Saturday, March 14, 2015

Three Days of Night, by spaceflounder

This was another relatively quick game set in space--which seems to fit well with the sunrise theme. It feels relatively low-risk, and it's about gaining contact with intelligent aliens.

You have a few puzzles: to fix the Gagarin Base telescope, to avoid radiation exposure, and to get a generator running again. Neither of these are esoteric, and there are neat, suitable ways to die. But the problem is that I ran into trouble overthinking things--the big thing for me was assuming the book would have more things to look up than just the fuel canister. Since it was a book, I assumed it would teach me about more than just a code number, and I got frustrated looking things up in it. This isn't necessarily a huge thing, but it's one of those factors where a game seems much bigger than I guessed, then much smaller, and I need to step away and get perspective.

The number pattern puzzle also had me a bit confused--isn't the next prime after 13 17 and not 19?--and it seemed a bit trivial for an alien race to get in contact with you, and it went against the whole putting stuff together earlier. I also didn't think to push the corpse away right away, as "SEARCH CORPSE" told me I was being a bit morbid.

That said, the two different endings were neat. They explained what was happening, and the characterization was good. If I was surprised to see the corpses resurrected, it made sense, but only in a this-trope-was-used-before way.

I resorted to a bit of TADS trickery with X ALL to make sure I wasn't missing anything, as well as some hints. The descriptions were a bit sparse. When they are, the game relies on you figuring the right thing to do right away, but I didn't, and the story got strung out.

Still, the author did well when people were actually interacting (e.g. the annoying colleague felt well done). That bit is always hard, but maybe having more earlier could've made this game more memorable. But fortunately it is not memorable for the wrong reasons.

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