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Cursor  Member Reviews - ECTOCOMP 2010

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  Disappointing and annoying, Wed 24th Aug 2011
By David Whyld - See all my reviews

"All Hallows Eve" by Albaniua

After an introduction that looked like it may never end – did I really count eight separate screen clearings or do I just think I did? – the game finally begins. You're out trick and treating, dressed up as a zombie ninja cat (as you do) and an old witch turns you into an actual zombie ninja cat. But she's clearly not all bad because if you find her some candy before midnight, she’ll turn you back to your human form.

From annoying pauses in location descriptions (seriously, they grow tiresome *very* quickly) to huge gaps between lines of text (most location descriptions were nothing more than half a dozen lines long but due to the weird line spacing would often take up a full screen) to typos, grammatical errors and capitals not being used where they should, this was a pain to play. It bore all the hallmarks of a game written by a first timer and is the kind of thing I keep hoping ADRIFT left behind years ago. While I can appreciate it was written under strict time constraints (three hours), it’s still a hard game to find anything positive to say about, and most of what's wrong with it – the pauses and weird line spacing being at the top of the list – would be irritating in any game.

1 out of 5

"Tenebrae Semper" by Seciden Mencarde

This began with a frustrating little puzzle that prevented me leaving the start location until I had all my stuff, while quietly remaining silent on exactly what I needed to take with me. It was a puzzle made worse by ADRIFT’s buggy item carrying limits that prevented me picking up certain things – like a pen – because my hands are full. Oh, and if you pick up a pen, then drop it (as I did when experimenting with what items were necessary), you can’t pick the pen up again. Nasty “puzzle”. I ran into the same problem later on in the game when I returned to the room and then was prevented from leaving because one of the required items was no longer in my possession.

There were other annoyances – items listed in the room description not being examinable, typos, misleading exit messages, guess the verb and the like – but it’s easier to forgive these considering the three hour time constraint imposed by the comp. Nicely written, too, which was an added bonus.

Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out most of the time what I was meant to be doing. Even with the Generator open and actively cheating, it was difficult to guess what my next move should be and often I’d be left stranded in one location with no idea of what I was meant to do next. On the occasions when I did manage to make progress, this was usually done after trying every single thing I could think of doing. Not so much solving a puzzle as hitting upon the solution by sheer persistence.

Overall this seemed a little too ambitious for a three hour camp and the rough edges really showed.

2 out of 5

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