Founder's Mercy

by Thomas Insel

Science Fiction
2019

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Number of Reviews: 5
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1-5 of 5


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Alone at Lagrange 5, May 25, 2021
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: SF

Founder's Mercy is very unclear about its backstory, but there are some hints to be gleaned from a Holy Book left on an altar, some personal memories of the protagonist upon entering locations and examining the surroundings.
You're on a generation ship sent out to the Lagrange 5 parking spot trailing earth in its orbit. (For those interested: Lagrange points are fascinating. The next huge space telescope will also be parked on one of them.) Your ancestors hoped to bring a civilization to fruition on this ship according to their godly laws. It didn't turn out that way and now you're the last one left.

Food and water are getting scarce and the life support machinery is slowly breaking down. Plus, you're yearning for human contact.

Founder's Mercy takes place on a very small map. Too small perhaps to give an accurate impression of the game world. It's only when you have the opportunity to look at the entire ship from a vantage point that you get an impression of how enormous it is.

Since you're on a wheel-shaped spaceship, directions are not the default N,E,S,W, but rather SpinWard, AntiSpinWard, Starboard and Port. This doesn't lead to any confusion however. The map is small, almost straight and circular. You can find whichever location you need by going SpinWard the required number of turns.

Like the backstory, the surroundings are not given a lot of attention. It's clear that the game wants to focus your attention on the puzzles.

The obstacles are quite easy to overcome. There was one that took a little bit of thinking around the corner, but it's mostly find-object-use-object stuff.

A nice and short diversion.


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Underrated, October 15, 2020

This was one of my favorites from the 2019 Xyzzy Awards. It has a classic parser feel with strong, interesting puzzles and an unusual sci-fi world that you can gradually explore and expand your understanding of.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Minimalistic sci-fi, May 14, 2019
by Stian
Related reviews: Spring Thing 2019

This is a relatively short and easy game, though not really too easy.

Founderís Mercy is strikingly minimalistic; descriptions are kept to a minimum and the command set is very limited. While this fits the alone-on-a-space-station setting and the nondescript protagonist (is he/she/it even human?) very well, it does leave a lot of question marks with regards to the story. You do get a bit of the back history by (Spoiler - click to show)activating the hologram in the school, but I would have loved to hear more, to understand more. As it is, I was more motivated to solve the puzzles because they were puzzles than in order to advance the story.

The puzzles are all on the easy side, partly due to the limited inventory and command set, but generally not too obvious.

I guess I had hoped for some mind-blowing revelations or mind-boggling mysteries that never came, but still, I had an enjoyable two hours with Founderís Mercy.

Oh, and I really loved the feelies PDF!


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
A completely smooth but sparse space puzzler, April 11, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

This game is pretty interesting. It reminds me structurally of Infocom's first sci-fi game, Starcross. Both deal with cylindrical space stations with a variety of components and pieces that must be dealt with. Both are highly polished in terms of implementation and bugs.

Those interested in parser games primarily for puzzle-based reasons or for the 'parser feel' will certainly enjoy this game, and I found enjoyment in this area.

Writing-wise, it's very sparse. Every message is custom, but the custom messages are sterile and non-descriptive. This aids in the abandoned space-station feel of the game, but I felt emotionally detached from the game. Starcross had alluring alien ecosystems and evocative descriptions of strange technology. This game doesn't have to be starcross, but I wished for something exciting or unusual in space.

tl;dr Solid small puzzle game with top-tier implementation but standoffish story.


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Nice Sci-Fi Adventure, April 9, 2019
by Denk
Related reviews: Inform

In this sci-fi parser adventure you are the last person aboard an abandoned space station. Your objective is to get away from the space station. The game comes with 3 feelies: A map, an antenna calibration guide and a Getting Started manual for an utility scanner.

The map is very convenient and so there is no need to draw a map yourself. The space station is spinning and so the directions Spinward and Antispinward are introduced in addition to port, starboard, up, down, in and out.

The game is very well implemented. There was a single puzzle that required a bit of guessing the verb, but besides that everything worked well. The puzzles were all fair, mostly easy and a few ones harder. Some of the puzzles are a bit technical but none of them requires special knowledge.

Some people might find the minimalistic descriptions too short. I personally found them sufficient to create a good atmosphere and to describe what's going on. This is definitely a game more than a story and so, too much text would disturb the playing experience. However, I would have liked the ending to be more verbose and interesting.

To sum up, the game is atmospheric with some nice puzzles and solid implementation. The ending could have been more interesting but still it was great fun. Try it.



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