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Reviewed by Denk
Alien Diver is a very untraditional IF game, which combines some standard IF conventions with a card/dice game. Thus many things are randomized and thus different each time you play.
The backstory is fairly simple: On a scouting mission you crash-land on an ocean planet. Even though your spaceship can travel underwater, it must first be repaired. Before you can do that you must first find your ship, which you floated away from while you were unconscious. You must also collect four coloured fragments before you can repair your ship.
You must do all this within some time limits. Your ship is slowly being destroyed by the ocean if you don't repair it soon, and you may run out of oxygen soon too. There are ways to get more oxygen, but to my knowledge, there is nothing to prevent the ship from being destroyed, unless you manage to repair it.
So the gameplay consists of you racing around the ocean, trying to find your ship and trying to obtain these coloured fragments, while avoiding deadly sea creatures.
The coloured fragments can be obtained from the many alien cubes scattered around the ocean. A cube can only be used once. You can "roll dice" to try to and match the power number of a cube. If you fail you get a single crafting fragment (different from the coloured fragments). If you succeed you get three crafting fragments and you can then extract a blank card from the cube. The cube is then inactive and cannot be used again. Whenever you extract a blank card, the extracted blank card has a sea creature symbol. If you encounter a sea creature you can play this card to help you, though you can also attack it in a more traditional way.
But you might want to save your blank cards for something more important. If you find an active cube and you have a blank card, you can craft a card. The crafted card will then have the same power number as the cube you crafted it on. Again the cube becomes inactive.
You can then play a crafted card next time you find an active cube, though the power number of the card must match the power number of the active cube. If it does, you obtain a coloured fragment with the same colour as the cube. You must collect four different coloured fragments before you can repair your ship.
The built-in map feature of ADRIFT 5 is crucial for this game, since the map would be a pain to map because of the many curved connections. Thus it is highly recommended to download the game if you have a Windows computer (the map of the online runner is not very flexible and on Android you cannot display the map). However, the map is not randomized, so it should be possible to map it if you want to.
It is hard to explain but this game is a lot of fun. The difficulty level is not high, but you may need to restart a few times until you have settled on a good strategy.
If you don't mind strategy elements in IF games, I can highly recommed this one.
Reviewed by Lumin
This is basically all one big board game. There are alien cubes scattered across the map that you have to find and unlock with dice rolls, and occasionally you're interrupted by alien sea creatures. Oxygen and the hull integrity are depleting with each move and luck and a good grasp on the mechanics are both a factor if you want to succeed. I could easily envision this as a board game with some dice and a deck of cards to draw from for encounters.
Unfortunately, as an IF game the implementation is a little rough. I didn't find much by way of actual bugs, but there's a lot about accessing the information you need that could've been streamlined, as well as some issues with balance. The game world felt disappointingly sparse as well. A game about crashlanding in an alien ocean immediately got my attention, making me think of Subnautica. But there's no flavor text or anything of the sort here, you're just moving about on a blank grid. Maybe if this hadn't been for a contest there would have been more time to add that sort of detail though. I'd certainly be happy to play a more expanded and polished version of this.
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