Hinterlands: Marooned!

by Cody Gaisser profile

Part of Hinterlands
Science Fiction

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Number of Reviews: 5
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Interact with the Q'udzlth and die... and die... and die..., April 22, 2022
by DB (Columbus, OH)
Related reviews: Spring Thing 2022

Bare. Only interesting bit is one monster description, and that's bluntly standard Lovecraft pastiche. Hints suggest that this Spring Thing entry is either meant to be an allegory, a joke, or both. In my consideration, it fails in building enough surrounding context/content/implementation for either interpretation to really work. From my first playthrough, I regarded this as a troll entry.

I came back after another review suggested there might be more possible than I had originally witnessed (Spoiler - click to show)in terms of interaction with the monster. Noticing this game came with a link to Zarf's IF postcard, I opened that up and ran down the list of verbs offered since the game has no other vocab list included. Almost all led to either A) another variation on a one-note theme of (Spoiler - click to show)being dismembered/digested or B) unimplemented or nonsensical responses. The only two implemented parts of the environment as far as I could tell in that playthrough were ocean/water and island/sand, but neither has any meaningful interaction. (Spoiler - click to show)Figuring maybe the point was that everything had some implementation, I was disappointed to find that trying to fill the monster with sand wasn't understood and >JUMP IN OCEAN, though implemented, produces "You take a moment to frolic in the waves. WHEE!" ... what? huh? Why?

At least "Q'udzlth" uses "monster" and some other words as synonyms because otherwise its name is a pain to type with no abbreviation and no pay off but repeated death.

Based on some of the author's previous work, I'm inclined to think this was more of an I7 coding exercise than a full-fledged work. A lot of "oh, you just die" coding exercises were made for TWIFComp back in 2010 and none were especially well-received (mine included), but they weren't necessarily meant to. TWIFComp was more about the challenge of releasing anything given the constraints. Perhaps this author has likewise built this as a personal challenge rather than for a crowd? Or maybe it really was just taking the piss, so to speak.

If the author wanted me to stick around for more, they might have implemented some more encouraging or interesting responses up front. As it is, there's not any "more" to stick around for.

Hinterlands: Marooned! only really became a joke proper the way the hints suggest it's intended once reviewers started playing along with it by flattering the game. Even then though, it's the reviews that were funny and managed to make me laugh, not the game itself. As allegory some have suggested comparing the player's role here to Sisyphus, but I think this is closer to Tantalus: expected to drown with no escape, redemption, or satisfaction.

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