(A Versificator 2 game with great atmosphere and challenging puzzles. Could use a bit more attention on IFDB. Zeppelin Adventure - Details (ifdb.org))
Zeppelin is an inherently funny word. (+ bonus points)
Zeppelin Adventure takes the player into the Zeerust-filled world of classic SF. The era where water flowed through canals on the moon, intrepid adventurers found themselves hurtling through space in a hollow cannonball and there were little green men visiting us in various shapes of silvery shining teaware.
(Intermezzo: Zeerust - TV Tropes. Yes, I’ll wait…)
In this particular work a humble tealeaves-transporting zeppelin-farer (On Mars!) is swooped to the relics of the Robot Free State by way of a swirly-vortex-thingamajiggy. (Cue Robby the Robot in various slightly depressing incarnations.) The zeppelin crashes and the adventure turns into a hunt for scattered engine parts.
The mood of the game is deeply captivating. Nostalgic, endearing, funny, with unsettling undertones and references to disturbing episodes of Earth history. The visual qualities of the interface (and the cover art!) work to enhance this atmosphere.
The gameplay of Zeppelin Adventure encapsulates a parser puzzlefest in a keyword-click engine, @robinjohnson’s own Versificator2. This means that all possible actions are, in theory, laid out for the player. In practice however, the amount of stuff in the inventory quickly becomes so large that mechanically checking all the possibilities would be a lot more work than just leaning back and thinking about the solutions.
At times, I missed the unboundedness of typing parser input. I yearned to interact with the world more freely to tease out more background, and here and there I thought I had an alternate tack for an obstacle that was simply off-limits in the click-approach.
However, the game feels very tight and focused, and the click-interface plays no small part in this. It directs the player’s attention to the salient bits of information in the descriptions while letting the rest of the text carry the atmosphere without being distracting.
The puzzles themselves have a similar focused and concentrated quality. Many are not easy, requiring multiple steps and a thought-out plan of execution to finally get the engine part dangling before our protagonist’s nose. But they all have a definite and logical path to the solution, even if the player is temporarily baffled by the intricacies of the order of steps.
Depending on what the player chooses to do once the Zeppelin’s engine is repaired, there are multiple endings. I happened upon one where I could help the robots as well as my character.