The Train To Abaddon

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Not particularly well implemented, November 12, 2014
by Chrysoula
Related reviews: steampunk

I picked this up because hey! I could play it online! and it said it was short! and steampunk! What's not to try?

Unfortunately, it suffers from a distinct lack of cueing. That can be okay in an environment where nothing pressing is going on, but a speeding train under attack is pretty much the definition of a countdown timer. The lack of cueing about who I was and what my goals were, combined with the speeding-train-under-attack environment created a surreal, distancing effect. I was in a position of literally being able to decide anything about my goals and I wasn't usually given any information to contradict what I decided until too late.

(Spoiler - click to show)For example, I had a gun and bullets in my luggage. Maybe I was there to shoot somebody? I couldn't shoot the attackers, though. I came across a clockwork man intent on getting through a door. He ignored me, he was unshootable. Clearly I wasn't his enemy! Once the timer ticked down, he burst through the door and killed what turned out to be somebody I knew. Huh!

The game had a lot of requiring very precise object names for puzzles; I spent about twenty turns trying to unlock a door manually before I hit on the right door name. There were also what I assume were bugs in implementation: specifically, picking up a bucket supposedly full of sand only to be told it was empty.

I ended up stopping without finishing the game(Spoiler - click to show) at some clockwork dogs after I'd (as player) managed to kill every other human I'd found on the train, including accidentally murdering somebody I was protecting with some scenic ricochets when I tried to use my gun to shoot the dogs. I would have kept poking at it but the various interactivity problems (and bugs?) I'd encountered up to that point made me unwilling to invest more time in something that possibly couldn't be beaten.

That said, I'd play a revised version. It had phantasmal hints of something I might enjoy.

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Chrysoula, November 12, 2014 - Reply
I'm afraid I already closed the web window I played in, sorry about that! And yes, I suspect what I was supposed to do was throw sand in the clockwork man but since I didn't even have a sense that I was supposed to stop the clockwork man I didn't make much of an effort. The bug I noticed was that I went back later to pick up the bucket of sand I'd previously left untouched, in case I could throw it on the dogs the way I failed to do with the clockwork man-- and when I got to the dog room, the 'bucket of sand' was described as empty.
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