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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:A fun game, weighed down by a tedious puzzle system, April 2, 2018
by IvanrThis game is in a style that I usually really enjoy, and I thought the main puzzle mechanic was really neat, but for some reason I started to find it kind of a chore after a while. Aside from one or two fairly ingenious ones (particularly (Spoiler - click to show)getting into your twin's apartment), the puzzles tended to require something like extensive brute force, and unfortunately, as a result of how the puzzle mechanic works, brute forcing things becomes very time-consuming (a silly cheat code can speed things up a little, but you're still just trying the same operation on a bunch of objects and trying to do random things to them to get things to progress).
Again apart from one good one, the puzzles are all totally unmotivated object manipulation, and the plot just progresses seemingly randomly whenever you complete one of them. After a while it was pretty dispiriting and I just read the second half of the ClubFloyd transcript rather than go through the motions of finishing the thing myself. (I had to resort to this "walkthrough" relatively early, because in my infinite ingenuity I (Spoiler - click to show)pushed the dummy all the way into my apartment before ever setting foot in the neighbor's yard, thereby making it virtually impossible for me to discover the game's central mechanic. This is not the author's fault, since I did something really weird for no reason after cluelessly missing a room that most people probably discover right away. Still, once I had the "walkthrough" I felt somewhat less motivated to complete the game.)
I am still giving this game three stars, however, because in the end there are a lot of things I like about it: The central mechanic, although it was mainly used in service of tedious puzzles, was a joy in itself and pretty fun to play around with for a while. One of the puzzles was very thematic and clever, and funny, a rare combination in any game. And the extensive janus-face symbolism in the first room -- (Spoiler - click to show)Benjamin Harrison and Nostradamus as metaphysical, liminal figures, the past and the future, the two Clevelands, the two Johns on the poster, playing hangman with yourself -- was the most fun I've had examining scenery in forever.
The writing was very shrewd and funny. The ending was thought-provoking and the whole thing had a kind of surreal, Veeder-esque tinge. It's a pity that large parts of it weren't that fun to play.
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