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The Roscovian Palladium

by Ryan Veeder profile

2017

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Number of Reviews: 4
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Rats! No, the good kind: another delightful trip to Veeder's rat world, February 27, 2017
by streever (America)
You're a talking rat on a secret mission so secret that you aren't sure what it is. Well, the rat know, but you the player do not. First order of business is to enter the human museum looming before you and to figure out what's going on.

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.