Author: Dave Bernazzani
Your ship has crashed upon a remote planet and now it's up to you to
get yourself resuced. Oh, and you also have amnesia. Yes, they're two
of the most cliched plot points used in IF, but they wouldn't be so
overused if they weren't so loved, right?
The text is generally fair, with a few trouble spots. The main
paragraph of the room description inside the spacecraft weighs in at 15
lines on an 80 character-width display, followed by a separate 1 line
paragraph for the supply closet. This is far, far too long for almost
any room, especially one with such limited interactivity as this.
Compared to how much there is too see, there's surprisingly little to
do in this room. It should be broken out into at least two
separate rooms to avoid overwhelming the player with text. Beyond this
room, my complaints on prose mainly concern inconsistent capitalization
(a room named "spacecraft Engine" and the game text "The yak bucks and
does not allow you to take the Splinter out"). There were also a
considerable number of scenery objects outside of the ship (and even a
few portable objects) that get by on Inform's default description.
Identity's puzzles range from fairly basic (the shovel, the guard) to
clever (the yak, the radio). The last one, particularly, requires some
close attention to details and a spirit of experimentation. Which is
why I had to use the hints.
The story is certainly the weakest aspect of this game. The PC's
amnesia, besides being a much overused plot device, inevitably
contributes nothing at all to the experience. Identity's only goal,
after all, is to escape this pleasantly backwater planet, not to regain
your lost memory (in fact, even in the end the game is vague on whether
or not all of your amnesia is dispelled). So why then is title drawn
from this minor, unimportant facet of the plot? My advice to the author
is to either drop it entirely or work on integrating it more fully into
the story and the puzzles.
Instead of a score, Identity implements a "percentage complete"
status, which is a clever and interesting concept that is unfortunately
somewhat wasted on such a short game. (Are there other games that use a
percentage-type scoring system? I'm not immediately aware of any.) As
far as technical issues go, there were a few that jumped out at me. The
specimen jar description shows an empty space for its contents. While
not a bug, the interface system for the "COMPUCOM" and the radio felt
unnatural to me. Am I giving verbal orders to a radio and my watch?
This is my first of the three "just awoke from cryo-sleep" games in
this comp. Even after all this time I'm a sucker for a
sci-fi-crash-landing-survival game in the vein of Planetfall or
inevitable. But this game wasn't quite what I expected based on its
intro. While there is some interaction with machines at the beginning
and end, there's no encounters with advanced alien technology. Okay, so
my initial impressions were wrong. Still, the game completely lacks any
sense of urgency. There's no sense of danger and no feeling of
deadline. In fact, this planet is fairly pleasant, if a little
backwards. The yaks are friendly and the natives (apparently human?)
are social and quite helpful. Overall, the puzzles are good, but the
game as a whole doesn't quite hang together.
Finding myself in the cryotube brought back memories of one of my
really old unfinished WIPs.
Dying because I'd left the hatch in the pod open. You'd think in the
future an escape pod would have a proper failsafe mechanism. At least
the game had an auto-save feature.