object I'd been using to solve the earlier puzzles had changed to "You see nothing special about <thing>", I thought the next clue would be elsewhere in the room. This was, in fact, a bug (and one which has now been reported to the author). I managed to get through it, though, since "hint" told me to examine things that were in the now-nondescript object, and sure enough this was where my clue was.
Couple of typos/spelling mistakes, nothing major. The game also let me strip naked without comment.
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