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About the StoryHow do you run a mind that cannot run itself? Enter the mind of Nora Atwood and with the help of a little science, you may be able to puzzle out her situation.
60th Place - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)
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Number of Reviews: 1
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The gameplay of Instruction Set consists of a series of logic puzzles. Some of them are old classics, like the one where you have only a three-liter container and a five-liter container and you need to create four liters of water. I realize that this particular puzzle is now used as an example of an old, tired puzzle for a lot of folks in the IF community, but I missed that phase of IF where this puzzle was used frequently, and so it did not come across as stale to me.
More importantly, the puzzles get more and more complex the more you solve. So even if you don't like some of the early puzzles, I'd recommend sticking with the game. The puzzles do get better. The last puzzle you actually solve was particularly fun - one of my favorite puzzles in IFComp this year, in fact.
The story involves some researchers in a lab testing a new haptic interface on a patient, Nora Atwood, and understanding what's going on with her. But the gameplay is really about the puzzles.
Folks used to the elegance of Inform's parser will probably find the interface clunky. It is a little clunky. But I'm impressed that the author managed to create a parser-like interface in Scratch at all! To my knowledge there's no native support for such a thing in Scratch. The interface works, too, and there's a window that tells you exactly which commands are allowed on each puzzle, as well as displaying the puzzle for you graphically. (This adds interest to some of those classic puzzles, by presenting them in a form that's not pure text.) There was only one puzzle where I got seriously stuck. I was able to go to the walkthrough, though, and I realized that I had misunderstood the directions for that puzzle.
The author says that he made the game with his kids and that his twelve-year-old daughter did all the artwork. I think that's awesome.
I had fun with Instruction Set, and I'm glad I played it with my son. I'd recommend it for puzzle fans aged ten and up.
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