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About the StoryHumans are constantly appropriating rat culture. King Roscoe thought to use this to his advantage.
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Number of Reviews: 4
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The start seems to lack urgency or a clear hook: you're a rat in front of a museum. It's my only criticism of this otherwise excellent piece, full of rich detail and little flourishes. Despite the cold open, the rest of the work is engaging and compelling, and shines brightest in the little moments. Examine a painting and receive a mini-meditation on the differences between rat and human culture. It's world-building, but it's seamlessly interwoven with the character and sounds like an authentic internal monologue.
Typical of Veeder's work, this piece has a strong sense of place and location to match the strong character voice; the layout feels like museums I've been in, and felt real and well-described with only a few rooms.
There is an awful lot of STUFF in this piece, nearly all of it without mechanical utility, but examining it deepens the themes and brings the entire work to life. I loved just poking about the rubbish, not knowing if I'd find anything of utility, and getting a small window into the head of the protagonist. As is also typical of Veeder, this lets him occasionally break the fourth wall, making it clear that even though we may not know much about the secret mission, the protagonist certainly does.
Near the end, a mini-combat game appears, a well hinted and mechanically sound diversion that further enriches the entire experience.
It's a short work, taking about 15 minutes to explore, and the brevity is another strength, working well with the theme and focus of the rat's quest.
I highly recommend this strong, short, piece, which works despite the lack of a strong or clear hook. Lack of an opening hook is fairly common in Interactive Fiction, where readers are expected to find their own route in, and it only really stands out in this piece because it otherwise feels very welcoming to new players, with helpful guidance in a pane on the right-hand side, and a tightly-defined scope. I feel like the best IF for first-time readers has a strong hook and sense of initial urgency, but I'd still encourage you to play this despite that lack.
The trouble is that often short games are less polished and less well implemented, putting me thus in a puzzling dilemma.
That's why I'm always pleasantly gratified whenever a topnotch short text-based game is released. Such as this one!
"The Roscovian Palladium" may not be a challenging game, but it made up for all that by being entertaining, witty and smoothly implemented. The ending is surprisingly satirical and is as rewarding as the punchline of a good joke.
While the game is simple and can be completed in 15 minutes or so, players are rewarded for exploring the various nooks of the game (both on the map and in the conversations), and players who take the time to feel out all their options will be rewarded with interesting descriptions of art and snappy dialogue.
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This is version 2 of this page, edited by Ryan Veeder on 22 February 2017 at 11:26pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item