(none) Quintin Stone - Interactive Fiction Review
Interactive Fiction
Role-playing Games

Luminous Horizon

Author: Paul O'Brian
Language: Glulxe
Score: 9

The Earth and Sky trilogy comes to an end in this final installment. In this game, you can actually assume the identity of both siblings, and switch back and forth between them.

One nice thing about Luminous Horizons is how well the puzzles mesh into the story. You never feel like the puzzles are there just because the author had a great idea for a puzzle. Additionally, the game's hint system is delivered in-game, by discussing the situation with whichever sibling you're not currently playing. Because of these two particular aspects, and the fact that brute force allows you to bypass the majority of obstacles, the game to me almost felt "puzzleless" for the most part, though it isn't. The puzzles it does have are not presented in a typical "find another to solve while pondering this one" IF fashion. Instead, the obstacles are presented one after another with little exploration or back-tracking needed (or even allowed). The result is a very tight and streamlined comp entry that, perhaps, feels a little [i]too[/i] tight and streamlined. Still, it keeps the player focused and I can't say that's a bad thing. As for the text itself, I found it well-written and greatly appreciated the way Paul implemented distinctly different voices in the room descriptions based on whether you were playing Emily or Austin. It's the attention to details like that which separate a good game from a merely adequate game. On the other hand, I found the between-chapter "cut-scenes" somewhat jarring for their switch to past-tense from the standard IF present-tense used in the rest of the game. Clearly this was a deliberate aesthetic choice on the part of the author; just not one I can agree with.

I can't say I recall encountering a single bug or hiccup while I played. The PC-switching system worked quite well, as did the in-game hints.

This was a well-crafted finish to the Earth and Sky series. It tends to be very forgiving, and could even be recommended to beginners, except perhaps for the final two "puzzles", for which I found myself turning to the walkthrough.

Final score: 9

High point:
Smashing things as valid puzzle solution? I'm all over that!

Low point:
Being somewhat flabbergasted at the timing involved in the fight against fire and water.
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