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36th Place - 12th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2006)
[...] most of the game takes place on a network of catwalks. But I didn't know whether these were suspended in midair in a big warehouse, running through narrow underground tunnels, or balanced on a table in a giant's laboratory. (This last one was my original guess, but eventually I found out that I was wrong.) The lack of context made the game feel extremely artificial and... well, bland.
And that's a pity, because the setting could have been made very interesting. In fact, I personally thought that the game's setup was its strongest point. It's an interesting idea that I liked, and could have made for a good game. Unfortunately, the author didn't go anywhere with it, and I didn't even get to find out about it until the game was over.
-- DJ Hastings
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Room descriptions are painfully brief – YOU ARE ON A GRASS HILL UNDER A TREE – was the first one in the game. The second wasn’t much better – YOU ARE IN THE LOWER BRANCHES OF THE TREE. LOOKING OUT YOU SEE A SORT OF HAZY REFLECTION. Exits aren’t mentioned in the room description, but instead displayed in the panel on the right hand side of the screen, so if you're one of those few people who occasionally play Quest games and turn the panels off because you don’t like them, you won’t have a clue where you can go.
It’s a difficult game to make any kind of progress with, although my initial lack of enthusiasm, which took a hit by reading the poorly written intro and never really recovered, didn’t help. As a game, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You wake up under a tree having fallen asleep and find you can’t actually go anywhere because every time you try you keep bumping into invisible objects. What…? So you climb the tree – only CLIMB TREE doesn’t work (another of the many, many basic commands Quest doesn’t understand) – and find yourself in the location with the hazy reflection. What to do then is anyone’s guess. There are hints but none of them helped much as they all referred to different parts and there was no walkthrough available that I could find. I couldn’t get to more than a total of three locations, I didn’t have any items, I couldn’t find much to do that didn’t result in Quest hitting me with its ever-present I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOUR COMMAND. TYPE HELP FOR A LIST OF VALID COMMANDS* and, in the end, quitting seemed like an acceptable thing to do.
* Which it does with a frequency that makes you wonder just how many commands Quest *does* understand.
On the positive side of things, there were very, very few typos which is worth mentioning because it makes this game almost unique among Quest games. But as that’s the only positive thing I could find to say about it, it’s still not a good game.
This is an odd little game with some major implementation problems.
You start out in a room with a tree and a mysterious force. Exiting this room proved too difficult for many IFComp reviewers in 2006. Evidently, it requires an action that is explicity denied by the GUI. This seems to be an oversight, and not a puzzle.
The rest of the game involves exploring a series of generic rooms. There is a minimal walkthrough, but it seems to leave out several interesting portions of the game. I was intrigued, but unable to discover more than a few hidden set pieces.