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About the StoryIt's been a decade since you graduated, but now it looks like you're going to have to solve one more Ditch Day stack.
Nominee, Best Game; Nominee, Best Individual NPC; Nominee, Best Use of Medium - 2004 XYZZY Awards
A review by Emily Short. "Mike Roberts' 'Return to Ditch Day' is a full-size, medium-difficulty puzzle game, and a very strong example of this type. The map is large, and much of it is open to unrestricted exploration from the outset of the game. There are a hundred and fifty points to be earned. There's a story that provides ample motivation and context for your behavior, but lets the puzzles shine through. This is a game you can settle into for a while."
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A review by Valentine Kopteltsev. "Having such great characters in one's game, it'd be rather stupid to stick to the old trusted treasure hunt, instead of providing them with a decent story. Without getting into much detail, let me assure you -- there is a good plot, and, which is even better, an optional semi-mystery by-plot. The puzzles needed to be solved in order to complete the main story line are kept on the easy side. The player never remains without guideance, as the "tactical subgoals" always are formulated clearly."
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
My only negative comment about the game is that the plot feels, well, rather geeky. Overall, I enjoyed this game quite a bit, but because of its many math, science, and tech puzzles I wouldn't recommend it to the average player. You don't really need to know much about math, science, and tech to solve the puzzles (your character refreshes his memory by consulting various references in the game) but you will enjoy the game more if you like these topics.
The introduction is especially good. Reminding me of the hidden temple sequence in Lydia's Heart, you have to race another tech firm to pitch a product to a southeast asian company. You have to deal with both fidgety technology and a decaying factory.
The game then makes a huge transition to Caltech, scene of the original Ditch Day Drifter. As then, you must explore the campus, solving stacks, reading memos, going in the tunnels, going to the store and kitchen.
But boy, the world has changed! Crowds of independent NPCs, immersive room descriptions, real conversations, etc.
The game has a fairly unique premise: your character must learn (or relearn) about physics and engineering to crack the code on a high-tech box. Puzzles are drawn from real-life techniques, and you learn a lot; however, the game is adapted for those with no real-life experience. You convert IP addresses to hex form and back; you learn about quantum coherence and decoherence; you learn how to use network analyzers and even cherry pickers.
I enjoyed the beginning more than the rest of the game, but that's because open nonlinear games often intimidate me.
I recommend this game for everyone. Even if you're not great at IT, like me, the game treats it like any other 'magic system', telling you how to use things. It's fun.
Featured on Radio K #7, June 12, 2016
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Recommended ListsReturn to Ditch Day appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Highly polished gameplay by Emily Short
Games that are exceptionally well-tested and smooth to play. They may not always be the most original works, but the implementation is strong, offering minimal frustration with guess-the-verb and other common flaws.
Great games in a mostly realistic setting by MathBrush
These are games that for the most part don't contain magical elements or futuristic technology. This includes games where there might be magic or futuristic technology, but you don't know until the end. So several of these games do...
Games of Infocom quality and length (or better) by MathBrush
These are games that are as long as an Infocom game (i.e. Shade would be too short) and are as good quality (so Colossal Cave Adventure, though fun, is out). By quality, I mean the kind of things accomplished by numerous testers: few...
PollsThe following polls include votes for Return to Ditch Day:
IF guide for non-IF software by frofroggy
I'm looking for IF with puzzles that are solved by literacy in a non-IF software tool. The story should communicate an experience that the user might have a hard time experiencing themselves without the IF providing a guiding narrative...
A poll for games which aren't normally on polls. by Pinstripe
There are some games which are ubiquitous. A poll for funny, happy games? Lost Pig will be there. A poll for beautiful, dramatic games? Photopia always makes it. Conversational games? Galatea. Artsy games? Pretty much anything by Zarf....
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