Empty Rooms

by Kevin Lovegreen


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Number of Reviews: 2
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8 of 8 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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