The Blind House

by Amanda Allen

2010

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Number of Reviews: 9
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Says it's about plot, atmosphere and exploration, but is more of a puzzlefest, April 14, 2013

I started with this one by following the author's initial advice upon booting the game: I read the About text. It claimed that the focus of the game is more on plot, atmosphere and exploration rather than on intense puzzle-solving.

And then we started off with a bunch of puzzles. Plot-driven puzzles, mind you, but I found myself refreshingly all geared up for story, and suddenly I was trying to figure out how to lock doors and cover mirrors and get rid of light through the window so that I could fulfill the very pressing need of getting to sleep. Plot and atmosphere rather than puzzles, eh? I felt kind of betrayed right out of the gate on this one, and perhaps because the game promises to be not puzzly, there are no hints and alternative solutions don't work the way they should.

The other initial impression I had, though, was a positive one: nice art, author-drawn, with good use of Glulx features. There's a nicely crafted, aesthetically pleasing map visible during play, which shows the layout of objects mentioned in room descriptions. It provides a better sense of place. There's also an image of the two characters in the game, and I'm curious if this image will change as the story progresses (sadly, it turns out that it does not, though that would have been a nice feature).

The game also says I'm supposed to be thinking about things a lot. I try that a bit. I try to think about the thing that's most pressing on my mind right now, according to the status bar, and can't figure out a way to think about that. I'm not sure what that refers to, the game tells me.

And then here we go again, with some more puzzles. Here's the thing, Author: I like puzzleless IF, so please don't build me up to believe I'm going to experience a game that's puzzleless, and then put scavenger hunts and look-behind-object puzzles in my way.

I sense that the game, though solid in writing and intriguing in plot, could really have benefited from more testers/testing, and that makes me a little sad, because there's a lot that's solid here and it feels so close to being really good. But it's frustrating me just enough to be annoying.

I can't decide if the game was ultimately intentionally surreal and disjointed due to perceived themes of mental illness or just... well... if it was just really screwed up writing.

Anyway, my husband wishes I'd had a microphone recording me while I played this, because this game drew from me a whole range of audible emotions: loud sighing, profanity, frustrating grrs, nervous laughter, a couple of fairly loud outbursts, and once (just for effect) I slammed a nearby stool into the carpeting. I had an audience, though. I was conscious of that.

This is probably a two star game, but it's almost a three, and I am the sort who likes to give the benefit of the doubt, so I'll give it a three. Sad, though, as this could have done so much better.