Empty Rooms

by Kevin Lovegreen


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Number of Ratings: 3
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Technically inaccurate, February 22, 2014
by Simon Deimel (Germany)

A storyless collection of puzzles, intended as a tutorial for people who are new to IF. Principally a tutorial is not a bad idea, but anything with educational intention should show the basic concepts of an idea.

This game succeeds in teaching some basic commands, but it fails to get a new player accquainted with general conventions in IF, such as the use of containers (in this game the backpack has to be taken to make the possession of certain items possible; but they just coexist in the inventory, because the backpack is not programmed as a container), or the difference of inanimate and animate objects (the kids are programmed as inanimate things, not as persons). I did not care much, but it may be confusing for beginners. The puzzles are not too difficult to solve, but some of them may be a bit too underclued for beginners.

For me it was a short puzzler, nothing more. I found the ending a bit annoying, because the game lets you lose for a reason without any logic(Spoiler - click to show) -- the win requires dropping a certain object before exiting the last room (or not having taken it before), and I don't think any player will reconsider having the thing in the inventory (as picking it up does not suggest any lethal danger) before exiting. In the end this game cannot be recommended as a tutorial.

- Floating Info, February 21, 2014

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Well … not a maze, not a tutorial, April 11, 2011
by Felix Larsson (Gothenburg, Sweden)

Empty Rooms is a storyless wandering through a series of nearly empty rooms. The goal of the game is simply to find your way to the next room.

Notwithstanding the game's claims to the contrary, it's neither a maze nor a tutorial, however. The complex of rooms you wander about in are unambiguously mapped, so it's not a maze but a dungeon; and though the author has obviously wanted the game to be very friendly to players new to IF, it won't really serve as a tutorial game.

The tutorial part is actually restricted to the first few rooms, where the game tells you how to pick up things, move to new rooms and examine things (though it tells you nothing else, like how to take inventory). Even after this tutorial introduction the puzzles are very simple, though, and the player is at times guided through them by prompts such as «You should maybe try to “kill” the rat». It is a smooth passage through these empty rooms - at least till you get to a room with a lever high up one wall, which you can and cannot reach: i.e. you can PULL the lever (nothing obvious happens), but if you try to SWITCH it you're told that it is out of reach. ((Spoiler - click to show)You have to SWITCH it, but that won't work till you bring the right thing to the room.) The solution to the following, and last, puzzle is pretty arbitrary as well and not too obviously clued.

For the author's next game I hope for a little more proof reading and lot more beta testing—as it is, things you have taken or eaten appear in room descriptions, though they are no longer there; you're told your backpack can't contain things, although you need it to carry large things around; one room has four doors, but you're not told what door leads in what direction (and the tutorial has only told you how to move in compass directions not that it's possible to ENTER doors); you can't interact with people you meet, because you can only do that to something animate; etc.—that and some modicum of plot, characterization, formal structure or other device to hold your players' interest, especially if the next game is meant to be longer than this very short one.

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