How it was then and how it is now

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Number of Reviews: 6
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
There's emotional reasoning hidden behind the spatial reasoning here. I think., December 10, 2021
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)
Related reviews: IFComp 2021

HIWT promised to be interesting for me, as it described "two smart people walking to the center of many disasters." I like writing stuff about people who need to be smart, or are seen as smart, etc. And the main characters are characterized very well. They've had arguments. They argue over what they should remember and what the other person should remember. Oh, and they've been called to stop a huge apocalypse where everyone is turning to collections of geometric shapes (fingers become cylinders, head becomes a sphere, etc.,) and you're trying to run towards, or away from, something called the Exit, which will help stop all this. Unless you make a wrong step and get geometric-ized yourself. The puzzles alternate between telling which 3-d solid a graphic is a cross-section of, or having three lines between greater-than and less-than prompts. I (Spoiler - click to show)cut and pasted them to text and still seemed to get myself into trouble. So these may be red herrings.

Some parts of the work seem to be deliberate clues: the number of sides determines where to go next. So it seems like some of the talk choices between the narrator and Ciara, whom he is seeing after a long layoff, matter. As does whether you get the intelligence test-y choices right. They seem like they shouldn't be hard, but I wound up failing. I know my 3-d solids and what cross-sections look like. I also seemed to avoid bad choices some of the time, but the text still clouded over randomly, and Clara asked if I was okay and was sure I would figure it out, before I didn't. The text being blotched out seems to indicate I'm doing something wrong, too, but I can't catch what I did wrong or how the puzzles affected how I should respond. A look at the source seems to indicate that you die anyway, trying to relate to memories with your old friend (lover?) after your jobs split you apart.

And the text is interesting--there's a good deal more beyond what I saw, where you and Clara squabble as you run towards the Exit. I never made it. Later pats of HIWT seem to indicate that you coordinate with other people a good distance away. I never got there, so I never fit the writing in with the narrative.

This is one where I'd appreciate a walkthrough, and I assume there is a hearty helping of misdirection, since what I thought were logical tries for the puzzles didn't help me progress. Once I see it, I'll say "Oh, geez, of course." Perhaps you have to be not too mean or not too nice to Clara. But if so, I didn't quite see how that was clued. Still, what I saw, I liked. There may be too much misdirection in the puzzles, but the narration as you run towards the apocalypse to help fix it is strong.