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Paint!!! Reviews
Author: David Whyld
Date: 2004
ADRIFT 4.0



Score: 5 Otters


Reviewed by Cannibal

Very enjoyable! 

Paint was originally intended for a one-room competition but that was aborted due to a lack of entries. In fact, only two games emerged, The Last Hour and Paint - and you certainly couldn't find a bigger gap between the two. 

Initially, I thought that the one room concept would be impossible to work with (as a writer) and surely dull to play (as a player). Where is the fun in only describing events and characters and items in one room? Where is the fun in not being able to be lost in 100s of locations? Well, To Hell In A Hamper certainly showed the quality that can be produced in a one room adventure. And, with Paint, I feel there is a healthy second to such a benchmark classic. 

The premise of the story is typical Davidw material. You are in charge of a crew of dozy painters who have to paint an office. Sounds simple? Of course it's not, what would be the point? And, as with other Davidw outings, we have an array of puzzles from the sublime to the downright silly. This is tongue in cheek stuff and, unlike in some games, it really works here and I think that is because the initial scenario is plausible and credible and easy to imagine. It's madcap nonsense and all the better for it. There is no dark side or gritty edge to this game. It's a gang of painters doing up an office, Ealing comedy style, and contending with all kinds of madness. 

From the start, I enjoyed having a nosy around the office, looking out the window and then telling my crew to snap to it with the work. All seemed sane until a meteor crashed through the roof...oh, yes, it's that kind of game. 

I won't give too much away and you'll encounter the meteor very quickly. From that point on it's one loony encounter after the other. I enjoyed the game. In fact, I'm still enjoying the game, because I haven't finished the job, but I am damn well determined to...now, I've made some money from selling the meteor - I wonder if I can fix the desk with the stapler? Or even... 

8/10 

Recommended. 


Reviewed by Emily Short

Of the four games here, probably my favorite in terms of raw entertainment value, but also the one I most suspect of showing bugs under MacScare. In this game, you're the head of a paint crew hired to make over a shabby office. Your workmen are sloppy and lazy, your equipment is not the best, and you yourself (it's implied) are not so bright. Everything goes wrong that could possibly go wrong, not to mention a few additional events of which you would never have dreamed. 

What's good: this is another light-comedy/farce IF, somewhat in the vein of "To Hell in a Hamper" and "Gourmet". I like this sort of thing, especially as a break from more somber works. I wasn't quite as blown away by the writing of "Paint!!!" as the writing of "Gourmet", but I think that's largely a question of the narrative voice being one I sympathized with a little less. And the farcical events are a little more extreme. Still, it gets in some funny moments and isn't drab. 

What's more, it offers a lot of room for replaying. The events of "Paint!!!" will unfold no matter what you do, and your job is to optimize the situation as much as possible. I find this format fairly effective when it's done well: you're less likely to get totally stuck than in a purely win-or-lose type of game, you can enjoy playing around trying to find the variant endings, and so on. 

What is not so good: some of the puzzle solutions are a little on the odd side, and there are one or two that I doubt I would have come up with without hints from the author. Parts of the game are fairly timing-finicky, and in particular there are things that you can trigger if you do the right action at the right time, but you don't always have reason in advance to know that you should be doing them. For a one-room game, there are a surprising number of red herrings. Moreover, at least in my playthrough of the game, there were some objects that turned up more or less inexplicably, and some timed events that seemed a little off. From exchanging email with the author, I'm starting to suspect that these again are the result of MacScare errors rather than flaws in the game's programming, though I don't know enough to diagnose these in more detail. 

Also, I promised not to rant too much about parser flaws, but there are a few in here that are particularly bad, and that should have been patched over, because they create definite guess-the-verb situations. 

Finally, I mentioned that this kind of game design allows for lots of different fun endings. This is true, but I was actually a little disappointed by the specific endings to be found in this one. Mostly, they amount to being paid different amounts of money for finishing the job; more wacky variety would have been more entertaining. 

So I liked the concept and the writing but had some issues with the execution. This is one of those games that would be more fun if it were rereleased in a hardier form -- though, again, it's hard to say how much of that is the game and how much the interpreter I was using. (In fact, all the farce-IF I know of seems to have gone through phases of severe bugginess, even if it eventually wound up being rereleased in a fairly polished form. Maybe this is just a particular danger of the genre? Anything with lots of timed events is going to be trouble, I'm sure.) 


Reviewed by Greg Boettcher

I wish I didn't have to write a bad review of this game, for a number of reasons: 

* I've recently come to understand just how very much David Whyld has contributed to the ADRIFT community, writing reviews and maintaining a very helpful website, in addition to writing a huge number of games. 

* I recently took issue with David on r.a.i-f, and I don't want anyone to think I have anything against him, because I don't. I even wrote David an email to make sure there were no hard feelings. 

* David just made a cash donation to the Spring Thing, for which I'm grateful. 

