I generally shy away from the offerings of the Santoonie Corporation for a couple of reasons. One for their constant trolling on RAIF; two because I played one of their previous IFComp entries – “Zero” – and found it to be pretty dire. But I thought in the interests of fairness, I’d give them another go and see if they had improved any.
Hell no. “Lawn Of Love” is a poorly written game where little effort has been made to cover anything but the bare basics. Items descriptions frequently are more than a few words long, there are bugs where directional commands will often yield no response at all (not even a YOU CANNOT GO THAT WAY message) and I’m damned if I could find the pants in the first location despite the fact that the GET PANTS command worked fine. If they were in that woefully brief location I don’t know where because I looked everywhere, tried everything and they just weren’t to be found.
The aim of the is… well, I’m not sure really. The game doesn’t really so, but indicates it’s some kind of ‘romance’. It starts with YOU’VE KNOWN US, YOU’VE LOVED US, NOW LET US LOVE YOU. Unfortunately the command PASS THE VOMIT BAG didn’t work. A definite oversight.
Basic commands that the player might type aren’t covered. There’s a desk in the first location but OPEN DESK doesn’t get you anything more than I DON’T KNOW HOW TO OPEN THE DESK. Location descriptions are painfully brief and no attempt has been made to inject any life into them. Then there are the bugs. While none of them are crippling in their own right, they add up to more than enough to make the game seem not like a finished game at all but instead one that hasn’t gone through even the most basic testing. Doesn’t the Santoonie Corporation have testers? As the game frequently slips between first and second person when referring to the player, I’m guessing not.
“Lawn Of Love” was a slight step up from the previous Santoonie game I played, but it still wasn’t enough to make me think any more highly of them as a whole.
I didn’t have a problem with this part. I’d have to look at my transcript to know for sure, but I think here’s how it worked for me. In the initial text – one of the three intro bits, perhaps – I had read that yesterday’s dirty pants had been hung over the back of a chair. So, when I needed to get dressed, the first thing that occurred to me was to take and wear the pants. I didn’t even try searching, so I probably didn’t realize that the pants weren’t otherwise mentioned in the room.
Heh. I just kind of wondered how much of a romance it would turn out to be, and how they (he? Tilli?) would pull it off.
On the whole I’d agree – but there is just something about Santoonie games that makes me appreciate them more than the typical bad game. It’s the style, maybe. Or the offhand jokes that make it clear Santoonie isn’t trying for high quality. I’d take a Santoonie game like this one over another PTBAD/PTGOOD or Panks game (which is a shame, because I’ve been such a big fan of Paul’s determination if not his implementation).
I think Santoonie are easier to forgive for their joke games because it’s obvious joke game is just what they are and they make no effort to claim otherwise. And despite the rough edges, most of which I’m sure are intentional, the games are still just about playable. The PTGOOD/PTBAD games are just a mess and no effort whatsoever has been made to make them even slightly playable. They ought to be disqualified from the IFComp so people can play proper games and not have their time wasted.
Panks’ problem, aside from being a terrible, terrible game writer, is his insistence on writing his game with a custom system which clearly isn’t up to the job and his inability to see just how flawed it is. No matter how many times it’s pointed out to him, and no matter how many different people point it out, he can’t accept that other people don’t like this kind of thing.