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Word of the Day

by Richard Otter profile

Science Fiction
2017

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Number of Reviews: 3
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Suberb backstory, out of focus result., October 30, 2017
by Marco Innocenti (Florence, Italy)
I actually woke up this morning, after playing WotD all night yesterday, finally grasping what was going on.

This is a well structured, almost puzzle-less sci-fi, with a brilliant PC and an incredibly detailed backstory, which could have aimed, imho, at a much higher outcome.

The most intriguing things revolve around racial (and racist) themes, told through the eyes of a special creature whose sole businesses in the universe seem to be procreation and money. And money because of procreation.
There are aspects of the subplot which are genius: the mating techniques of different races; how an Outworder sees us (provided the Inner Worlders are us); how racism can dwell in close environments; segregation.

Unfortunately, the story is presented through an endless array of posts and notes, and via the comments (on dead bodies) by a cold PC, who’s prime feature seems to be the lack of any empathy with anyone except her distant relatives and lovers. All of this sums up to a distinct vibe and a cool backstory that, in the end, fails in finding a route to the final outcome.
The atmosphere is strong (I was actually scared by the continuous opening and closing of doors, hinting at another survivor— the ship is full of dead bodies after an initial “incident”) although there is not much to do except reading tons of backstory. And this is first flaw of an otherwise impressive game.

Style apart (the text needs some more intense editing, due to the generative process it has to sustain), the fact that the main action you continuously do is reading notes or long flashbacks hinders the gameplay a bit. This sums up to the fact that navigation is hard due to a very symmetrical and squareish map (a map is provided and I would say it is fundamental for your survival).

But the main aspect — the thing that, eventually, lowered my experience most — is that, of all the important backstory told, the one which is central to the final twist (and there IS a final twist!) is overlooked enough that I simply forgot to notice. Saying more means spoiler, so I have nothing to add, if not that a much more “central” approach to something inside the ship would have done a better job in causing the final wow-effect.

Finally, the endgame, too, looks muddled and I failed to actually get what was happening in the ship until I woke up this morning with the proverbial epiphany.

To recap: I wish the main story was more “main” and the sub-plots (about race, gender, and the overall backstory) ended up being sub-plots and not the big finger in front of the moon. I wish I could understand more about the plot, something my “4-Good” ending didn’t convey (who was the one opening and closing the doors? I understood this after an 8-hours sleep, never having seen him during play!). I wish I could read less and do more, as a piece of Interactive Fiction should allow.

This said, I enjoyed this game a lot, and it frankly had me holding tight to the chair here and there, for some nice, perpetual sense of danger. A calm post-comp reset of the game is all it’s needed to put these few things straight.

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Autymn D. C., December 17, 2017 - Reply
whose
were
8-hour
lesser
well
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