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About the Story
You feel the sun for the first time as you burst forth into a strange new world. Years pass unevenly as if they were distorted seconds and you perceive many different scenes simultaneously. Plot and survival replace puzzles in this experimental miniature interactive fiction that focuses on identity and the long term effects of seemingly insignificant acts.
Language: English (en)
Current Version: 1.0
Development System: Inform 6
Forgiveness Rating: Tough
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Number of Reviews: 2
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This story has a very unique perspective from other stories. I'll try not to give too much away, but like the author's blurb says - it's a game of survival. You only have several turns to act and find the next item to survive, and there isn't much time to stop and smell the roses, or even take inventory. Sometimes that's for the best, since most of the scenery is not implemented at all, including things that are mentioned as being part of the player character; and without taking inventory you wouldn't know what the secret verb is that allows you to survive.
I've started playing at least thirty times, and I can't seem to get more than 30 out of 70 points before dying, though at one point I managed to get -5 out of 70 points. Doing things correctly resulted in earning points, but it took several dozen deaths to figure out how to earn points, since by the time you get to a place where you can earn points, you don't have any time left to play a full round of guess-the-verb in order to gain said points.
I appreciate the limited time for the game, since it is realistic based on the nature of the player character. The realization of what the player character actually is was interesting, and it helped to understand the game more.
However, it would be nice to have some hinting of how to get to a good ending. Of course, the forgiveness rating is Tough for a reason - this game is hard.
Overall it was a fun diversion until the extremely limited time frame, under-implemented game world, and frequent deaths made it too frustrating to play any longer.
Growing Up, in its understated pathos, is a game that could have been great. It still could be, if the author wanted to go back and do a few rounds of polishing. What sinks it is the usual IF maladies: lack of grammar and lack of implementation. The lack of object/scenery implementation isn't so bad due to the way that time advances in the game, but just a little bit more would have made all the difference.
The descriptions here are just enough to whet your appetite, and they are delivered from an unusual perspective; the tone is wryly humorous spiced with a bit of timeless sorrow. Thankfully, no profanities, porn, or gore screw it up.
Growing Up has been tagged with multiple endings, but I can't get the full 70 points (50 is my record), and that's after dying at least 20 times. Perhaps they are there; perhaps not.
The only thing that leaves me unsettled about the game -- and perhaps we're supposed to feel this way -- is the things that you can't do. Without giving away too much, times where you want to help one of the other characters abound, and yet, we're unable to help. Some of this is the fault of the underimplemented parser, and that's the part of the game that really needs work. You will be guessing the verb a bit, even if it's in vain.
Anyhow, I'd love to give this game four (or maybe five) stars because it held so much promise, but the parser keeps it out of that territory. It's worth playing at least five times, though, despite its shortcomings.