Icepunk

Icepunk

page13oy

Twine

Summary: Some interesting ideas, but not technically or artistically able to sustain play to completion

[spoiler]Some way in, Icepunk offered me the following, which appeared to me to be a sort of self-description:

In the last analysis, stripped of a suggestive, but not very thoroughly explained SF premise , this is a treasure hunt, with the twist that the treasure is not physical, but cultural. Your task is to collect fragments and return them to a computer, M8, which will then apparently assemble them into some sort of new world, in which you will no longer be alone. The fragments themselves are scattered (quite literally, randomly) across a broad procedurally generated map, and the bulk of the game consists of a succession of journeys across this map.

This might have been an interesting idea, though what has been preserved is a rag-bag of B+ Nineteenth century literature and oddments (penguins? American suburban family life?) out of which it seems to require heroic faith to imagine any remarkable world emerging; perhaps if I had made it to the climax it would have come together. But what really damaged it for me was the interface: the treasure is in plain view, and one simply has to roam around a blocky map and visit the various locations to find it. And that’s not really thrilling, especially as one has to keep returning to base to empty one’s data store (apparently such short pieces as Kubla Khan take terabytes of data).

Unfortunately, and what really stopped me in my tracks: the game seems to have some sort of bug: it got slower and slower until, at some point less than half way through, it simply presented me with a black screen. At this point I gave up, so I didn’t reach an ending.

But I’m not sure the idea, or the writing or presentation here, would have sustained me to the end in any case. I quite liked some of the ascii art (which, given the story’s hook, made sense). The writing was competent. Some of the places were interesting to explore a little, though many were just empty. But in order to enable this to be “procedurally generated” the author has, in effect, given up narrative shape, substituting the flat repetition of the endless quest, which the backstory is insufficiently strong to sustain.[/spoiler]