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About the Story
Night Sky IS a game about working a day at a remote arctic research base.
17th Place - ParserComp 2022
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Number of Reviews: 2
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This game was originally written in Godot and ported to Unity.
You play as a researcher in an Antarctic base. You need to get up, shower, eat, and check out some samples.
Unlike most parser games, there's not much freedom in what you can type. It lists the commands you can use (usually 2-4), and when you type one in, it lists the possible objects/directions. It's highly constrained, so there are usually < 5 possible options at any point.
This kind of takes away the best part of a parser game (freedom) and the best part of a choice game (speed), leaving a bit of frustration.
This game has several typos and is unfinished. I think the core idea is great and fun (I like Antarctic base games) but it just needs more work and more time.
Itís hard to write a true review of ConText NightSky, because the gameís blurb reveals that whatís been submitted falls well short of the authorís expectations. Taking the ambitious course of developing a new parser system, itís clear that there wasnít enough time to wrinkle out the bugs, much less create a full game to take advantage of the system. While the setup of mysterious goings-on at an Arctic research base is intriguing, the game stops just as it seems ready to get going Ė you have a three-item to-do list, but after showering and eating a meal, I wasnít able to discover how to start the protagonistís data-analysis work, which was the third item.
Iím pretty sure this is due to the game being incomplete rather than a failure to guess the verb because the system prompts you with all possible actions, and nouns those actions can apply to, each turn, with the possibilities shifting as you type. This is a nice convenience that removes guess-the-verb issues, though I was still often puzzled by why some objects had to be looked at and others examined, for example. Whatís worse, I found that performance was awful Ė while I chuckled when I first noticed the game had an always-on FPS counter, I soon found that the game would grind to a near-halt in certain locations, making it a real burden to play.
With these technical limitations, a truncated story, and nonstop typos, itís clear that the version of ConText NightSky currently on offer isnít really worth playing; I get that the author probably felt pressure to submit something by the Comp deadline even if it didnít fit the initial vision, but in this as in almost every case, the best course would have been to delay releasing the game until it was something the author could be proud of. There are high-profile competitions and festivals every couple of months these days, so waiting a bit costs basically nothing, whereas the chance to make an amazing first impression is a terrible thing to lose.
(Iíll also take this opportunity to plug @mathbrushís great Twitter thread on custom parsers from a couple weeks back Ė definitely essential reading material for anyone considering writing one with an eye towards entering an IF competition).