Number of Reviews: 6
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A Beautiful Partnership, October 3, 2020
Finding that thereís a new game by Robb Sherwin is like opening up the first present on Christmas morning. Discovering that he didnít code it is like knowing youíre not going to find a sweater inside.
Sherwinís writing, as usual, is sardonic and full of referential humor aimed at children of the 80ís (despite being set in a future that frequently references the hellscape that is 2020), with not-so-subtle regular doses of liberal ideology from the PC. If thatís not your thing then thereís probably not a lot for you here. Thatís not to say the game is about any of those things, but its strength lies in the writing. I chortled at least a half-dozen times and I enjoyed exhausting all conceivable actions in every area just to keep reading (and then replaying with the list of amusing things to try).
The game is designed to keep you moving, with the puzzles being perfunctory and the conversation prompts inserted for pacing. The game wants you to get to know the characters, easily unravel the investigation, and find the jokes. Sousaís coding is excellent. The game understands tons of variations on things you are trying to do while also often correcting your own spelling mistakes like a Google search. And even if you find yourself stuck, there are gradual in-game hints. I had to reference them once (Spoiler - click to show)(for the snake puzzle) during the one time in the game where you must help the PC deduce the solution even if you, the player, already instinctively know the answer.
While Jay Schilling feels similar to most Sherwin characters, the highlight here is the parrot and dog that follow you around for half the game. I wonít spoil anything other than to say they are used for puzzles while also becoming the gamesí pathos.
Nineteen years ago Sousa and Sherwin paired up for No Time To Squeal early in their respective IF careers. While that game had its highlights, it was a bit of an awkward and confusing mess. Jay Schillingís Edge of Chaos is consistently delightful from beginning to end.