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Winner, Best Individual Puzzle - 2000 XYZZY Awards
-- Duncan Stevens
Care For Another?
It's a successful if somewhat evil puzzle. I was confused when it was going on, then gradually had more and more of a sense of what I wanted to do; at the end, however, it all clicked together with a satisfying snap, leaving no loose ends.
As writing or story I think it is slightly less successful. Even excellent descriptions and dialogue begin to pall on the 129th reading, and much of the NPC conversation has a somewhat stiff and unconvincing quality. There is a good reason for this, gameplay-wise, but it lends strength to the impression, especially on repeated playings, that these are clockwork people carrying out their clockwork functions in a world where you alone are sentient.
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Rematch highlights the real strength of one-move games, in that they make it easy for the author to provide for absolutely everything the player could come up with (since the combinatorial factor--objects being combined in unexpected ways--is limited). In giving you multiple views and variations on the central event of the game (not revealed here, since the surprise of it is part of what gives Rematch its impact), the game enhances its mimetic qualities: you can try just about anything logical, and the parser will handle just about anything you type. The AMUSING section at the end is well populated, and in fact there are many things worth trying that don't, in fact, show up in that list.
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
My favorite feature is the way the relationships among the three main characters (player character and two friends) become clear as you keep playing. There's a history behind the moment you find yourself in, and you can use your turn to explore that history as well as your physical environment. I end up being more interested in the way the solution (as well as certain unsuccessful attempts) affects the interpersonal dynamics of the characters than in the technical details of how it saves everyone's life.
I like it. I like Aisle too. (Aisle is another one-turn game, also very good, and so an obvious comparison. But if you haven't played it, then this paragraph won't do much for you.) There's something about about the idea of approaching one key moment from a hundred different angles that appeals to me. Rematch is different from Aisle in that you have a clear and difficult goal, and the fictional world and characters are consistent from run to run -- so it's maybe more reality-bound than Aisle, less whimsical, more a problem to solve than an identity to explore.
As for the puzzle, it's difficult, but certainly solvable with patience.
Some people have mentioned that the puzzle seems to fight against the story. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The game is very good at making you, the player, go through what the character would be feeling, if this event was real for them. The horror at the accident, the despair that there seems to be no way to save you, Nick and Ines. The frustration at the trap you have found yourself in, the eventual detachment required to actually work out the solution, and the great satisfaction when you finally manage to break the cycle.
If you haven't played it, do so. I highly recommend not reading the walkthrough. The puzzle is 100% solvable with observation and exploration. (Spoiler - click to show)First you must escape the trap of thinking all you need to know is visible before you type your first command. Having done that, you may then escape the actual trap in the game.
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Recommended ListsRematch appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Xyzzy "Best Individual Puzzle" winners by Nusco
All the games that won the Best Individual Puzzle award, year by year. I'll avoid giveaway spoilers in my comments, but I'll still comment on the type and difficulty of the puzzle. I'll describe the puzzles by my own categories....
Replay puzzles by Emily Short
Games which are entirely devoted to a single big puzzle, usually one that the player has to replay a number of times to get exactly right. Often these involve time restrictions or events that the player has to observe in order to...
PollsThe following polls include votes for Rematch:
Games with Difficult Puzzles and a Forgiveness Rating of Tough or Lower by Athe
While searching for games that were difficult, I found many games that had a very unforgiving forgiveness rating, which I don't find very appealing. I do like puzzles, however, so I would be interested in finding games with challenging...
Fate vs Free Will Games by loocas
I imagine that the interactive nature of IF would allow themes of fate and free will to be used powerfully. Perhaps the PC is given a glimpse of his or her future and the player tries to avoid it. Are there games in which this is done?...
Games Theoretically but not Practically Beatable on First Attempt by Floating Info
I'm looking for a very specific level of difficulty: a game where you theoretically could beat it on your first attempt, but you won't. At some point in the game you'll fail, but that point may vary from person to person, and when you...
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