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About the Story
In this very short one-room game, you play as someone abducted to solve a series of related word puzzles.
21st Place - 15th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2009)
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Number of Reviews: 4
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A simple word puzzle of a game, without any meaningful IF elements. It also feels under-implemented, with parser "I don't understand that verb" messages your only feedback. The puzzle (and it is the puzzle) is moderately interesting, but the game is ultimately unsatisfying, and the experience has more of the throw-away browser game to it than it does IF.
Gleaming the Verb is not one of those deep, immersive IFs that will take your breath away. It is however, a very interesting way to spend ten minutes. The game is set in a bare room. You are naked and carrying absolutely nothing, your only companion in the room is a cube. And so, the puzzle begins. There is only one puzzle and it’s rather short. Once I understood the mechanics behind it, I was able to solve it relatively quickly.
I wouldn’t call Gleaming the Verb a full-fledged IF. It’s more like a brain teaser set in interactive fiction format. The idea behind the puzzle is quite clever and you will definitely feel a pang of satisfaction at completing it. I would love to see more games of this kind from the author in the future.
Gleaming The Verb does away with any pretense of a story and, honestly, almost every IF convention along with it. You can still examine things (if I recall correctly) but beyond that, every other action (or ‘verb’) you enter at the command line is offered as a potential solution to the puzzle before you. So there is no exploration, no interaction with any objects other than the puzzle before you, and no story beyond the fact that you are trapped in a featureless room with a floating, glowing cube.
At this point, one might wonder why this person even used Interactive Fiction as the basis for the game when it could easily have been done with forms in a webpage or even a Quizilla. Well, the only reason I can think of (being the jaded person I am) is that if they used a webpage or Quizilla they couldn’t have entered it into this year’s IFComp. So... I’m left thinking this person just wanted a greater audience for their work and picked IFComp to do it.
This is a shame, because, if anything, having it presented on the surface as an IF-game only forces it to be judged on measures it shouldn’t be judged on. I wouldn’t normally open a puzzle book looking for a story or an interactive experience, and their absence here meaninglessly detracts from what is not a terrible string of word games.
Yes, it’s short, and yes, the game suffers from it’s implementation (Spoiler - click to show) – presumably the puzzle ‘cube’ in the game requires the avatar to physically manipulate it in some way that solves the riddles present, which was fine by me until I was asked to TITRATE the cube, which is simply absurd – but otherwise, I wouldn’t have thought there was anything wrong with seeing these five puzzles presented on a page for me to solve.
So, I guess, my recommendation is to go into this game with your expectations properly set and you could get a good 10 minutes or so of enjoyment out of it.