IF Comp 2007 – Orevore Courier

I have started a few more games I haven’t mentioned here, and voted on a few more games than I have mentioned here, but I am getting a bit tired of writing reviews. So it goes. Also I guess my reviews are really more critiques, intended for the authors, rather than reviews intended for players. Or an odd and uneasy mix of both.

There are two other two games as well that I have started and want to finish. Since the contest end is drawing nearer and I have other things to do, I suspect I will just play those two and let the rest go. But we shall see.

Orevore Courier

I didn’t make any notes while playing this so I could easily be off on something.

I enjoyed this and found it funny. Not wildly funny, but funny enough to have gotten a laugh or two out of me.

You are on a spaceship in the security control room with a console and buttons. This is actually a one-room game, but because other things happen in the rest of the ship, because there are NPCs, and because you can affect some of what happens on the rest of the ship, you really may not notice it at all. Anyway, this is one one-room game where I didn’t mind the one-roominess.

Game play is fast and the game is short. It also seriously violates an old axiom, expressed in Graham Nelson’s “A Game Player’s Bill of Rights” (but an axiom that he didn’t originate and one has been agreed to by many), that a player shouldn’t be able to learn some things only by dying first (i.e. not winning). Pshaw. This game almost makes that old axiom look silly. However, if the game was any longer then it could be very annoying. So the author cleverly keeps it just short enough that dying over and over (or not winning over and over) to gain new information seems okay, or at least not too irritating. So this is an unforgivable game the player can easily get it into an unwinnable state, things must be done in the correct order, miss one and you’re dead or fail.

If you play this over and over you probably can win, as you find out more with each failure. I enourage you to play it over and over. What you do with the console board is crucial. Also I found most of the dying (or not winning) amusing and it seems to differ based on what you do. I always like games where the dying is creative and amusing. Since it’s only a game, why not?

Basically, within this small story and short game there are several branches. I only made it through to three failures before I decided to go to walkthru. My time is limited, but I sort of wish I hadn’t done that, because when I did do the walkthru I had several Ahas! In my opinion, good puzzles have Ahas! (I don’t think all puzzles can have Ahas!, but it nice when a preponderance do.)

One thing I thought should have been better explained, SPOILER ON was the copy and xmit buttons. I thought they were sending it outside the ship to home base or something. I really, really missed that. Maybe it said something somewhere — probably if I examined the buttons. However, because the bad stuff starts happening quickly, I never really had time to X all the buttons. I think that might be improved a tad. Yet, on the other hand, the game does have to be kept short. Maybe just another turn or two allowed for examining at the beginning. SPOILER OFF.

I found no bugs, everything seemed to work well, it has slightly off the wall sense of humor, good and pretty good puzzles, and several branches. Although the writing is sparse, I felt thought had gone into it.

Worth playing and I am giving it fairly high marks, but not top marks because it IS short and… unfair. 😉

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