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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:Another great Andy Phillips game., June 14, 2019
by IFonthebrainLike in all of Andy's games, you have to do your homework. Make your maps, make your lists, write important remarks and information down. Fortunately for me, this is what I look for in challenging and engrossing IF. And Phillips never seems to run out of puzzles; this game pushes the limit of the number of different kinds of puzzles, from mental and metaphorical challenges to whether to duck or jump.
It took me 16 days to complete this work. To be fair, I spend a lot of my spare time on my computer, and I consulted online hints for a few of the more difficult challenges. (Spoiler - click to show)One of them was where you are in a virtual video game, where, in order to make progress in the story, you have to score at least 2000 points. I thought that once you reach that goal, you were done with the video game, on to the rest of the story. No way. I didn't realize until near the end of Inside Woman, that I would need to make the maximum score in the video game in order to win an important object, which was necessary to complete the story. I knew what the object was, but I had searched the entire game area for it, and had no idea where it was. Another was a wooden footbridge/walkway--it was supported by steel cables, with one of the main cables broken, so you could not cross the bridge holding a large and necessary item. I kept thinking that I had to find something stable and strong to connect the cable to, in order to bring the bridge fully up out of the water. The solution, which I found out by accident when I reached 'try anything mode', turned out to be to have someone hold it up--that worked, but I came away from that puzzle feeling incredulous. But, you know, all great games have head-slappers like this.
One thing Andy's games all seem to have in common--which may be more of a good thing than bad--is that he has a very unassuming approach in writing. Very vernacular, which can put some off, but it's also 'comfortable', especially if you are used to his games (I've very recently played his Heist, and Enemies, both of which I thought were very good). However, his spelling and usage still needs some attention--even some words were left out. But given a game with such a broad scope (though a z-machine format!), he probably didn't have much time for testing and/or editing. The implementation was very good, though not perfect. For instance, (Spoiler - click to show)There is a very necessary container in the game that you should keep with you to store some important items. But you wouldn't think that just by taking something out of it, you could make the other contents fall out, as well--which was annoying. Also, when you are to place certain items onto certain designated places, make sure you consistently use the full terminology suggested by any nearby sign, such as 'put Y on position 2'--the story might understand 'put Y on 2', but you will run into an annoying bug if you continue in that format.
In a word, expect to be challenged. I came to this game much like the way I approach what I hope to be a good novel--and was quite satisfied. Clearly, much of the story is puzzle-driven, and there are time-sensitive parts--you will need to save and restore generously, which for me is not a bad thing. I think the author gives the PC plenty of time to do what is necessary.
I thought this was great science-fiction. I even emailed the author to compliment him on his games; he told me that he was glad I enjoyed them and remarked at the good reviews they were getting lately, but also that his work left him with little time to write more. Still, I told him if he had the time to write another great game like this one, he would find some eager players. I would be one.
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