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Silly and surreal, December 13, 2009
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.)