Marika the Offering

by revgiblet profile

2007

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Number of Reviews: 8
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Far from perfect, but enjoyable enough, December 23, 2007
by Kake (London, England)
Related reviews: revgiblet, ***, One-Room Game Competition 2007

The title kind of put me off this before I even started; it needs some punctuation, for one thing. The writing of the opening scene isn't great, either. Parts of it sound like bad goth poetry "The fireplace is as empty as my heart" and some of the descriptions are clumsy; why does the bed have "a blanket wrapped around it"?

The initial exposition ends strongly, though: "My remaining life can be measured in heartbeats. I must act!" This pulled me into the story and made me eager to get started.

And this game is worth playing. The story isn't particularly original, but the puzzles are reasonably fair and I did feel satisfaction when I finally managed to solve them all. It doesn't really have much replay value, but I quite enjoyed the two playthroughs that I needed to solve it. I would have preferred it if there had been some accommodation for alternative methods of solving the puzzles, even if it was just along the lines of letting me know why the object I was using was unsuitable (instead of just showing the default "you can't do that" response).

Having to type "story" to see the backstory was a bit odd. I'm still not sure if I liked that or not. The game is written from the first-person perspective, and the player character hasn't suffered any memory loss, so it seems odd that I-the-player have no idea what's going on at the start of the game and it's entirely possible to play through the game without ever checking the backstory.

There is a turn limit, but it has a sensible justification (albeit one hidden in the backstory).

I'm not too keen on the way the game infers quite a lot from my commands; for example, if I type in "look at <thing>", I don't expect the game to have the PC start rummaging about in it.

One problem (which may be related to the above criticism) is that there are at least two items in the game that show me an interesting and useful description the first time I look at them, but on subsequent examination give me only "I see nothing that will help me", which is clearly untrue. So it's worth keeping a transcript that you can refer back to.