Floatpoint by Emily Short (Glulx)
This was one of the first games I played during the IFComp, yet it took me almost a month before I got round to writing my review of it. In some ways it’s a trying game, but ultimately a very good one.
In the game, you are David Moskin, Earth’s ambassador to the Aleheart Colony, a planet on the verge of being destroyed. It’s your job to make arrangements to bring them home before disaster strikes. (Although as the planet’s population is a rather daunting two hundred and thirty-seven million, that’s going to take one heck of an effort to pull off.)
The setting of the colony is a wonderful one, and part of the fun in playing the game is just wandering around and soaking up the atmosphere of the place. There’s an amazing amount of depth in the descriptions of many of the locations, although unfortunately most of the game takes place within the Aleheart Colony itself so the beautiful scenery that makes up the rest of the world is only seen briefly.
While the setting is impressive, the actual gameplay doesn’t quite hold up. While there’s nothing especially bad about it, it’s just that it seems more time and effort went into making the setting interesting, and less into the gameplay itself. Which isn’t to say that the gameplay side of things is bad in any way, shape or form, just that I found exploring the game world interested me more than trying to finish the game itself.
I had a few interpreter problems with “Floatpoint”. Gargoyle kept crashing at certain points in the game so I ended up playing it in Glulx where the colour scheme seemed a little buggy. I like playing games in white text on a black background but here the text I entered as commands was surrounded by a black block and at some points in the game, I’d be faced with an entire screen of text like this. Certainly made reading it a pain. However, as I don’t know whether this is a problem with Glulx or a problem with the game, I won’t mark it down.
There are a few nice touches in the game which deserve mention, the best being the THINK command which will list the things you still need to do and is handy for keeping track of your goals. Really, it’s no more functional than taking notes as you go along but it saves time and is a welcome feature.
Even if you don’t manage to finish “Floatpoint” without the walkthrough (guilty as charged), it’s still worth playing for the evocative setting if nothing else. Highly recommended.
7 out of 10