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1-555-trouble

by Julien Zamor profile

Surreal
2020

(based on 2 ratings)
1 review

About the Story

A game made for #inkJam2020.

A short puzzle game about dealing with a monster.


Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: August 19, 2020
Current Version: 1
License: Freeware
Development System: Ink
Forgiveness Rating: Polite
IFID: Unknown
TUID: vexcgtk2dbz2zwyy

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Polished visuals, weak gameplay, September 6, 2022
by Kinetic Mouse Car
Related reviews: Ink

It is a casual day at home. You are lounging around and suddenly find yourself in the mood for a cold drink. But when you stand to leave, a vortex opens in the living room and deposits a small creature that starts wrecking everything in sight. You flee to the kitchen which is now your sanctuary. Using resources from your surroundings, you need to find a way to defend yourself.

Gameplay
While hiding in the kitchen you have access to the fridge, counter, and cupboards that have spices and other substances for cooking. Inventory items are listed on the screen. It would have been nice if you could examine things to learn more about them rather than automatically picking them up for the sack of hoarding them in your inventory.

The player can call the protagonist's mom or Alex, an acquaintance. Neither character picks up. The only option is the hotline. Its number is written on a label in the fridge. The player calls the number to ask for help on dealing with the creature. The operator however wants to engage you in random conversation before providing help. There is a phone puzzle where the player answers questions that increase the operatorís willingness to help.

These questions range from whether you any kids or if you play chess. The objective is to respond in a way that makes the operator pleased and entertained. For each response you get right the more helpful the operator begins. The game keeps track of this by adding notes such as "The playful operator is now a little helpful." The challenging part is that a question may have multiple right answers, but the answer that is correct at the moment is difficult to determine since there seems to be not structure to the questions. I think that the game is trying to be humorous with its dialog, but it needs polish. I like the concept of strategically using conversation through trial and error to persuade an NPC, but the phone puzzle is frustrating and lukewarm.

Once the player (Spoiler - click to show) satisfies the operatorís desire for conversation, they are asked to provide three details: the creatures colour, its physique, and its behavior. Using these details, the operator explains a basic recipe for banishing the creature. You can also just (Spoiler - click to show) guess by throwing ingredients into the bowl and flinging them at the creature. When I first played, I brewed and threw a scalding mix of random ingredients and it worked. Probably chance. Still, at least it gives you a chance to test out the kitchen.

Story
There is no explanation behind the creature and the portal, nor is there any discussion about the hotline except that it was found in the fridge. I feel like this left some loose ends. Here you have a normal house setting and suddenly a creature appears out of nowhere. I do not think that this game necessarily needs a broader story, but it could have integrated things a little more. The game is solely focused on the puzzle of finding a concoction that will eradicate the creature. This some potential story about Alex but they never answer when you call their number.

Visuals
1-555-trouble has some spectacular graphics for an Ink game. The backdrop is of different areas in a house, about six total. Not grainy or awkwardly scaled ones but showroom quality. The text space is set against a white semi-transparent background with orange boxes and links. The text is light grey, and the title of the room is shown in a black rectangle that reminds me of those slender sticky notes that you use to mark a page in a book. Everything looks crisp and modern. I encourage Ink authors (or anyone, really) to give this game a look if you are looking for some visual inspiration.

Final thoughts
It is a short, interesting diversion. The game has some interesting ideas, but its presentation is lacking. The phone puzzle could have been smoothed out, for example. Then again there are some polished features. There are no bugs as far as I can tell, and its strongest point is the graphics. It may not be the best of quality, but it is a completed piece.





This is version 3 of this page, edited by Julien Z / smwhr on 17 February 2022 at 12:11pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item