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Instruction Set

by Jared Jackson

Science Fiction
2018

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Number of Reviews: 3
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Unconventional puzzle game, now broken, July 16, 2019
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
Instruction Set consists of a series of abstract puzzles of varying originality, embedded in a narrative about scientists who attempt to wake up a comatose woman. The puzzles are fine, but not great. The weakest is perhaps the 3-by-3 number sliding puzzle, which basically forces you to solve a puzzle you've already solved before, but this time in an inconvenient medium. On the other hand, the falling ball puzzles are fun, and the list-copying puzzles are also entertaining. Overall: adequate. The main storyline too is best described as adequate. It works to create interest, but nothing too unexpected happens, and there's no real drama.

Still, I liked the game more than the previous paragraph may suggest. I liked it because it has charm, a charm created by the combination of the pictures and the often quite funny dialogue. To give some inexact quotes: "I chose to interpret it as a rhetorical observation rather than a command." "Would you like a soothing cup of mildly warm water?" These moments brought a smile to my face and made playing the game a pleasure rather than a chore.

(Spoiler - click to show)More could perhaps have been done with the memories of the protagonist and the reaction of her mother; more character building, more narrative. We learn that there was a car crash, but this fact alone has little impact. On the other hand, more dramatic development at this level of the story might not have meshed well with the tone of the cartoon scientists.

One interesting question that the game raises is this: who are you playing? The comatose woman? Well, her memories are present as external to us, not internal. So perhaps we are merely a part of her brain, the part specialised in puzzle solving? If so, I think this is a very original choice of PC!


Unfortunately, Instruction Set can no longer be played, because an update to the software platform it runs on has broken keyboard input. I hope it will one day be restored, because it if worth checking out.