Toeing the Line

by Gregory Weir profile


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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Glimpse of a parallel universe's zombie ferret apocalypse..., April 8, 2010

Toeing the Line is a product of Speed IF Autocratic Fist, which tasked authors with producing a discourse on the theme of hubris using an improbable combination of "vestigial tail, environmental policy on ferret populations, phlogiston, a pink parasol, sudden undeath, or crappy madlibs."

The author, Gregory Weir, seems to have mostly ignored the overarching theme in favor of crafting an experience that combined as many of the random seed elements as possible. To my surprise, he does a creditable job of doing so in this strange and silly piece.

Though much of the gameplay is mechanical and not particularly rewarding, Weir does an excellent job of pacing the short play experience. The brief introduction provides all the characterization and backstory that is needed to make the restraints placed on the player's action reasonable, while leaving most of the specifics of the situation undefined. The new player has just enough turns to familiarize himself with his equipment and the surroundings before the main action begins. Weir shows a deft touch in his descriptions, painting broad strokes of mood and style with compact and clever writing.

While it was disappointing to find how little could be done in the main sequence, it captures the frenzied mindset that would no doubt prevail in that situation. The result is much the same regardless of how many points the player scores, and the entire experience seems far too short -- a mere glimpse of what I quickly found myself wishing was a larger experience.

The coding quality and attention to detail seem significantly above-average. This, coupled with the writing expertise and intuitive feel for pacing, makes me very interested in seeing what Mr. Weir can produce in a longer development timeline.