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All Hands Abandon Ship

by David Lee

Science Fiction
2023

(based on 10 ratings)
4 reviews

About the Story

In a race against time, can you escape before it's too late?

It's the same old story, really... A low-ranking officer stuck on a doomed spaceship hurtling headlong toward the inescapable gravitational pull of a quantum singularity. Only a perfect storm of systems failures stands between you and your race to find a serviceable life pod. Good luck, Science Officer Cadet Third Class! You're going to need it.


Game Details


Awards

49th Place - tie - 29th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2023)

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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Funny, simple puzzler, October 1, 2023
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: About 30 minutes, IFComp 2023

This is a simple puzzler in the classic fashion. You are a crew member of a space ship. While you are sitting on the toilet an emergency strikes (doesn't that always happen!). You have to figure out a way to abandon ship, but there are a lot of things broken that you might have to fix first.

That's pretty much it, a simple, straight-forward puzzler. You are playing against the clock, so it might require multiple playthroughs to beat the game, learning from the failed playthroughs (much like how I found Zork to be). In the end (Spoiler - click to show)the solution is pretty simple, you just have to know the correct order of operations.

Honestly, the game/puzzle part of this is nothing to write home about, but what I appreciated was everything else that the game was wrapped in. The humor and pop culture refences in the game made me laugh out loud several times. The game's code was very robust and allowed you to do a number of things that didn't matter to solving the main puzzle (sidequests and easter eggs if you will). I also appreciated the author's attempt at making feelies to go with the game (which can be accessed on the game's website) as well as the very polished hints and walkthrough document.

I hope to see more from this author in the future.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
In-jokes and Easter eggs, December 26, 2023
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2023

(This is a lightly-edited version of a review I posted to the IntFiction forums during 2023's IFComp).

Interactive fiction, weíre told, can be conceptualized as a crossword at war with a narrative (this obviously isnít true for much, if not most, contemporary IF, but please just go with it). All Hands Abandon Ship is what happens when theyíre enmeshed in a three-front war with an all-encompassing pile of Easter eggs and pop-culture references, and actually neither of them are putting up much of a fight.

This sounds like Iím saying the game is bad. It isnít bad! Mind, itís not great, either: the escape-the-doomed-spaceship premise isnít just old enough to drink, itís got a Facebook account it uses to post photos of the grandkids and share awkward grumbling about foreigners; the implementation is pretty thin, with lots of generic descriptions and unimplemented synonyms; and there are no characters or much in the way of environmental storytelling to liven things up. But there are attractive feelies with a cool map of the ship, thereís a pretty solid amount of geography to explore, and I didnít notice any bugs. So itís got solid enough bones for a low-narrative sci-fi puzzlefest.

The trouble is, there arenít really any puzzles. Okay, I guess thereís an overall time limit that counts, but since that just makes escape impossible (after 100 turns, you drift beyond a black holeís event horizon so life pods canít get out) and you can continue running around the ship exploring, all that means in practice is that youíll run out of your time on your first go-through, figure out how to win, then type RESTART to do so. Outside of the countdown, though, all you need to do is (Spoiler - click to show)wriggle down a dumbwaiter, which doesnít require any commands more exotic than ENTER DUMBWAITER and D, then get an electrical system working again by the simple expedient of (Spoiler - click to show)OPENING a panel and then TURNING ON a circuit breaker. I spoiler-blocked the details to be polite, but trust me, this is stuff that anyone with even minimal experience with parser games would do in their sleep. In fairness, there is one alternate path to victory that involves a tiny bit of problem solving, but this is marred by some guess the verb issues (Spoiler - click to show)(you need to put a yoga mat on some live wires to provide insulation, but various iterations of PUT MAT ON CABLES fail; only DROP MAT works) so I think best not to count it.

This isnít to say that thereís nothing to do, though, since the game actually has a reasonable amount of things to mess around with and places to explore. Some of these include some reasonable jokes Ė when youíre told, of an unremarkable head, that ď[y]ou wouldnít be at all surprised to see its design aesthetic featured on the front cover of Brutalist Architecture MonthlyĒ itís inevitable but still entertaining that youíll eventually come across an issue of just such a magazine. And there are lots of little optional interactions, like microwaving various inappropriate foodstuffs or getting a physical from the holographic doctor.

But mainly what you do is notice references. Past a certain point, my notes just became a litany of all the in-jokes Iíd seen Ė thereís a strong 80s/90s pop-culture angle here, since I came across a Soundgarden CD, a Presidents of the United States lyric, a Scarface reference, and of course a couple from Aliens. But lest you think thereís a consistent retro pre-millennium revival across the futuristic society, there are also prominent mentions of the Doors and the Great Gatsby.

Look, I know I sound like a scold. And I canít lie, it is a fun idea to have a holodoc that goes by T.J. Eckleburg. But, like, what am I, as a player, to do with that idea? The doctor doesnít have any dialogue, I donít think, beyond ďopen up and say ahhĒ (I thought he was an optician, not an ENT); he doesnít have a fascination with the book, or provide a thematically similar role by witnessing and judging the playerís activities. Like all the other references, itís an empty signifier, there to provide a frisson of recognition and thatís it. This sort of thing can be entertaining in moderation, as a break from more engaging business, but again, the game doesnít have a story to speak of and lacks much in the way of challenge. To risk a culinary metaphor, the author phoned in the entrees and spent all their time on the side dishes instead Ė but actually, the side dishes are junk food, conveying an instant pop of flavor but containing no nutrition Ė so go figure, I didnít leave especially satisfied.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Escap a crashing starship, November 22, 2023

This was another game of interest, as one of the last things Iím programming in my game is a similar scenario to this: trying to flee a ship that is being destroyed and trying to make it to an escape pod. It was interesting to look at this and try to see what worked for me and what didnít.

This is a timed game, with approximately 100 turns. I found that time ran out pretty quickly for me; I had explored about half of the ship when I first found out the game had ended.

That time is marked by frequent messages from the shipís computer. The messages start normal but become more and more unusual. I found that for my tastes it was a bit too frequent and intense; I felt like I barely had time to do anything before it was pushing me to go and run and do.

The layout is large enough and the puzzles complex enough that it felt weighty and had that feel of Ďdonít know if I can do thisí before the puzzles were solved and Ďahh so thatís how it isí after. There was clear competency in coding; I didnít encounter problems where puzzles malfunctioned or interactions were misleading. However, there was somewhat of a deficit in polish; many objects are undescribed, and the game could have had more scenery items implemented. A particularly rough example was the holographic doctor, who had no description and didnít reply to TALK TO or ASK DOCTOR ABOUT DOCTOR or stuff like that.

But the manual was really cool, as was the multiple paths, and it gave me some ideas. The overall craftmanship was high, I think I had different expectations from the author. So I definitely think if the author did another game, Iíd expect it to be really good.

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All Hands Abandon Ship on IFDB

Polls

The following polls include votes for All Hands Abandon Ship:

Outstanding Science Fiction Game of 2023 by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2023 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best Science Fiction game of 2023. Voting is open to all IFDB members....




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