I originally gave this game a six because while it was very entertainingly written, and there was a whole lot going on, I just didn’t understand what the hell any of it meant and just gave up on playing it. I didn’t feel that was fair to the authors, so I went back with my remaining amount of time for this game to try and get a better understanding of it. There are a lot of medals you can get which I felt the authors were really bringing their A-game with, they were all rib splitting funny. There are also a lot of things to interact with in the classical parser fashion which I found incredibly pleasing. Interacting with things would reward you with a funny story or items of various rarity. You have these little monsters that you keep in your inventory, they were all very cute with my favorite one being:
“Misdementor is the evolved form of Perpie, and evolves into Fellanon”
Reading that was a lot of fun.
Each location appeared to be named after a different icon in the interactive fiction community.
There were areas you could “die” in and I got a big kick out of checking those out. My favorite one was when I got accosted by a pair of back alley deviants and my body was thrown onto a pile of unconscious adventurers, and my phone tossed onto a pile of glowing phones. What I enjoyed most about this was that the phones were still “glowing” which means they never turned any of them off, which means they really didn’t care about the phones since they didn’t care about saving the battery or ripping the sim card out, they just liked accosting complete strangers in seedy back alleys.
Your in game phone has a map that displays your current location and the location of other important areas, that was really helpful, but I still prefer mapping out games that have this many locations in them, I like the free trizbort program for this due to its intuitive design and useful features:
I was carefully mapping everything out in trizbort, and despite everything that I liked, I was still thinking what in the world am I playing? So I quit out, and then loaded up another game because I was determined to give the authors a fair score here. This is when I discovered that your starting monsters and staring location is randomized, I found this a cool thing they did to increase replayability.
There are pogostops, listed on your phone map, that you can spin and they will give you random amounts of loot which is essential as they supply you with the generous amount of balls that you will need to accomplish your mission.
So I went around, armed with my balls, throwing them at monsters in order to capture them. The monsters, as inferred earlier, can evolve to become stronger at training gyms if you are the appropriate level to enter one.
At this point, I was getting precariously close to my time limit so I peeked at the help section to discover that the goal of all of this is to become a pogomaster whatever that is supposed to mean.
This game is clearly a satire of the popular “Pokémon Go” game that includes many playful references to IF icons and iconography. I originally didn’t get that pokemon game. Have you ever looked at a tree for example? Not casually glanced at one on your way to something, but actually took a moment to study it in all of its beauty? This is just one of an almost infinite amount of natural wonders that people take for granted every day. Why are you staring at a screen when you could be staring at nature? Or since you are already outside, why not spark up a random conversation with some interesting strangers? And I suppose that is one of the pulls of the game is that it gives strangers a common ground to spark up a conversation with only a minimal chance of it being a trap set by some violent predator, and that’s a good thing. But with clear destinations marked, it eliminates the complete randomness of an adventure, and that’s a downside. This game sort of takes all of that away. On the plus side, if it weren’t for this game, I have no idea what I would be writing about or doing right now, and my view count indicates a bunch of people are actually reading these reviews, and they can’t all be the feds, and other people enjoyed playing it and writing about it and reading what others wrote about it, and these are all good things. All this aside, I guess what I am trying to get at is I just don’t understand why I was going around capturing monsters…either way…
This is an outstanding game that was very well thought out, has excellent writing, has tons of detail, also tons of feel good IF goodness, also ample amounts of balls, that I then decided to deduct a point from the maximum score because I still don’t understand what the hell any of it meant.
Also, there wasn’t enough of a spread between the original 6, and the final 9, to justify putting your game on the elusive “times I ate crow” list…maybe next year with a different game…
****update: The good news for the authors is that I just recently decided to add the point I had originally deducted back for a final score of 10 because of how much this game offered in comparison to the other entries this year. The bad news is that it still does not qualify them for the “times I ate crow” list because while a spread of 4 from a three to a seven would have made it, a six to a ten just doesn’t cut it for me…maybe a five to ten…either way, it is my list, and I get to decide which games go on it, and yours just doesn’t get to this year…it was still one of the highlights of the competition, so congratulations on that![/spoiler]