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About the Story
An infantryman finds himself trapped on a peculiar train traveling through an even stranger forest. But could the situation be more than what it appears?
22nd Place - Casual Gameplay Design Competition #7
|Average Rating: |
Number of Reviews: 2
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Oh, the potential this game has… it's almost painful to think about it. I love the story idea. It's got a Twilight Zone feel that makes me think of old classic short stories by Ray Bradbury and the like. That's not to say it's science fiction, but just that it's a circumstance in which there's more than meets the eye.
The PC awakes at the beginning of the game to find himself on a train, with no knowledge of how he got there. He's in military uniform, and is accompanied by two strange and silent companions. Assuming he must have been captured by the enemy, his one mission is to find a way to get off this train. But things are not as they seem.
This story has a very clever and interesting twist. The problem for me was, I had figured it out that twist after about 15 moves. Perhaps if there had been a bit less detail provided early on, it might have carried me along & motivated me to continue, but this was not the case. So, here I was, armed with the information that would have been much more exciting to discover at the END of the game, but I was still at the beginning and hadn't yet solved a single puzzle.
Not only that, but, as expressed by other reviewers of this game, the implementation is very aggravating! Here's just one example: When you give the command, "GO NORTH," the game says, "You must supply a noun." If you say "WALK," it says, "You must supply a compass direction." But if you tell it to, "WALK NORTH" it says "You must supply a noun." ARRRGGHHHH!! It tells you in the room description that there are front and rear doors. But when you say, "EXAMINE REAR DOOR," it tells you, "You can't see any such thing." And so on…
So, to sum it up, here I am armed with knowledge of the big surprise ending, but faced with a frustrating "read the author's mind" journey ahead of me and very little motivation to complete it. Very disappointing. I would love to see this game completely re-vamped with better implementation and a more mysterious storyline.
In spite of my complaints, I'd still recommend this game to anyone, if only for the great concept behind it. Give it a try and see what you think.
Okay, the stuff that makes this game AWESOME is hard to talk about without giving things away.
At some point in the game you will control various characters. The narration tone switches with characters very well! The various characters are needed to complete the task. As you learn what's going on, (and complete the game) the reality is fantastic, and the realization is brought on slowly, shown to you rather than told to you, another great storytelling piece. (Spoiler - click to show) You are toys that trade a magical crown to become animate, neither is aware of the others actions
I rated this game 4 stars. Some bugs and a VERY annoying guess the verb made it miss 5 stars. (Spoiler - click to show) You need to use a grappling hook to flip a switch. You can't THROW HOOK AT/TO SWITCH or PUT HOOK ON SWITCH or HOOK SWITCH... you need to OPEN SWITCH WITH HOOK. I had to go to the walkthrough to figure this out which really angered me considering I knew what to do.
Some minor nitpicks, it's awesome when you switch characters the first time and read how they react to the change in atmosphere, I only wish that change in atmosphere was reflected each time the atmosphere changed (Spoiler - click to show) such as when the train stops, reverses, or when other characters break doors, etc Also there are 2 doors that you cannot see through, so you better remember what was described when you first opened them, since there's no way to get that description again, which is unfortunate. Also UNLOCK and CUT seem to by synonyms, and often times you have to OPEN objects with unlikely "keys", which could have been better hinted/described. And the puzzle where you have to get a mirror is GENIUS!
The ending is priceless and ties the whole thing together, though in a way, (Spoiler - click to show)sad, considering the ultimate fate of the "player"s.
I'm really excited for other people to try this game, it's an excellent use of switching characters and an environment that you are forced to discover as you progress.
The game isn't long (27 moves in the walkthrough, though it took me over 100, partially due to that annoying guess the verb), but it's really well written. Some implementation caused it to not get 5 stars. Hopefully a revised edition comes out soon!
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