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by David Welbourn
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Clusterflux

by Marshal Tenner Winter profile

Weird Mystery
2019

(based on 9 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

You have a new pet but it happens to be a talking mongoose. You have a new friend but she seems to have come from another place and time. And you have fun housemates but some of them have dropped off the face of the earth. Things have been kind of weird around here lately.


Game Details


Awards

27th Place - 25th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2019)

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Member Reviews

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Number of Reviews: 2
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
A typical MTW game with cool settings, October 24, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

MTW tends to make games that have similar strengths and similar weaknesses.

Pros:
-Large casts of interesting characters that talk to you and follow you around
-Big maps and inventories
-Compelling plot points and settings

Cons:
-Only one path is implemented
-Difficult to predict correct paths
-Typos and bugs

This game is no exception. A mysterious mongoose/cat and a mysterious woman come into your life, and you investigate a weird house with links to the past.

I used the walkthrough because, from experience, it's difficult to play a MTW game without one.

Edit: For some more specific feedback on this game:

(Spoiler - click to show)Consider the following exchange when meeting the first human NPC:
>talk to woman
That's not a verb I recognise.

>ask woman about woman
sleeping young woman doesn't have anything useful to say about that.

This is a game filled with NPCs. It takes only 5 minutes to put in a response to TALK TO WOMAN that suggests using ASK/TELL instead. The capitalization and/or article usage for "sleeping young woman" is harder but is doable.

The default responses for many simple verbs like JUMP, PUSH, and EAT have all been left in.

Error messages make up the bulk of text you see when playing a parser game, and they need a lot of work here.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Deeply satisfactory weird mystery, October 9, 2019
by Stian
Related reviews: IFComp 2019

Clusterflux is truly an ambitious project, and a much larger game than initial appearances would suggest. Itís actually impressively huge, especially considering itís a one-author game. Described as a ďweird mysteryĒ, itís also right up my alley, and I enjoyed it immensely. It did, however, take me six hours to get through it and had to consult the walkthrough twice. I think it would be hard for most to finish in under two hours, though the first two hours were just as enjoyable as the rest. Well, perhaps apart from the half-hour I spent banging my head against a specific puzzle.

In general terms, I would like to describe Clusterflux as a modern self-conscious style puzzle IF, where an everyday protagonist enters absurdity as if it were the most natural thing in the world Ė not too dissimilar to Bill Lindsayís excellent Bullhockey games.

While the plot is more than sold enough, and its absurdity intriguing, the puzzles are what makes this a great game. They are always clever, but generally not too clever, and solving them provides proper satisfaction. I was planning to stop after two hours, but this is the kind of game I canít put down until I have finished it.

With a game as big and ambitious as Clusterflux, there will likely be several small bugs persevering even rigorous beta-testing and I did meet a few of these. Still, it is impressive how polished it is, with thorough descriptions for almost everything. The large gallery of autonomous NPCs made certain scenes a bit confusing, but useful conversations are limited by a topic list which made it manageable.

A tremendous amount of work has gone into this game and Iím immensely grateful for it.

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Clusterflux on IFDB

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My new walkthroughs for January 2020 by David Welbourn
On Thursday January 30, 2020, I published new walkthroughs for the games and stories listed below! Some of these were paid for by my wonderful patrons at Patreon. Please consider supporting me to make even more new walkthroughs for works...

Polls

The following polls include votes for Clusterflux:

Games Centered Around Devices/Machines by Amanda Walker
I'm looking for games that heavily feature learning how to use a device or machine. For instance, the machine in Emily Short's Savoir-Faire, Art DiBianca's devices in the Grandma Bethlinda games, or the box in Paul Michael Winters's The...

Big, impossible houses by OverThinking
Think "House of Leaves" or Aaron Reed's "Subcutanean." "Delightful Wallpaper" doesn't count as, though its map is large and complex, it does make geometric sense.




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