(Highly spoily; I don’t recommend reading this until you’ve played the game, probably twice)
I really liked this one, although I don’t think I’ve got the “winning” ending yet. Lemmy is a funny NPC and a great unreliable narrator. I got completely taken in on the first runthrough and the shift from the light right-royal-cockney-barrel-o’-monkeys narrative to the realisation of what I’d done to Alison made me physically horrified. I found another ending (I think) on the second run.
The writing is good throughout, and the in-universe help menus seem almost feelie-like, providing glimpses into the larger universe that you’re playing in a small corner of.
- The diegetic interface works, but I feel it was taken further than it needed to be in a couple of places. The endings I got (I think) didn’t produce any ending message, you’re just left stuck there in your immobile mech. I understand what’s intended here - in fact, I think it achieved what it intended - but out of universe, it just seemed impolite. UNDO is also disabled, with a gag about “causality violation mode not available”, which is a nice gag, but it could just as easily have been “causality violation mode engaged.”
- I didn’t realise for a while that you had to put things IN the incinerator. I might have missed it but I don’t think that was in its description, so I was confused that all the stuff I was dropping in the incinerator room wasn’t being incinerated when I pushed the button. The incinerator action is described as a jet of flame shooting from the ceiling, and if it doesn’t incinerate everything present, why put the button in the next room?
- I DID notice that “Alison” weighed 5kg on my first run. I wondered if it was a Clue, but what with the apparently badly implemented incinerator, I thought this was just as likely to be a mistake too. I’m not sure that I could have guessed what was going on without having seen the losing ending, complete with villainous “How I Did My Brilliant Evil Plan” speech. So on my second playthrough it felt like I was using unfair knowledge from a past life.
Funny and clever. Provisional score: 9.
The first thing I liked of this game is that it has been released with no walkthrough. I’ve played another game in this Comp (see the eventual other review), and it was badly spoiled by its walkthrough (and by my rush, of course). I hate walkthroughs.
This particular author has a fetish for unreliable narrators, as seen in his masterpiece The Baron, and I think I love his work especially for this reason.
I started loving the babbling Lemmy, this until something under the crust started creaking.
[spoiler]The NPC Lemmy soon started acting unpleasantly. I got something in his vibe, in the way he overtalks, in some of his misogynist comments. Then, after a while – long after I’ve punched and burned the “laptop” – the internal damage scan is over and I got that something very awful was happening.
I think I got to the point of it before the camera was revealed as functional, and I must concede this is due to Victor’s highly skilled writing. Also, you can count me in as the doubtful one. Still, I decided to play by the rules, until the sad ending.[/spoiler]
The judgment, here, is an easy one.
Nice story, launched – as I find the only way possible – in media res, with a background one should really care for.
Superb writing (who helps you with all those swears and turn of phrases, Victor?).
Tricky plot trick.
Unusual game mechanics.
A whole new customization of Inform, for a novel result.
I need to solve the game for the “good ending” (provided there is one, which I strongly believe) to carve this rating into stone.
Let’s the game settle down a bit, then I’ll be back.
It’s my first time playing IFComp games during the judging time and because of the cover started with this one.
I liked the game, didn’t even find all objects the first time but still had the feeling that this story might have a different ending than exptected after I noticed some strange numbers.
The only thing that I really missed is an actual GameEnding screen. The bad ending makes sense with leaving the player just behind, but I also can’t trigger a good ending. Don’t know if I have found everything, because I can’t figure out the purpose of the overalls, but I still have the feeling that I’ve done the most important thing.
Have to play other games before giving real scores, but a good game like this is at least an 8 for me. Would be higher normally, but I really have the feeling the GameEnd screens are missing and that the game leaves you alone at the end because the narrator is gone for various reasons.
So just by way of comparing notes with people:
What I’ve achieved after a couple of playthroughs:
[spoiler]- killing Lemmy before he has a chance to untag all and strand me
- destroying the laptop
- getting a message from Alison that she was escaping through a secret door[/spoiler]
What I have not achieved
- doing anything interesting with the overalls or the carwash-like place – though I thought maybe I need to give Alison the overalls to help her survive. but that doesn’t seem to have been necessary.
The ending I got feels somewhat similar to winning, though, so I think I might be content? But I’m curious if anyone got any further with the bits I was unable to use.
I can add something to @emshort:
the only intersting thing I found with the carwash-like-place was to punch barrels and get the air toxic after washing it, has the same killing effect as burning
you can also wash the overalls but haven’t found anything else
Ahh, okay. That makes sense, thanks!
I wonder if anyone managed to figure out what was going on before it was too late on the first playthrough.
Yes, I noticed something was wrong and that the narrator was unreliable. What was happening EXACTLY, tho, I mean: the backstory, I had to wait for the end to know. But I was quite sure I was not disposing of a “laptop” on the very first playthrough.
I’ve posted a (spoiler-free) review of the game on my blog here.