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New Cat, by Poster

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
Not bad, but very uneven, November 18, 2011
by trojo (Huntsville, Alabama, USA)
In this game you are a kitten exploring your owner's house from a kittenly perspective. This is an interesting idea for a short, atmospheric piece, but unfortunately the narrative voice is very uneven over the course of the game, which is deadly for something trying to be atmospheric. For example, you don't know what certain common household objects such as (Spoiler - click to show)walls and doors are supposed to be called, instead calling them something else, but the text of the game sometimes uses the words (Spoiler - click to show)walls and doors to describe those things anyway-- oversights I suppose. Also it seems strange that a kitten wouldn't know what (Spoiler - click to show)walls and doors are, but would know what words like "plethora", "threshold", (Spoiler - click to show)"palace", "phone", etc, mean. In fact the gap in the PC's vocabulary is apparently almost completely limited to (Spoiler - click to show)the correct words for walls and doors.

Implementation also is spotty, with many reasonable synonyms missing. And by reasonable synonyms, I mean in many cases what the game itself calls a particular noun. For example there is an object that the game calls a (Spoiler - click to show)metal box, but the player cannot refer to it as the (Spoiler - click to show)the metal, or the box, and calling it the metal box causes a disambiguation prompt: which do you mean, the Ftop or the fridge?. But of course the whole shtick of this game is that the PC isn't supposed to know what such things as a (Spoiler - click to show)"fridge" are, so why does the game even call it the (Spoiler - click to show)fridge, let alone require the player to call it that, refusing to accept the terminology the game's output itself uses? This isn't the fault of Inform of course, since Inform will handle much of the synonyming automatically if you give objects natural, fully written-out names (including all modifiers) instead of weird programmer-ish abbreviations like (Spoiler - click to show)"ftop".

These issues kind of kill the atmosphere of the game, but atmosphere is what a piece like this is all about: looking at the world that is familiar to the player, but alien to the PC. Instead it ends up dangerously close to being a glorified "My Apartment" game, except with neologisms where (Spoiler - click to show)"walls" and "doors" would be, and otherwise described almost exactly as one would describe a house or apartment to a human. So overall, it's a decent effort with an interesting idea, but the actual execution results in a pretty mediocre experience.

(Note that this relates to version 3, the newest release of this game at this time. Hopefully the author can fix a few of these issues.)


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