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About the Story
“Moog, a new run! Quit fiddling with your irons and charge the batteries!” A printout of the waybill flutters down next to the big magnet I’m lying under. Releasing the wrench, which immediately sticks to the round plate, I grab the printout. Yep. Haul from the Enclaves to the Citadel, one refrigerated container, usual “do nots”: DO NOT raise the temperature, DO NOT open the cargo hull, DO NOT fall into the hands of the Nomads.
31st place - 27th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2021)
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Number of Reviews: 5
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This is a pretty fancy-looking Twine game with options for play in Russian or English.
It features custom CSS styling with changing background colors and a cool mechanic where you can click on an item and then on any earlier highlighted link to use the item there, giving it more robust puzzles.
You play as one of two people in a vehicle speeding down a highway carrying precious cargo. It has kind of a Star Wars feel but on land instead of space. Some people start chasing you and you have to take control of the guns.
This is a fast-paced game and I felt nervous for my character a lot, thinking I'd mess up, but I got through okay. The storytelling and writing is good, and I enjoyed it.
+Polish: Very good looking game
+Descriptiveness: Vivid world building
+Interactivity: I liked the two-layer puzzles and the good hints the game gives you
+Emotional impact: I felt nervous for my characters
-Would I play again? This is a very good game, but it's a bit overwhelming at time, because there are just so many options.
This game does a great job of slamming you right in the middle of the action and pummeling you with a sense of urgency. I haven't read through a story this quickly in a long time. Everything in the text drives the story forward at an incredible speed, and I felt like I didn't have a moment to waste. Having an NPC robot partner constantly shouting directions and telling me to quit wasting time contributed to the stress level. Luckily, the interface is incredibly intuitive. I thought it was set up so that the player can quickly decide what needs to be done with minimal exploration. Even when I got to a moment where things seemed to have settled down, the tension remained right up until the end. I also appreciated that the author used the description box to show the moments before the game started. More episodes in this series would be highly anticipated.
(This is a lightly-edited version of a review posted to the IntFict forums during the 2021 IFComp. My son Henry was born right before the Comp, meaning I was fairly sleep-deprived and loopy while I played and reviewed many of the games, so in addition to a highlight and lowlight, the review includes an explanation of how new fatherhood has led me to betray the hard work the author put into their piece)
This short Twine game is basically just one extended chase sequence, but it’s a pacey, thrilling ride that keeps the excitement high without resorting to killing the player. The setup is classic postapocalyptic sci-fi – you and your trusty robot sidekick (actually, given his competence maybe you’re the sidekick?) are transporting a mystery cargo across the hostile wastes in your hovercraft when everything goes wrong. Dealing with ship repairs, fending off angry raiders, and surviving the consequences of your patrons’ decision to keep you in the dark keep the player busy, as there’s always a new crisis coming up.
What you’re meant to do next is usually clear, but figuring out the exact right places to look for the tools you need, or how best to shoot up the nomads, can require a bit of fumbling that ratchets up the tension. At first the interface was responsible for some of this clumsiness, since the inventory system is a little idiosyncratic, but once I figured out how it worked everything was very smooth. The story here goes exactly how you would expect, and all the characters remain stock types, but the high quality of the implementation still makes the game an entertaining way to spend half an hour.
Highlight: The descriptions of the wasteland were surprisingly evocative, given that it could have easily just been a sketched-in backdrop for the action.
Lowlight: The ending is the one place where the pacing fails; after the clear climax of the story, there’s an extended but simple sequence where you secure transportation for your escape, and then the game ends anticlimactically, without much of a denouement. It would have been more satisfying had the ending been either hard up against the action-packed climax, or pushed back to allow more room for the aftermath of the story to be established.
How I failed the author: I was once again playing this left-handed on my phone, so I didn’t copy-and-paste any of the wasteland descriptions to illustrate the highlight – you’ll just need to take my word for it.
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