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A fastidious timed puzzle about assembling electrical components, August 1, 2021
This game has you stuck at the side of the road with a dead battery in the middle of some deadly acid rain. You'll end up searching a mansion with a timed light puzzle and inventory limits to assemble a door opener.
The game is polished, but descriptions are fairly sparse.
The timed light puzzle, many empty rooms and inventory limits, as well as frequent responses where the game knows what you are asking but wants you to do it in more steps (like turning on the car) reminded me of different advice I've seen over the last few decades.
I'll share some of that here:
From a list of rules for games in IFComp by Jessica Knoch, with additional commentary by Andrew Plotkin from 2003:
"> Rule Three: Do not impose an inventory limit for its own sake.
> Rule Four: Do not include hunger or sleep puzzles.
> Rule Five: Check your spelling. Check it again.
All just as true outside the IFComp.
> Rule Nine: Do not include lots of empty locations.
Important for everybody."
Jan Thorsby's list of 'things that cause automatic playing' from 2005:
"List of things that causes automatic playing
By automatic playing I mean when a player types in commands more or less
automatically without thinking much. None of the things listed is necessary
always bad, and there are probably instances when they don't really lead to
2. Many rooms
Traveling between rooms doesn't take much thinking, and the more rooms the
7. Time limits/eating puzzle
If a game has a time limit and the player is unable to keep it, the player
is likely to play the game again and just type in all the commands over
again minus the useless ones. A time limit that last through a large part of
the game is more likely to be annoying than a time limit for just for one
scene of the game. An eating puzzle is when the player dies if he does not
eat after a certain amount of turns. It is in effect a time limit.
11. Limited carrying capacity
Some games have a limit on how mange objects a player can carry. This often
leads to the player going back and forth a lot to pick up things he had
previously left behind. In many games it also leads to the game potentially
being made unwinnable, because the player may not have a vital object when
12. Having to type more commands than should be required to show ones
For instance say there is a closed door to the north. If the player types
"north" it is fairly clear that he intends to open the door and go north.
But the game may not let him go north until he has first typed "open door".
Machinery is often needlessly complicated to operate.
14. Very easy puzzles
A very easy puzzle can be things like: unlock a locked door, buy something
in a store or give an object to a person who has asked for such an object.
These easy puzzles can be important to a story but are arguably useless from
a gaming point of view. If they are not important to the story one might
consider eliminating them.
An intfiction thread including this quote from Michael Roberts from 2010:
"A word of caution on these is in order. Many authors worry that it’s unrealistic if the player character can carry too much at one time, so they’ll fiddle with these properties to impose a carrying limit that seems realistic. Be advised that authors love this sort of “realism” a whole lot more than players do. […] Don’t fool yourself about this -the thoughts in the mind of a player who’s tediously carting objects back and forth three at a time will not include admiration of your prowess at simulational realism. In contrast, if you set the carrying limit to infinity, it’s a rare player who will even notice, and a much rarer player who’ll complain about it."