Wednesday, October 8, 2008

IFcomp 08 reviews: Berrost's Challenge

This is a review of a game in the 2008 Interactive Fiction Competition. This text is so spoilers do not show up in the RSS feed. That would be less than polite. The feed is set to truncated, not full. You should only be seeing this paragraph, not the review itself. By the way, there are SPOILERS in the review. I repeat, SPOILERS. Do not read on if you do not want spoilers. You have been warned.

Berrost's Challenge
by Mark Hatfield

OK, so upon reading the intro and >about, I have several bodes-not-well items: wall of text intro, five items hidden in the village, inventory limits and - ye gods - "sleep and hunger daemons." You're bloody right I can't abide them; this is 2008.

Oh, how nice, you reduced my Wit score by 1. I can play this game too! See, I just reduced your game score by 1!

Seriously. There's innovation, and there's gimmickry. Hint: Displaying my bulk and weight as fractions in my character description is not innovation. If you must do this, at least do it behind the scenes.

So that got me off to a nice grumpy start. Apparently my curmudgeondom set my Concentration, whatever that is, to 100%. All the better to notice the multiple grammatical errors, portable objects in room descriptions, daemon message overload, etc.

Oh. I died by jumping into the well. It took me THREE press-any-keys for you to tell me this.

Suspecting I wasn't giving this game a fair enough chance, I decided to play it in earnest, gritting my teeth through the errors and genericness and badness. I immediately realized it was going to take me way longer than two hours to do this. So maybe there's a spectacle of an ending that makes up for all of the rest. What I saw was merely generic quest stuff. Which might fly ten years ago, but then again, probably not.

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