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About the Story
Unscientific Fiction is a very, very soft science fiction IF in which you are abducted by an alien spaceship and must find a way to get back home. During an epic and sometimes pretty nonsensical adventure you'll face an evil supercomputer, mushroom-filled illusions, lemon juice detectors, the consequences of bad food advice, giant labyrinths and the 'Luxembourgian Liberation Front'.
Number of Reviews: 3
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If this game would have to be reviewed with only one word, the word would be "silly". This is a game that takes nothing seriously, not even itself. Unscientific Fiction draws its inspiration from Douglas Adams, Portal, and Super Mario, among others.
Unscientific Fiction has its poor protagonist go through surreal virtual worlds and a spaceship controlled by an insane computer. The puzzles follow the cartoon logic of the world and the key to solving many of them is to remember that some real-world restraints aren't always a hinderance in this game.
It's unfortunate that there are some annoying bugs and bad spelling throughout, even though the typos aren't as distracting here as they would be in a work that has a more serious tone. Only when you're required to mistype your commands for them to be understood it really starts to get on your nerves. There are also annoying rituals you have to go over and over again when moving around (doors closing and locking themselves after you've gone through, but no implicit open and unlock actions).
If the game had a bit more polish and went through proofreading it would be even more enjoyable, but even as it is now it's good times. It does require a sense of humor that's attuned to this kind of silliness and an ability to suspend truckloads of disbelief.
We played this game at ClubFloyd as a group, which was a lot of fun. If you have the possibility to play with a friend or two you'll probably get a lot more out of the experience. The key is to try everything and with a group it's easier to come up with ideas.
(By the way, you can't design for not having guess-the-verb problems (this game has its fair share of them) and item based puzzles are not immune, quite the contrary. The only way to avoid it is playtesting.)
This game seemed very promising at first but then quickly revealed itself as rather mediocre and critically unpolished.
I don't mind a typo here and there, but constant spelling and grammatical errors really take you out of the experience that good IF strives to build. It also instantly makes me fear that I'm not in good hands when it comes to game design or world-building and...that does turn out to be the case here. I can sort of understand struggling with words like "disappear" and "respectful" but when you're leaving the second L off "well" it just becomes obvious that you didn't proofread or beta test at all. Frankly, with today's technology it's also pretty inexcusable not to run your prose through a spellchecker.
Beyond that, the humor is pretty witless and relies heavily on pop culture references that add nothing. I also learned from the SPAG review that apparently the walkthrough taunts the player for wanting to use the walkthrough and includes a command that causes the game itself to taunt you and then kill you for using the walkthrough. This arrogant idiocy is even more unforgivable than the lackluster gameplay and the miserable spelling. If the author was as clever as he apparently thinks he is, the puzzles wouldn't be so opaque in the first place.
First the best thing: the writing is brilliant, funny, and full of modern pop references (bordering on copyright infringement).
You get stuck in a sci-fi parody, with surreal elements. (hitchhiker's guide, anyone?)
The puzzles aren't bad, a bit on the classic side, and sometimes a little too hard, or illogical (even for the setting).
The parser is good but not great, and some details really detract from the experience (for example it's very irritating to unlock the doors every time you need to pass thru them).
In conclusion, a fun but conventional game; the humor and some puzzles make it worth playing.
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