His Majesty's Royal Space Navy Service Handbook

by Austin Auclair profile

Science Fiction

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Number of Reviews: 2
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
As a bureaucrat play hide and seek with documents, March 25, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This was a refreshingly well-designed game. There were a couple of things that didn't work out for me, but this game had the kind of smoothness I'd associate with experienced authors like Ryan Veeder or Zarf.

The conceit is that you are a space bureaucrat in a future technocracy. You are in charge of delivering a technical manual, but it's after hours and every chapter of the manual was assigned to a different subordinate. You have to track down each person's personal copy.

There was a lot of light office and space-bureaucracy humor, some fun romance, and a lot of little niceties (like the 'press anything' button being an ascii art anchor and having exits listed).

One nice feature was having all verbs listed, and once you found something using that verb it was crossed off the list. This was very satisfying.

The author seems to have found the lack of verbs a weakness instead of strength; typing the wrong thing too many times gives you a big apology about how they didn't have time to implement responses to everything not on the list. But constrained verb games are their own genre and are fun, and having the player get repeated errors isn't negative, it's just a fact of parser games; the errors are the 'boundaries' of the world, and having firm boundaries can make a game better.

I had a great experience with this. The main thing I disliked is that 8 cubicles are mentioned but you can only ever interact with two, despite learning the names of the others. I'd prefer it if it recognized, say 'Becher's cubicle' and just said 'that cubicle is boring' or something.