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About the Story
You are a robot. You've never given much thought to religion, but in the face of death, you find yourself praying.
Entrant - Text Adventure Literacy Jam - 2022
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Number of Reviews: 2
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This is an interesting game. It seems to mix 8-bit sci-fi with spiritual overtones and possibly a trans metaphor.
You are a robot about to be decommissioned. You were created female but pose as male. You have to escape a large building.
It feels a bit like a Scott Adams adventure, and its minimalism itself is not a detriment. However, some of the puzzles were kind of obscure to me, even with the hints (which require praying to access, actually a neat trick). So a lot of the time I felt like I was fumbling around.
The graphics added to the game, and when I struggled with verbs a little examination or exploration quickly resolved it, which was nice. I think Adventuron was a good choice of engine here, since the graphics added more than in-depth implementation would have to this minimalistic game.
Espiritu Roboto establishes a lane early, and it's a strong one: you're a robot who is about to undergo repair or, more likely, a memory wipe. In your dialog with another machine, there are a bunch of errors reminiscent of an unhelpful parser in the starting cut-scene, and bam, you're dropped beneath a house where you and other robots work. Early on, you try to get back to work, but something is clearly wrong in a hurry. You don't want to go through reprogramming/repair/death, so you set your sights on escaping.
There are, of course, obstacles to get by. Some are physical and inanimate, some are robots, and some are human. There are even cats that obstruct you for a while. You have a dark area you need to find a light source for. You'll probably see where the escape is, but you don't have the skills to get out. For that, you need to find another entity.
An entity beyond the robot spirit (implied by the game's title) you pray to--this is a neat bit of verb choice, with THINK reminding you of what you did and PRAY asking new questions. While the question list gets filled up near the end--some clues are removed, and others aren't--it's still handy and efficient, and it's not the only custom verb that works well. They're all clued, and the parser has covered a lot of good guesses.
Surprisingly for a game about robots, the puzzles aren't really where it's at. That may say more about the narrative, or how the puzzles were combined into a very solid story for such a small game. For instance, in a library, you need to push stuff out of the way, but then to blend in with humans you need something else. There's a sign on a door that says "NO ROBOTS," and getting by is a puzzle, but once you reflect on things, it's all a bit sad and frustrating. And in one case, a solution to one puzzle temporarily blocks getting another item you need, but it makes a lot of sense.
The only place where I got in trouble was when I assumed an item had just one use. I visited a place far away (well, relatively--the map is not huge, and I'm grateful the author drew up a map) and used the item there instead of nearby. Using it nearby didn't quite register as it almost felt too on-the-nose. I can imagine others getting stuck here, especially since if you PRAY, the robot spirit assumes you used the item in the almost-too-obvious place, so I'll note (Spoiler - click to show)the laser pointer has two uses.
That's really minor, though. Espirito Roboto worked for me. I'd also like to call out its graphics as a clear positive. There's nothing super-fancy, but there's good variety, and it feels whimsical without feeling dashed off or calling attention to its absurdity. This sort of snuck up on me, and at some point I turned around and said, yeah, good job there.
There are a lot of longer games that go into emotions more in-depth than ER, but sometimes I am just not up to them. I often don't have the energy to fully appreciate them, so in a way, ER provided a sort of tutorial experience for someone who knows parser games but is a bit wary of taking on a huge dystopia or too-heavy issues. It had a high return on time invested for me, with just a bit of unhappiness and servitude and looking to connect with someone else who understands, someone beyond the bartender who serves bacon-laced alcoholic drinks. This was enough to push me to remember my own nuisance I wanted, and still want to, move on from.
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