Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Wyldkynd Project, by Robert DeFord

I tested mostly the first half of this game, leaving the second half open. Unfortunately I lost touch with Robert about when he solidified the first part, and I worried he wasn't going to get the second done. I was thrilled to receive a mail he'd entered the Comp, and I'm glad this game got an above-average score.

It's too bad the Mac Alan interpreter didn't work, because this game deserved more votes. Hopefully people weren't intimidated by An Unusual Language. I'd say I like ALAN a bit better than QUEST. It feels like a good lightweight Inform. I'd like to see more games with it as I thought Anssi Raisannen's Ted Paladin game was a nice success. While Inform 7 is in my opinion superior to ALAN and more flexible, there's a whole lot to be said for a lightweight language people don't feel they have to learn back to front.

As for Wyldkynd, it's a bit fantasy, a bit sci-fi, and it's got some neat nature elements, too. I remember being frustrated when I got stuck (whether with an early build or with the Gargoyle interpreter) more because I wanted to see what happened next than because *&^%. Robert usually fixed it pretty quickly, and I was able to move on. I got to where you find the nexus to Heartha, the mirror world, and I ran out of gas.

I liked having that dual experience of explored and not. Before I'd always tried to test through to the end, but I can see that it's fun either way--and Robert certainly found enough testers and resources to polish the second half of the game.

Robert DeFord has made a lot of jumps from his previous games, and I liked the magic system, which felt more useful and purposeful than in Bibliophile. The writing was never intended to be High Literary, which is fine by me, since I often need a break from the more introverted writing I like, and this game filled that. If he makes another jump in his next game like he did for this--with polish and plot and ambition--it will be a juggernaut.

If you overlooked this game in-comp, I'd suggest giving a try. It's interesting enough even with a walkthrough handy, and it's good to see an old-school puzzle like with the web etc. make it through.

I may be biased. I've been able to ping ideas of Robert, and he's helped me a lot. It's good to have that relationship with other writers, and I've found a lot like this in the community. It's especially nice to see a long term goal completed--and completed well.

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