Sunset Over Savannah

by Ivan Cockrum

Fantasy
1997

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Number of Reviews: 9
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Immensely Overrated, May 6, 2022

This game has some of the most annoying puzzles I've seen. Ones where the logic required to solve them just barely holds up. At every step, you're required to make some massive leaps of intuition, performing ridiculous actions that have little cluing. Even when I had the general idea, the actual steps involved were bizarre. (Spoiler - click to show)Getting the crab, for instance. Tie a strap from some goggles to a shingle (huh?), then tie that strap to a shrimp (huh???), then put the whole assembly into the crab's home, and it'll float to the surface carrying the crab (WHAT). How the hell is a goggle strap big enough to tie around a shingle - a shingle big enough that we also use it to dig six feet into the ground? How does the shrimp not slide out? This is so convoluted and stupid. Or how about those benches? I typed "push benches south", which worked just fine, but then I'm expected to key in "put benches against wall". Why not be consistent, and just let me type "push benches southwest"? Obviously, I can't get specific without spoilers, but know that if you want to solve this without hints, you'll need to be prepared to try a lot of things that don't really make sense, and learn not to be surprised when they end up being correct. Also, there's several times where you have to perform the same action multiple times, in one case with no clue that you need to do so. (Spoiler - click to show)(Searching the trash barrel.)

It gets off to a bad start by taking place in a boring location - a mostly empty beach. Your character gripes about their job - you see, they've got a lot of money in the bank, and this vacation in paradise has them thinking that they could stand to do a lot less working. And there is your plot. Seeing enough exciting sights to convince an independently wealthy person to quit their job and live off their savings. This isn't especially relatable. Sure, most of us would love to explore the world instead of toiling away in drudgery, but having the money to do so just sitting around: that's less common.

I think the main obstacle sitting in my way was the fact that most of the puzzle solutions involve magic, which I wasn't expecting. It's out of place. The other story elements are so grounded that it just seems silly. The overblown writing when your character is being "emotionally moved" just felt forced, and hearing them go, "Hmm, maybe I SHOULD quit my job???" after each one was insufferable. People don't act like this.

The whole game is just obnoxiously twee in tone, and seems to think that having emotional fulfillment rather than treasure as a goal is "deep". It's not. They've just replaced Zork's treasures with adjective-heavy descriptions of nature. Your character has no depth; they just go from wanting to quit to quitting. And again, the puzzles suck.

Two stars for being well-programmed, but otherwise I think this game is overrated fluff that is mostly unsolvable without the hints or a walkthrough.

The worst puzzle in the game:
(Spoiler - click to show)Jumping into the ocean with a brick. Idiotic. There's not the slightest clue that you need to do this. Maybe if your character said he wanted to kill himself - why else would you thrust yourself to the bottom of the fucking ocean? But no, it's so he can appreciate the beauty of the coral reef. Well, of course.