All Roads

by Jon Ingold profile

Historical, Time Travel

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Number of Ratings: 153
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- Hagbard Celine, January 26, 2012

- amciek (Opole), December 18, 2011

- Marco Innocenti (Florence, Italy), November 17, 2011

- Lipa (Slovenia), September 29, 2011

- Ann R. J., September 11, 2011

- A.J. Crowley (Seattle, Washington), September 10, 2011

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful:
A big meta-puzzle in an alternate Venice, August 29, 2011
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)

By now we have all become familiar with films that give us a narrative that is somehow cut up -- either in space, or in time, or in levels of reality -- and then ask us to sort it all out into a coherent story. Memento is an obvious example, as are Donnie Darko, Inception and eXistenZ. These films are like puzzles, in that we are constantly coming up with theories and testing them against what is happening on the screen.

Jon Ingold's All Roads falls firmly within this genre. It presents us with scenes taking place in an alternate Venice, where the Guard fights against the Resistance. We take the role of an assassin who is about to be hanged, but suddenly manages to escape in what appears to be a supernatural way. The rest of the game consists of weird shifts in place and time, troublesome identities, and the player trying to understand what on Earth is going on.

So, is it any good? On the positive side, the story is complicated and yet coherent enough to excite interest and engage our intellect. We theorise, we adopt and discard theories, and the clear-headed reader will have a pretty good idea of what was going on once he has finished the game. One will certainly have had fun.

On the negative side, however, it must be mentioned that All Roads is a bit too complex for its own good. The central plot could have done with at least one identity less. (Spoiler - click to show)Did we really need to have both the assassin as a disembodied ghost and his brother? A confusion between two identities would have been complicated enough, but now we in fact have three identities. This would have made it easier to solve a story that now appears to be wilfully obscure.

Another negative point is that the game sometimes goes out of its way to hide clues from the player. Not only will some crucial information only be found by players who do non-obvious actions, it is also the case that some clues are actively withheld from you. The "x me" command is particularly bad in this respect. While I can see why the author was hesitant in supplying a more helpful response to such a command, I do not think it was the right decision. It is better to make the central puzzle easier than to tell you players "sure, if I told you this stuff that you should just be able to examine, you could solve the puzzle; but I'm not going to!"

That said, it is still easy to love All Roads. Anyone interested in IF should give it a whirl.

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- Digibomber, July 29, 2011

- Xander, July 17, 2011

- Corwin71, July 10, 2011

- baywoof, May 25, 2011

- Rotonoto (Albuquerque, New Mexico), May 16, 2011

- Iris Wood (Vancouver), May 12, 2011

- Felix Pleșoianu (Bucharest, Romania), March 18, 2011

- Ben Cressey (Seattle, WA), February 2, 2011

- snickerdoddle, January 28, 2011

- A. P. Sillers (United States, East Coast), January 19, 2011

- Mark Jones (Los Angeles, California), January 9, 2011

- Fabien Vidal (Tours, France), January 5, 2011

- mojay, December 18, 2010

- Narcisse, November 26, 2010

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
Good idea, bad result, November 21, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
Related reviews: Bad, linear, roads, time

'wow'! What a great idea' I thought, 'an adventure all about switching through time'!
Turns out that this was horribly developed.
1. The characters were so flat it wasn't funny. The characters were usually only seen once or twice, not nearly enough time to do anything with their personalities. The main character was so hopelessly pathetic, and ill developed. He spent most of his time getting captured, moping, then trying to escape, and doing nothing of free will. There is no fun in that.
2. This story was too linear. I'm actually a fan of fairly linear adventures, but this was pitiful. There were hardly any puzzles in this whole work and to make matters worse, you got no control over what the character does. You do one obvious thing and it leads you to another obvious thing. It was infuriating how every action you did, it took you on a completely scripted part.
3.the plot was not terrible though, but take out the character dimension, and the free will and you get nothing

Note: this rating is not included in the game's average.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting ... but confused, November 16, 2010
by Stumpy (A maze of twisty little passages, all alike (apart from the one I'm currently in))

An interesting experiment in storytelling, this isn't your typical brand of puzzle solving adventure title (there was only really one puzzle in the whole game).

The focus here is on telling the story and taking the reader through it.

The story begins with the protagonist on the hangman's block waiting to be executed, with no idea how, or why, they are there. It then proceeds through a number of seemingly disjointed episodes before coming full-circle with a twist.

Personally I enjoyed the experience, but the major flaw lies in the lack of character development through the telling. Yes, we learn what the protagonist's stock in trade is, and why he's there and what he's doing, but there's no real development of his character or background which for me left the experience lacking a little.

I also found the disjointedness of the scenes to be both confusing and disorienting to begin with. It was only after the story had progressed to a significant degree that the pieces began to fit together (helped by some gratuitous hint dropping in the narrative).

Overall though, a recommended try.

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- Chris Longhurst (Oxford, UK), October 1, 2010

- Joel Webster (Madison, WI), July 26, 2010

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