IFComp is an annual competition for short works of interactive fiction. "The Challenge" isn't the first game I've played in this year's competition, or even the first game I've written about, but it was the game that incited me to start a new blog and begin publishing my reviews. "The Challenge" was published in this year's competition (2013) by "ViRALiTY".
Every sale begins with a pitch. The pitch for this game read "A short web-based CYOA,MCA game with 3D graphics illustrations, written and designed in less than 24 hours." My first question, on reading that was "does 24 hours include the beta testing period?" No, never mind, even if it has been beta tested, no good game has ever been written in less than 24 hours. IFComp is competition of quality, not speed. 24 hours is nothing to brag about.
Would the game live up to my (low) expectations?
According to the title page which appears when you first load in the on-line version, "The Challenge" was actually written by Aleksander Kowlewski. The game has the look and feel of a Point and Click game, belonging to the popular subgenre "Escape from the (odd location) or Die". I used to like those games half a decade ago, so I gave this a try.
The graphics here are unremarkable. The textures look like stock patterns from a 3D rendering program. No color or creativity here. The game would be much easier to navigate if it used a Point and Click interface. The CYOA interface is distracting.A text-interface in this sort of game could be used to enhance the story-telling, but there is no variety or depth in the language of this game, and no story evident.
Worst of all, the game ends abruptly in the second room, telling me this was only a demo version and inviting me to play the full post-comp version once it is released.
I won't publish my own 1-10 scale opinions with these reviews. I'm not ready to commit. But I predict "The Challenge" will finish in the bottom 20% of the competition.