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|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 3
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Consisting of one puzzle-type in several iterations, "Spectrum" is a logical enough game in which each piece of the puzzle reveals more of the dramatic backstory, set in a conceptual mindscape out of time.
It isn't challenging, but I appreciate having to empathize (whether approving or not) with the game's internal viewpoint. The puzzle is a basic test of emotional association and identification, and is interesting for examining one's own responses and comparing them with those expected by the game. It was logical, coherent, thought-provoking, and bug-free, which is everything one can hope from Speed-IF. Five minutes well spent.
(As an afterthought, I understand why an atheist might see a pro-religious bent to it, and equally as well why a religious player may find the game somewhat offensive: (Spoiler - click to show)
The player character is rewarded by a deity (embodied in-game by the savior statue, which while by no means restricted to Christianity, is most closely associated with it for the likely readership) for killing someone identified by the narrator as "a good man," and this after having to associate the concept of blind submission with the aforementioned savior. To a Christian, this idea is cognitively dissonant and morally repugnant, but to someone from without, it may appear to be an affirmation of what they believe to be unfortunate truths about organized religion.)
This is a short game that you can probably finish in about 15-20 min if you see what's going on.
I compare it to sudoku because it has the same property that if you think about what moves you make A) it's fun, B) you arrive at a solution much sooner. but you can also win the game without thinking at all by trying different combinations. If you were an unthinking computer you might try an exhaustive backtracking algorithm which always finds the solution but isn't much fun.
Being a human, and understanding emotions and the connections between them and the elements in the game, you can make more logical choices.
I personally feel the game has a subtle pro-Christian message, though being an atheist myself that neither increased or decreased my opinion of the game, but in the end (Spoiler - click to show)it's all about forgiveness. This, whether Christian or not, is a good moral to any story.
Sometimes the past obscures the purpose of things; I can imagine sifting through an archeological dig and finding common artifacts which although they are mysterious, no-one knows what they are for, and so they are thrown aside. Spectrum is one of those common ancient artifacts. It's curious, but you have no idea what it's for, and that leaves you with apathy.
To say much about this game is to reveal its central conceit, which is that of an emotional color wheel. You can pick up metaphysical objects and move them around, although where you're supposed to place them is a matter of "guess where you drop things". I know it's only SpeedIF, but this format has seen some pretty good games -- think of You are a Chef!, for instance. Spectrum provides a great premise and goes nowhere with it. The lack of implementation is sorely missed, here. I wish more authors would understand this: if you're creating a different-than-usual world, it needs to be immersive or the player won't get it. The normality of standard responses will suck away attention and he won't be able to reason as though he was bound and circumscribed by your world.
Anyhow, for additional discomfort, the game features profanity and a subtle anti-Christian dig. If you feel like playing "drop objects in random places" or "guess the verb" you might find more of the same -- that was no inducement for me to continue. Caught between boredom and offensive material, I wandered off to find something else to do.
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