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Adventure Strikes When You Least Expect It Reviews
Author: Dylan Clarke
Date: 2006
ADRIFT 4.0



Reviewed by phkb

(warning: some spoilers below)

I'm not sure what to make of this game. If I had to pick a category out of the air, it would have to be "Demo Game". It is by no means polished or coherent. There is no "story" to speak of, unless falling out of your apartment and escaping from another one counts as story. And so many story points are unexplained. Why is the apartment you fall into so moldy, cold and dark? Who owned this place, and why did they let it fall into such disrepair? Why is there a crate in the middle of the living room? So many questions begging for an answer, that I can only assume the author was just playing around with Adrift to see what they could do. A learning exercise.

Viewed in this light, the game is not bad. Not good, but certainly not bad. There's some poor grammar in places, a lot of things that aren't described (like the hole in the ceiling you must have fallen through), some bizarre red herrings (a wolf puppet? what the...), and some bad GTV (why on earth would I ever think of vanishing the cheese?). But the game can be completed, at least.

The descriptions are short but mostly reasonable. I just wasn't sure what angle the author was taking. Such a dark, dank apartment seems to say "Horror is just a step away", but apart from the mold, there is nothing scary here at all. Your leg keeps hurting, which kind of adds a bit of tension, but to no end. You don't die if you take too long. You don't have to try and fix yourself, and you don't get restricted movement. In the end you just end up ignoring the message.

The end game doesn't give any satisfaction to any of these issues. Nothing is answered. You're just whipped away to hospital and that's that. 

As for suggestions: Firstly, the author could add descriptions for the items that are described in the room description but are not implemented (try looking at anything in the bathroom other than the window). Secondly, the background of the apartment needs to be explored. Why is it abandoned? Did someone die here? Where did the crate come from? These story points would really add to the game and make a resolution more satisfying. The GTV issues could be addressed in some ways by making the puzzles more logical, or cluing things up better. Why should I want to varnish the cheese? Why can't I just throw the can of varnish through the window? 

With a bit of work on the story, this game has some potential for being interesting. At present, it just comes across as being a test of the Adrift system by a new author.

2 out of 10 


Reviewed by David Whyld

This game is 4 KB in size. Now normally I don't really give two hoots about how big a game is, but when you see something released as a full game that is 4 KB in size, you really have to wonder. I mean… 4 KB? That's, like, shorter than some games I've played which were written in an hour. It's shorter than the introductions to other games I've played. Heck, I might even have written more than 4 KB worth of random responses to various off topic questions in games before. Not by any stretch of the imagination is 4 KB a full game.

But… but let's try it anyway. Let's try to pretend that someone has had the ingenuity to actually write a proper game and manage to confine it to a mere 4 KB of memory. It could happen. It could. Really…

But does it?

Well…

As you might expect, there's very, very little gameplay here. The premise of the game (if you can call it that) simply involves you falling out of your bedroom window, landing in an adjoining flat and then trying to find your way out again. That's about the game in a nutshell. There are a few puzzles to solve along the way, though guess the verb and trying to read the author's mind hamper almost all of them. One puzzles involves me trying to spray some cheese (don't ask) in order to make it possible for me to smash a window with it. Now unless there's something about spraying cheese to make it significantly harder that I'm not aware of - and I don't think there is as I like cheese as much as the next man and sure I would have heard something - I'm not entirely sure how anyone was expected to figure out that puzzle. For that matter, I wonder, why can't I just smash the window with the spray? Or kick it? It's only a window, after all. I shouldn't need to go around spraying cheese to harden it in order to make an effective window-breaking weapon.

The game's linear. Painfully so. Then again, with so few locations to play around with (five in total) and so little of the scenery implemented (just the bare basics), it's not very surprising that you're forced along such a linear path. The majority of the game (all of ten minutes play time, including checking the Generator a few times to get me past the worse guess the verb and read the author's mind issues) is simply a case of do one puzzle, get an item, do another, get another item, do another puzzle… and so on. Aside from the spraying the cheese puzzle, there's nothing remotely challenging. Figuring out I needed to use the crowbar to open the crate was hardly a brainteaser, and once I had the saw and there's that locked door over there, well…

Of course, you're hampered by the game's tight restrictions and insistence on doing things the way it wants you to do them. The crowbar, for example, can be used to open the crate but there's no real explanation given for why you can't use it to smash the door open, or break the bars in the windows. The saw can be used to open the door, yet why can't it be used on the bars in the windows or any of the other doors? Then again, is there really nothing more to the game than you trying to find your way out of someone's apartment? As far as games that offer something new and challenging, this clearly is not one of them. In fact, this seems much more like a test game someone wrote when he was bored and uploaded five minutes later. It's not been tested. Or, if it has, it's time to shoot the tester 'cos he sure didn't do a very good job.

And where oh where did the hole that I fell into the apartment through disappear to? Is it some kind of magical hole that vanishes the moment some poor chap falls through it? At the very least I ought to be able to take a look at to see if there's a better game lurking on the other side.

I suppose I should finish off by saying that the writing was a step up from the usual stuff in games of this calibre, i.e. it didn't suck as badly as the rest of the game. In fact the game itself wasn't as entirely horrible and without redeeming features as this review might otherwise indicate. It's never going to go down as a game people will look back on fondly and count themselves lucky to have played, but it's certainly not the unplayable mess I've seen by certain other people with their first efforts. It's just, well, not really a proper game at all. When you spend longer writing a review of a game than you did playing it (in fact, I probably spent longer writing this review than the author did writing the actual game), you really have to question the definition of it being a "full" game. I'll grudgingly give this one a 3 out of 10, but next time upload the game to where it belongs. The demo section.

3 out of 10
 


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