Saturday, October 21, 2017

"8 Shoes on the Shelves" and "Bolbert" (reviews)

"8 Shoes on the Shelves" by Marc Duane and "Bolbert" by Chad Rocketman are both parser games written for the 2017 Interactive Fiction Competition.

First, "8 Shoes":

The PC (a solider) is trapped in bunker beneath the trenches of the Flemish front line during World War I. After solving a frustrating guess the verb problem required immediately to free myself from some rubble, I was able to check my inventory. Within my pockets:

Plausible orders to retain an "Arthur Gustave Desseyn" so that he may be employed for further unmentioned purposes. This is, of course, a screen for your true motives.

OK. But what are my true motives? The character would know, but I do not. "8 Shoes" does not position itself as another amnesia game, so this may be a problem.

I solve another puzzle to exit the first room then move out to explore. The writing is competent. I can imagine the place and feel a sense of unease.

Something moves in the water below. You are not alone.

I dispatch the thing in the water pretty quickly and get an ending "You have destroyed the dweller in water". But not knowing if that was my true mission, I'm uncertain whether that was the best ending. So I undo a couple and do some more exploring.

I reach another ending "You have been consumed." I'm guessing that wasn't my true objective, but how can I know for sure? I'll look at the walkthrough.

Walkthrough tells me I've already reached the optimal ending when I destroyed the thing in the water. But the walkthrough also warns:

The simplest possible walkthrough is as follows. It bypasses the intended process of discovery and backstory altogether.

"8 shoes" appears to be the sort of game where it is easier to kill the thing you were meant to kill than to discover why you were meant to kill it.

Bolbert is another game entered in this year's comp by Chad Rocketman. The title site says:

"i [sic] wrote thi [sic] story about SCIENCE and RELIGION and LOVE"

This game is a train wreck of erratic spellings and punctuation. The central NPCs name is spelled four different ways: Bilbert, Bolbert, Blibert and BILBERT (all caps). Source text is included and may be needed as a reference for players who want to complete this. Five minutes playtime, at most.

No comments:

Post a Comment