Friday, April 11, 2014

Adventures of a Hexagon, by Tyler Zahnke

Adventures of a Hexagon is a brief HTML game with maybe 20 choices. It features a polygon who jumps out of his geometry book. I have to admit I'd like to write an Inform game that is truly 2-d. I generally disable up and down without a good reason, but there's a lot of possibility to riff on mathematical stuff. For instance, I read a book once wondering how a square's digestive track would look, in response to Flatland.

By the way, Flatland really is a classic book, and it's a quick read. I think you'll like it even if you don't like math.

On googling the author, I'm impressed he has sat down to create as much as he has at his age despite his obstacles. It's a reminder to me not to let silly things get in my way.

The game, however, is a bit too brief. It avoids any plot lines that intersect with Flatland, but all the same, while it has cool ideas like Line Prison and the insta-deaths (which you can back out of quickly) are fun, there's not much to do besides figure how to hang out with other hexagons.

This is different from A. Square's adventures and own learning and alienation and even what one character does to turn him into a monster.

The author also seems to have missed a chance to do more with, say, the credits you spend for entering a museum. "Vertices" as currency is cute.

I think it's a good step up from earlier efforts by the author. They felt a bit experimental, with Reels feeling more like a multiple choice test and The Hallway Phantom being still a little too fourth-wall. This one does, too, but there's more of a story, and I imagine it'll keep building as he writes more.

But while it's good to have a try at something odd, this isn't really satisfying as a game. I'm still wondering how people react once they find their figures are gone from the book. I think there's a whole ton of stuff you could do about semi-2-d shapes in a potentially 3-d world, and the game doesn't look into enough.

For instance, an ending where you wimp out back into the textbook has humor possibilities. There could be a lot more to explore than just making it to safety. But games like this encourage me to try to try my own weird stuff. It makes for fun speed-IF at the very least. Hopefully we'll see more ambition from the author in the future.

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