The Empty Room

by Matthew Alger profile

One room, Science Fiction

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
Interesting idea, August 13, 2010

The central conceit for this game is an interesting one -- you're in a classic locked room puzzle, with the twist that at least at first, the room is featureless. Various actions result in features appearing that you can interact with to escape.

My enjoyment of the game was very mixed. The puzzles are not particularly difficult, which I appreciated, but examining every object to see whether it had magically changed this time got old really quickly. (Spoiler - click to show)It gave me a nice sense of accomplishment to see a screen appear when I pressed a hidden panel. It was less enjoyable when different components appeared on the screen depending on how many times I looked at it or what else I had found in the room. It left me with the feeling that either the player character was exceedingly unobservant (which could have been humorous if it had been made explicit, but it wasn't), or the room was frustratingly unstable. The instability wasn't severe enough to be really disconcerting or interesting, at least for me, so it just felt tedious. Being spoon-fed puzzles in little bits at a time made the game feel extremely linear. Despite exploration seeming the central puzzle, you have to explore in a pre-ordained order, not discovering anything new unless you have done exactly what the writer wanted beforehand.

The game felt a bit rough and unfinished...for example, if something you do causes a feature to appear on, say, the ceiling, you cannot look at the ceiling to find it. You have to remember what that feature was called and examine it by name, rather than just looking at the ceiling.

The in-game help file is odd and unhelpful. I would have minded the condescending humor less if it had actually given me more useful hints on how to solve the puzzles.

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AmberShards, August 13, 2010 - Reply
Yeah, I really disliked the help system, too. I beta-tested the game and told the author about it, to no avail.
SP, August 13, 2010 - Reply
Wait, I never got anything about that - did the email go through?
AmberShards, August 17, 2010 - Reply
I didn't dwell on it. I think my comment was along the lines of that there was a lot of material that the help didn't cover and I was right in the middle of one of those areas. I didn't particularly care for the humor, but I let it slide.
tggdan3, November 22, 2010 - Reply
Funny you mention, because I liked the help file. Yeah it was irrelevant and didn't really "help", but I though it had a nice dry humor to it.
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