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Give me a hand, would you?, May 25, 2023
0.14 light years. That's all. At the speed of travel that would be like standing on the doorstep of the destination. Almost being able to extend a finger to ring the bell.
But no. The ship's computer decided being caught in an alien vessel's tractor beam is enough to wake me out of that sweet/nauseating comatose sleep...
Something must be really wrong.
Well, in Hibernated 1 (Director's Cut) there doesn't seem to be at first. My ship's alright, no leaking pipes or other damage. There is however a humongous alien ship looming over my front window. And over my rear airlock. And once I get to exploring it, big enough to be looming over quite an angle of visible spave from my point of view.
Let's say it's large.
Not only is it large, it's weird. I'm used to the nicely symmetrical dimensions of my own ship, but this alien one extends unexpectedly far in unnecessary directions...
The game-map of Hibernated follows a pragmatic, functional, straightforward plan. NESW. Except it encourages nautical directions to keept the player closer to the setting. I am always looking for the author's use of the map, the rooms and their connections. This is an element that can add a great deal of atmosphere to the writing of the descriptions.
Here, instead of using wriggly curving pathways, the author sticks to right angled F/SB/A/P -directions, but the difference between the familiar, symmetrical map of my "home"-spaceship and the alien ship is still enough to warp my directional feelings. Once I entered the alien ship and started drawing a map, everything seemed to be lopsided, heavy on one side.
This juxtaposition of symmetrical-lopsided ship design is strong enough to emphasise the difference between both ships.
But there is a shift that completely twists the mental image. A twist that makes it abundantly clear that these ships are hanging still (relative to one another) in vacuum space, that shows, once it *clicks*, hpw such masses behave in space.
Now, of course, there is no way I'm hunkering down in my own little ship. Exploring the alien ship however is tricky. It's set on "quarantine" mode, aso I have the dual task of finding out why the doors are locked and finding out how to cross those barriers.
A lot of these puzzles are quite straightforward variations on "find key; use key." However, at just the right locations (or just the right plot-beats), there are two puzzles.
One that is straightforward and one that is, well, straightforward... And stil they manage to stump the player's progress at just the right time.
Especially the second one of those straightforward puzzles manages to break the adventurer's expectations and elicit a gleeful "yay".
As mysterious as the background story begins, it's expected toward the end. I don't mean this in a bad way. Prometheus' effort to rejoice humanity deserves repetition. But this is a game worth more playing for those two puzzles. The backstory could become *story* with a rewrite.
Very engaging atmosphere, brilliant puzzles.