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About the Story
Itís the day of your wedding. Suddenly you have a sickening feeling in your stomach: You've forgotten something important! None of this makes sense. If you'd been following your to-do-list, everything would be done by now. Something has gone wrong. Looking around, you realise there's still a lot to be done. Your top priority is to get your to-do-list and get started...
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In the hidden-object genre of casual games, there's a substantial and largely regrettable subgenre of romance-centred stories, within which are a few games about planning weddings. In certain respects, D-Day plays very much like Dream Day Wedding and its ilk. The gameplay mimics hidden-object in that there's effectively nothing to do except to find all the things and put them where they need to be. To-do lists and now-do-this instructions strive to preserve the player from the slightest confusion. The world is sparkly and conflict-free, and the bride is kept safely generic; her intended is absent, barely mentioned at all, and seems irrelevant to the whole undertaking. (It's probably unfair to consider D-Day as literature rather than a straightforward iteration of a standard fantasy; it's certainly not attempting anything more than the latter, which means that I'd be unlikely to like it much regardless of its other qualities.)
The two key elements of casual games that it lacks are a high level of aesthetic polish (in IF that might translate to lavish prose and meticulous scenery implementation) and an intuitive, idiot-proof, silky-smooth user interface. Both of these could have been substantially improved by testing.
It's probably fairest to think of D-Day as a My Apartment game. In that light, it's quite respectable: it demonstrates some thought about structure, it provides immediate objectives, it's trying to be considerate of the player, it can be won without ever getting stuck, it doesn't have the cynically lazy my-game-sucks attitude that typifies My Apartment.
Writing this review pains me a bit, because it's obvious that this is Ms. Gilmore's first release (I certainly don't want to be the reason anyone gives up working with this amazingly creative medium). It's equally obvious that she's put a fair amount of time into creating her maps and lists of details. In part, though, that's the problem: D'Day is less a game (or IF), and more just the PC running around collecting everything needed for a wedding. As for the plot: well, that's pretty much it.
There are some major parsing issues in this one, and some sloppy code (for example, telling you to do things you've already done, but not updating, so the game keeps commanding you to do it). "Look"ing in a location acts as "look, examine, and get all" at odd times. Also, "look"ing in a room sometimes gets you a "try looking in [X] location" message and nothing else, so finding exits and a room description (there is no "exits" command) means you must scroll up. Some room descriptions don't list all the access points, which makes going back difficult without scrolling up again. Some objects that seem like they should be interactive, aren't (trying to turn on a tv, for example, tells you "that's not something you can switch," while typing "watch tv" gives you a description of the tv and the cabinet it sits in). And so on. Of course, parsing issues are going to creep up in any IF; that's simply the nature of the medium, but there are so many (and that's not even counting the "guess the verb" areas) that it's obvious that the game didn't spend much time being beta-tested before its release.
Look, I feel heartless right now. If Ms. Gilmore is reading this, I hope she realizes that there is a decent game to be had here; she just needs to pay as much attention to the debugging phase of game-building as the actual designing of it. The writing is solid, and the idea of a to-do list isn't necessarily a bad one. As a first effort, it's commendable.
Without more attention from the author, however, D-Day will just remain dull and buggy.
This is version 5 of this page, edited by Gio on 4 November 2011 at 1:07pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item