Thursday, September 20, 2007

Interactive Fiction review: Inevitable by Kathleen M. Fischer

OK, last night, as I was relaxing, I finished Inevitable (the version submitted to Spring Thing 2003), a game by Kathleen M. Fischer I have been playing all week. Here is my spoiler-free review of the game: The puzzles are not very well designed. There is, for example, one puzzle where you have to do five different steps (two in "Easier" mode) to solve the puzzle. If you don't do any of the steps correctly, the puzzle is not solved. The game does not give you any hint you have done any of the five steps, and one description of an object is poorly written, making it very difficult to solve the puzzle in question.

If the description of that one object was better written, I would have been able to solve the one puzzle without cheating. And yes, the post-SpringThing version of this game has the same problem with the item description in question.

I had to resort to using txd to decompile the game to solve this one puzzle.

Once this puzzle was solved, I was able to finish the rest of the game within 30 minutes.

The game feels rushed, particularly near the end. It starts off with giving you wonderful puzzles, and memories that give the game real flesh, but then degenerates in to a very frustrating puzzle-fest, where you have to solve about 10 puzzles without being able to visit very many new locations when solving each puzzle, and where you get no real new memories after solving these same puzzles.

A lot of the mythology of the universe of this game is completely unexplored. For example, (minor spoiler) we never get a hint about why the bad guys massacred so many people in the past; something which I felt should have been answered in the game. I also did feel the story, as I was finishing the game, was not very compelling.

On a 1 to ten scale, I give this game a five. Minus three points for poor puzzle design, and minus two points for not having the story in the conclusion of the game as compelling as the story near the beginning of the game.