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by Pinkunz profile

Science Fiction

(based on 7 ratings)
4 reviews

About the Story

They always go on about the stars, stunning vistas spanning the heavens. But now youíre here, and you see nothing but the sun in a black void. You donít know how to turn away, let alone get home, and all you have is a fidget spinner.

Youíre going to die in space and you wonít even see the starsÖ

Game Details


Entrant, Back Garden - Spring Thing 2022


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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Alternate-history space teaser, June 15, 2022
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: Spring Thing 2022

(So the annoying title is actually clever, because the added spaces indicate the letters are drifting apart from each other Ė get it, drifting? Ė but Iím not typing it that way).

The opening of Adrift is eerily reminiscent of that of the main festivalís Orbital Decay Ė sure, ďastronaut must fight for survival after an EVA gone wrongĒ isnít the worldís most recondite premise, but itís been almost ten years since the movie Gravity (sidenote Ė itís been almost ten years since the movie Gravity???) and I donít remember playing any other bits of IF with this exact setup, so Iím very curious about whatís in the water that led to this coincidence.

At any rate, itís a grabby way to open a game and itís effective here too. Unlike Orbital Decay, Adrift is a parser game, so proceedings are unsurprisingly more puzzle-oriented. Itís also unfinished, consisting of just the first two challenges and ending after you manage to get back to your shuttle. This isnít a completely polished slice of the game released separately as a teaser, mind Ė there are lots of indications that the game still needs some love and care, from a fair number of typos to the noticeable fall-off in scenery objects as the excerpt reaches its end. The puzzles also suffer from a bit of guess-the-verb-itis, with the second in particular requiring the player to type a vaguer approach to the solution because the more specific commands arenít recognized (Spoiler - click to show)(Iíd realized that I needed to swing the crate on my spacesuitís tether, but all my attempts to TIE or ATTACH it failed; turns out you just need to SWING CRATE).

This is all fair enough for the Back Garden, though, and I was still able to enjoy the teaser for what it is, and would look forward to playing the completed game. For one thing, thereís more worldbuilding and personality on display here than the lost-in-space setup strictly requires, with integrated flashbacks lightly sketching an alternate history where the Soviet Union stuck around and showing our cosmonaut hero pining for his Lyudmilla, which mixes up the more-typical all-American space fantasy (albeit the war in Ukraine makes this less fun than it could be, sadly). Thereís also some cool pixel-art headers that shift as you play, helping to set the mood, and I liked the physics-based nature of the puzzles, which made them satisfying to solve. As a result, itís not too hard to squint and see what the more robust finished product would look like after completing the design and some rigorous testing, so I hope this review sends a strong signal to the author to get working!

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Zero-G Escape Room, October 14, 2023

I don't have much experience with parser games, but this one felt right to me in many ways. It's not a complete game, but it does a lot of things well.

The game starts out with you playing the role of a cosmonaut, adrift in space. Oxygen is running low and the situation is pretty dire. Somehow, someway, you must figure out how to save yourself.

What I liked about the game is that by having practically no environment to really explore, you are forced to envision yourself being in that scenario in order to progress. What can you possibly observe or do while floating in space, trapped in your space suit? By getting in that headspace, the answers start to become clear.

The only things holding this game back from a higher rating are the few unfinished parts (I wanted more things to do) and a lack of adequate synonyms for commands. There was one puzzle that had me stumped for a bit (and trying other, less obvious actions all the while) because I didn't type the command as the author had envisioned. I eventually figured it out though and survived the crisis.

At the end of the day, I really enjoyed this game. I felt like I was the one who was trapped in a space suit, with limited oxygen, floating in the void of space. Some games make me feel as if I'm controlling someone else, but I felt really engaged while playing this one.

I also like games that do more with less. I hope to play more games from this author.

Pro Tip: I made the game go fullscreen, but there were still white bars on either side. So I opened the browser's inspector and edited the CSS to make the background black outside the game areaÖ and only then did I feel like I was floating in space. I totally IMAXed this game. ;-)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
An unfinished space parser game with graphics, May 1, 2022
by MathBrush
Related reviews: less than 15 minutes

This is a short parser game set in space. It has neat little pixelart graphics at the top.

Like another reviewer, I had a bit of trouble realizing I had to hit enter to start the game (might be worth adding a 'hit enter to continue' text on the title screen).

The game has you floating in space. There's not much to do besides cry, it seems at first, but fortunately the game has implemented a lot of little actions to add character. But then the real puzzles start (for me, I started by (Spoiler - click to show)examining my suit, if anyone's stuck).

Besides being longer, the best thing the game could do is get more transcripts from players and responding to even more actions than are in the game (for instance, I think TURN ME should give a different response).

It also might be worth splitting up some of the complex actions into more parts; I typed in one command and the game had a big, complex scenario where I tried things over and over again until I figured it out. It might have been more fun to do that myself instead of having it described to me.

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The following polls include votes for A D R I F T:

Microparsers by Tabitha / alyshkalia
The discussion in this thread, from which I've borrowed the term "microparser" (thanks Pinkunz!), led me to want to collect small parser games. I'm thinking of ones that fit what's described in the thread--generally taking less than 30...

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