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Incomplete Game, November 3, 2008
“Riverside” is a traditional Inform text adventure. I am in favour of games that are written in the more standard text adventure formats: Inform, TADs, Glulx.
The plot development of this game is cumbersome. It starts with a bit of a teaser. If you don’t successfully find the correct response that the game is looking for in this teaser, you will lose the game before it even gets going. Like other games this turned into a situation of guessing what the implementer was thinking. This is a difficult line to walk.
There is an instance where a character leaves the room during a conversation. I try to follow the person. The game does not recognize the word, “follow.” I explicitly go the direction the character went. The game then says that I should try talking to the character. I talk to the character and the narrative says that I follow the character into the room I just tried entering. This is very clumsy.
The conversation interface is limited to “Talk to,” a character. There is no real dialogue. This is a step back from the menu driven conversation system. The prose is limp and lifeless, but it is functional.
I feel as if the game is on rails, very linear without much freedom to explore the environment. Even when there are times to explore the environment, the items examined are meaningless to the story line.
If the game is on rails, the train has just crashed. Even using the walk through there is no way to get past a critical step in the plot. The contest version of this game cannot be completed.
In summary, the communication methods are lacking, the plot is painfully linear, the prose is uninspired, and the game itself is unplayable.
Even if it were to be completed and put in a playable state, Riverside is not compelling enough to complete.