Little Blue Men

by Michael S. Gentry profile

Satire/Horror/Science Fiction
1998

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Number of Reviews: 13
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
The whole is less than the sum of the parts, May 26, 2008

Mike Gentry is a terrific writer, and specifically a terrific writer for IF: his descriptions are evocative without being longwinded, and his viewpoint character gets plenty of attitude. He is also good at getting the player go to along with actions that seem more and more likely to lead to bad places, just because the curiosity to find out what is going on is so strong.

Little Blue Men shows off all these things to advantage. Unfortunately, it also has a couple of things going against it. One is the puzzle design: this game is genuinely cruel on the zarfian scale, and I had to restart three or four times in order to make sure I had everything I turned out to need in the end game. A few actions aren't clued as well as they could be, either. There are some hints, but they don't go all the way to providing specific instructions if you get stuck, and they're not enough to save you from losing objects you're going to turn out to need. In some games this might not matter so much, but I found the disruptions and replaying annoying precisely because I was so interested to find out what was going to happen next. But then, I tend to think that making the player replay from scratch (except in games specifically designed to be understood this way, such as Varicella or Rematch) is a great way to screw up the pacing of an otherwise gripping piece of IF.

My other complaint is a little more subjective: there's lots of creepiness going on here, and sometimes I start to think that I understand the intended reality, only to have that understanding ripple and become mysterious again. I do not absolutely demand that my stories tie everything up with a nice neat bow, but LBM leaves things a bit more confused than I would have liked.

For all that, though, it's definitely worth playing, especially for horror fans.