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About the StoryYou are ISIS, a space station. You have a crew of one. How long can you two keep each other company before someone snaps?
This is a short (10 minute) Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game. It is not explicit, but it can be categorized as horror. I.S.I.S. was originally created in 2013 for the iamagamer game jam, in which participants created games with playable female characters.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Liz England’s writing describes the pilot with such clinical distaste, cultivating a sense of how fragile a thing he is, passing through your airlocks, eating the food you synthesize, breathing your oxygen.
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Like the description says, the player takes the role of a space station. Basically, this game is 2001: A Space Odyssey from HAL 9000's perspective. If that simile didn't reach you, your cultural knowledge needs expanded.
As a space station, you perform menial tasks and maintenance as instructed by the solo human serving as your crew. That doesn't sound fun because it isn't. The author didn't intend it to be. I'll stop there.
Despite having the trifecta of good choose-your-own-adventure games, the game isn't perfect. Avoiding spoilers, there is a video recording described in the game and it's of a unique circumstance, something that would only happen once. Every time "Dave" plays the file, it's the same thing. Honestly, there should have been a variable in the game that made it play only once, then move to randomly play other video files that could have been watched over and over. There's a perfect example that would serve the exact same purpose that the author wanted: a ball game. (Spoiler - click to show)As the computer, you could choose to end the playback right before the "big play." There are other examples, for instance a soap opera with two random name arrays (Joe, Sam, Jack and Jill, Mary, Sue).
That doesn't sound like a big gripe, but in actual game play, it's jarring. The player must ask, "Why is the pilot re-playing the same video? How does he not know what happens in it?"
Randomized events would help this game dramatically. The crewman always deliberates about what he'll have for lunch, then asks for a pork loin to eat. Variables could have been used to easily create a list of different food that has the same intended effects, food like steak and chicken. Also, day after day, the pilot spills his drink in exactly the same way at exactly the same time.
All this combined made me wonder if we were actually stuck in some kind of time loop. Spoiler alert: you're not. Simple, randomized events of a common nature would have alleviated that misconception.
Despite all that, I gave the game four stars. I played it for quite some time, 664 days of game time to be exact. Then, I re-played it a few more times. That alone makes it a solid game by all measurements.
How long will you play it?
— Richard Sharpe
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PollsThe following polls include votes for ISIS:
For Your Consideration: XYZZY-eligible PCs of 2013 by Sam Kabo Ashwell
This poll is a place to suggest player characters from games released in 2013, who you think might be worth considering for Best Individual PC in the XYZZY Awards. Leave the name (or namelessness) of the PC in the comment on your vote....
This is version 3 of this page, edited by verityvirtue on 25 May 2017 at 5:29am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item