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Number of Reviews: 4
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2 people found the following review helpful:
Thankfully Short, March 25, 2012
Play it if: you're looking (with all due respect to the author) for the kind of example game not to show beginners to IF, or if you have a strong sado-masochistic streak.
Should be advertised as a game for beginners, December 29, 2011
Don't play it if: you want to play a game with any real level of thought or creative input.
I'm going to go ahead and disagree with the author: this is very much not the kind of game to show IF beginners, and here's why.
First, the game has little to entertain beginners enough to get them interested in more IF. The descriptive text is Spartan at best (the room description consisting of a list of objects, for instance), and there is no story or atmosphere besides a basic need to get out of a room.
Second, there's no fair challenge in the game. Most of the "puzzles" require either a brute-force approach to opening containers and trying keys out in differenet locks, or guess-the-verb minigames. Neither of these are a genuine test of intellect, and as a result neither are rewarding; any prospective IF player is likely to feel frustrated with this work.
Finally, the game's underlying logic is almost non-existent. One has to wonder what kind of asylum would put its patients in a room chock-full of keys or hire staff who ruin your plans for escape on the basis of a clock's alarm. The corners of the desk are sanded off to prevent you from hurting yourself, and yet the room contains (Spoiler - click to show)a fragile glass object, a heavy hammer, and a chisel capable of penetrating a wall, among other things! Not to mention the time limit - (Spoiler - click to show)if there are no doors described in the room, how do the asylum staff get in to "ruin your plans"? Dearie me. An unintentionally hilarious coding error - and one that could have been fixed with a marginally thorough beta-test - is the error message that pops up whenever the player tries to off himself (the kind of response games of this caliber inspire in me, I'm afraid). The "remove player from play" error, in case you were wondering...which is odd considering that the author successfully wrote in a defeat condition!
Hopefully the author's subsequent work will have more in the way of invested effort.
P.S. Perhaps the most bizarre thing about this game is that the author voted for it in a list of Best Short Games. I don't mean to sound...well, mean, but...really?
As a first-time game, I congratulate the author on actually producing a playable work of IF. However, should we still be seeing this kind of game in 2009? The author has directly ported a standard graphical escape the room template to textual IF. While playable, I wonder if anybody actually enjoys story-less, basic use object on object-type puzzle games anymore. I might recommend the game as an introduction to basic object manipulation in IF, but other than that, there is nothing there. This may only appeal to lovers of graphical escape the room games - of which I am not. The fact there is no story, no characterization whatsoever, makes me wonder if it can be called IF at all. As I have yet to play an absolutely horrible first time IF game (of which I hear there are many), I give it 2 stars.
6 people found the following review helpful:
Was not enjoyable, November 22, 2011
This game was not a good game. There was no puzzle other than figuring out what words to use and it would not make a good intro to IF
7 people found the following review helpful:
A Promising Start, August 4, 2009
While Asylum is a cut above the usual 'my first game' game, it still suffers from sparse implementation, poor motivation and a lack of testing. The plot of Asylum sees you standing in a room described only with your desire to exit it and a list of objects. My first (perhaps somewhat evil) reaction was to attempt to take the closet - an action which, in the version I played, succeeded.
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The player character is inexplicably carrying a key, and the initial gameplay involves the trial and error of attempting to unlock and open various objects, and then trying to guess the obscure verbs needed to perform the obvious actions required by the items inside. (Spoiler - click to show)(You need to OPEN the globe, ATTACK the heart and CHISEL the wall.)
After about forty turns, the game ends in a loss without prior warning. Winning the game results only in a bare 'you have won' message.
Unlike a lot of games of this kind, Asylum has clearly had some thought go into design and alpha testing. I certainly hope that the author continues to develop their skills by reading the many helpful articles on IF design that are available, by playing and studying other IF games, and ultimately by soliciting testing and feedback.