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Reviews by Sam Kabo Ashwell

puzzles

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Flight of the Hummingbird, by Michael Martin

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Flight Isn't Freedom, November 25, 2012
by Sam Kabo Ashwell (Seattle)
Related reviews: puzzles, platformer, superhero, flight, movement
Flight of the Hummingbird is a sort of attempt to blend platformer-style puzzles in an IF format. All of its puzzles are to do with difficult or unusual ways of getting around. Most involve alternative ways of handling space than the standard IF rooms-and-compass method. While some of these experiments seem potentially interesting, none are developed much beyond the point at which the player can grasp their use.

The fictional content is pretty standard fare: you play a third-string superhero with a kind of feeble theme and an unimpressive power (you can fly, but have to chug sugary sports drinks every few turns). You're tasked with dealing with a third-string supervillain with a campy villainous plan of some kind that requires a space rocket; everybody expects you to screw up. This is a pretty well-established comedy premise, so it needs to be really funny to work: ideally, it would have played on the careenings of the navigation puzzles to produce something wildly slapstick. Flight's writing, however, is more workmanlike than anything, and the comedy falls flat. What remains is a My Pathetic Life narrative, which turns out to be no more appealing with superheroes than in My Apartment.

So the ultimate effect of Flight is of something that was designed as a succession of themed puzzles with a narrative skin, rather than something that marries puzzle and narrative together. It may appeal as a quick puzzlebox, if that's your bag: it's not really mine.


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