Review: Inevitable

(Only reviewed by Mathbrush on IFDB, in his usual not-a-sentence-too-much style. At the peril of awakening his ire, I will waste entire paragraphs on this game.)

A Blue Flash!

I stand in awe. This game is so good…

Top fighter pilot during the past war, you now find yourself accompanying the Ambassador on a tourist trip to a place he slashed into submission from orbit just twenty years ago, while you were down there on a mission of your own. A heavy storm forces you to push him into his spaceship to take him to safety, leaving you alone and stranded on the surface with your storm-damaged plane. You might be able to fix it should you find your multi-purpose tool that you lent to the Ambassador. Maybe he dropped it somewhere during his escape?

As you search the area, you get re-acquanted with the strange towers that stand on the points of a great triangular field, and the massive Ziggurat that stands in the middle. Soon, driven by memories and an only half-understood inner urge, you find yourself unraveling the mysteries of these perplexing structures.

Inevitable takes place on a smallish map, readily memorized and easily accesible. You can oversee much of the area from several locations, making it feel bigger while at the same time tying it together into one big site. The descriptions are evocative while not overloading your brain with too much information.

Actually, the writing overall is extremely good. When exploring the different towers and examining scenery and objects, the text is efficient and to the point, almost cold in places. However, entering certain locations or finding certain objects brings back memories of your last time here, memories you would have rather forgotten. When remembering these, the writing becomes softer, even hesitant.

At its core, Inevitable is a puzzle game. It is actually one big puzzle with tightly interconnected sub-puzzles. Once you understand the overarching problem, the nature of the towers and the Ziggurat, the function of the sub-puzzles becomes clear. (Not their solutions however…) In this way, instead of other IF-games, Inevitable reminded me most of two point-and-click games I bashed my head against in the early 2000s: Chasm and Archipelago . (Ring a bell, anyone?)
The solutions to the obstacles are all logical, which does not make them any easier. I certainly needed some nudges along the way. (Thanks!)

The coding and implementation is top notch. Wrong attempts get helpful replies. You can GO TO locations if you don’t want to traverse the entire map. The game starts in Default mode, but you can type EASIER or HARDER at the start of the game, depending on how masochistic you are.

What lifts Inevitable head-and-shoulders above other hard and smart and clever puzzlers is the dramatic backstory revealed in the memories. I felt strongly sympathetic towards the protagonist (I imagine it to be a woman, although the game doesn’t say.) when she was reliving the final moments of the war through short but heartwrenching flashes of memory.

Extremely good game.