(A 1985 DOS game. Nothing too special, just good ol’ sci-fi fun.
Rimworld - Details (tads.org))
Desolate planet, episode umpteen. Prepare dropship crash in 3…2…
Rimworld is a thoroughly enjoyable though standard SF-adventure.
So, threehundred years ago, during the intergalactic war, the people of Rimworld closed off their planet from the rest of humanity with an impenetrable forcefield to avoid getting involved in the devastating fight. They were never heard from again.
Now, a diplomatic ship has been sent to Rimworld to re-establish communications. Only a one-man dropship can penetrate the atmospheric barrier: your dropship, which crashes upon entry. No help seems to be nearby.
Here we have one of my most beloved SF-tropes: stranded on a desolate planet. The initial game-area is small, simple and orderly. A bit boring even. But once you explore the outer rooms, the game-world quickly expands. Teleportation portals and different types of vehicles bring you to new submaps, some bigger and certainly more challenging than the initial map. Very good use of space and bottlenecks.
The puzzles you encounter are the usual adventuring fare, for the most part. Certainly not bad, but nothing very original either. There are two “action-puzzles”, one which involves climbing and one which involves evading and killing enemies. Although there is some logic to them, they are ultimately try-die-repeat puzzles. The final endgame puzzle depends on using an object whose workings are underclued, which is a shame. Aha-moments are not so exhilarating when they are the consequence of “let’s just throw the entire inventory at it and see what happens.” There has to be some planning and expectation involved to give the player a sense of accomplishment.
I would have happily given this game four stars for entertaining me for a week with its puzzles, the great scenery, the alone-on-the-planet feel, but the outro bummed me out. One, there could have been at least two more playable scenes after the “boss-puzzle”. Two, it left me feeling like I had just watched a no-brainer action-flick from the eighties (“The hero has put everything in place, nothing left to see here. Move along folks.”) while there was certainly room for some introspection or a hint at a wider meaning. Bummer.
Still, a good adventure. Nothing more, nothing less.
[Edit: Forgot to mention: Uncharacteristically for a game of this period, you would have to go out of your way to make this game unwinnable. All areas of the map are revisitable except the crashsite of your ship. You would have to deliberately leave some of your equipment there to go “walking dead”.]