* Finally, both of the previous reviews of this game (by Cannibal and Emily Short) were positive. 

Nevertheless, I'm not going to lie. I didn't like this game. Simply put, it's a comedy that didn't make me laugh. The intro says, "listen up fellers, and listen good . . . no using the floor as a convenient toilet because it's closer than the proper toilet . . ." Sigh. Well, if you just laughed, you'd better run out and play this game. If you didn't, it's probably better to try out a different David Whyld game instead. 

The premise is simple: you and your crew have to paint the office of Mr. Ostinolypakalopodopous. Naturally, complications arise, which include a meteor strike, a kidnapper, and a visit from Thor the thunder god. 

There's more crazy stuff going on in this game than in any other one-room game I know. But there's nothing that holds it all together. I like method in my madness, most of the time. I probably wouldn't be complaining about this if I'd found the game funny, but I didn't. 

The writing is mostly good, but sometimes the programming seems sloppy. For instance, there's a telephone that never rings, but you can answer it, and sometimes there's somebody to talk to. What, were they waiting on hold? 

The puzzles are problematic for me too. I'm not sure whether they're badly designed, or simply too hard for me. When I first played it, I there were certain challenges I just couldn't figure out, and I was never able to get a good ending. Then I recently discovered that the new version of the game comes with a walkthrough, so I tried it again, and -- well, the walkthrough contains a lot of things I never would have tried. On the other hand, maybe that's just me. 

Humor has been an essential part of all the David Whyld games I've seen so far. And comedy is a risky business; either a game makes you laugh, or it doesn't. In this regard I think Paint is less successful than, e.g., David Whyld's more recent game A Day in the Life of a Super Hero, which made me laugh quite a few times. So, if you want my recommendation, play Super Hero and/or Back to Life... Unfortunately first. Then try Paint!!! 


Reviewed by Laurence Moore 

(originally in SPAG #40  http://sparkynet.com/spag/backissues/SPAG40)

Paint was originally intended for a one-room competition but that was aborted due to a lack of entries. In fact, only two games emerged: TheLast Hour and Paint. You certainly couldn't find a bigger gap between the two.

Initially, I thought that the one room concept would be impossible to work with (as a writer) and surely dull to play (as a player). Where is the fun in only describing events, characters and items in one room? Where is the fun in not being immersed in hundreds of locations? Well, To Hell In A Hamper, another one-room Adrift game, certainly showed the quality that can be produced in a one room adventure. With Paint, I feel there is a healthy second to such a benchmark classic.

The premise of the story is typical of David Whyld material. If you're unfamiliar with his prolific work (and by prolific, I really do mean prolific, with 30 titles penned using Adrift) then you'll find the vein of comedy and silliness at its core. Personally, I don't really get comedy in IF. It takes quite a lot to raise a smile or even draw forward a laugh. So, for this game to have the money shot, it's definitely quite
special.

You are in charge of a crew of dozy painters who have to paint an office. Yep, that's it. Sounds simple, right?

Of course not -- this is IF. As with other Whyld outings, we have an array of traditional text adventure puzzles from the sublime to the downright silly. This is tongue-in-cheek stuff and, unlike in some games, it really works here. I think that is because the initial scenario is plausible, credible and easy to imagine. It's madcap nonsense and all the better for it.

From the start, and don't even try to pronounce your client's surname, I enjoyed having a nosy around the office, looking out the window and then telling my crew to snap to it with the work. All seemed sane until a meteor crashed through the roof...oh, yes, it's that kind of game. Interacting with your crew is vital in solving this game. They hold items you require and answers that you need. Other characters also pop in, including your client and a rather interesting female secretary. I won't give too much away but you'll encounter the meteor very quickly. From that point on it's one loony encounter after the other. I enjoyed the game. The witch doctor was my favourite encounter en route to completion. This is a tough game, but enjoyable, with enough clues -- some subtle, some less. I came across no bugs or parse errors.

A fun outing!

8/10
Recommended.


Reviewed by Duncan Bowsman

Playing for the first time is somewhat like walking into a mine field as the game's wacky events of varyingly high levels of improbability go off all around the hapless protagonist. Just like in a mine field, however, the triggers that would allow the player to set off most of the comedic bombs in this game are buried by its "Read the Author's Mind" style of puzzle structure. Even playing with the source code visible, I find myself fairly baffled as to how I was supposed to get from point A to point B in many situations-- or even how to start some of them.

Maybe the most annoying part is when I am asked if I have any meteor ore and get rejected with no time to respond, even when it is clear to all present that such material is (for reasons I'll leave vague) readily available.

The real loss here is that the situational humour doesn't withstand several playthroughs. Many of the funny parts won't even be seen by the player unless they can guess the verb and work out the byzantine pathways required in solving chains of sometimes interlocking, sometimes independent puzzles. Lack of player friendliness is a heavy weight on what might otherwise be a light-hearted (even sparkling), surreal sitcom.

Perhaps best played with a walkthrough handy.

 


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