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

Ruined Robots

Author: nanag_d
Language: TADS2
Score: 4

While visiting your grandparents lakeside cottage, you can't help resist exploring the surrounding area. That's assuming that you don't die from lack of food.

The quality of prose ranges from tolerable to poor. Grammar, capitalization, and punctuation are thoroughly trampled underfoot, while surprisingly, spelling errors seemed to be restrained only to "batterys" and "human brian". At least from the portions of the game I saw. The tone of the game fluctuated in an almost schizophrenic fashion, sometimes being helpful by giving hints and then other times return text like the following:
>x stuff
Uninteresting stuff in the sink. That fact that it was superficially described as 'uninteresting' was supposed to have been a hint to you that it was not useful to examine it further. I hope this explanation is not going to further fuel your pig-headed insistence on ignoring the little hints we try to give you?
What puzzles I saw felt haphazardly thrown together. Worst of all was the glue stick, and item that if taken would cover your hands with glue and prevent you from getting anything else. At least, until you stick your hands in the fire to burn it off. Hey, if my hands were covered with glue, wouldn't that make it easier to take things? As for story, there may have been one that I didn't see before I quit playing.

This game would benefit greatly from some dedicated playtesters. It simply has a lot of bugs. Like the beaver, whose background antics multiply as the game goes on, leading to:
The robot beaver grabs a stick and sharpens it in an mouth like an electric pencil sharpener.

The beaver discusses the weather with itself.

The beaver lies on its back.

The beaver examines a small tree.

All of that was from a single turn.

There are far too many unimplemented objects mentioned in room descriptions. The initial room goes out of its way to describe a hole where the wall meets the floor, yet it's not implemented. Worst of all was Liffie's cottage. You can't examine the cottage because it's not implemented. You can't enter it for the same reason. If you try to go "in", the game's response is, "The door is locked." The door, of course, is also not implemented.

Some exits, especially around the lakeside, are non-reciprocal. If there was a reason, it was never stated.

The game also includes a hunger puzzle for no obvious reason. This is bad enough in a comp entry, but then for some reason, your level of hunger is displayed as a series of Japanese Yen symbols after the room description. As you play, the bar of Yen decreases to indicate your need for food. I can only assume it was attached to the room name in order to get it to show up in the status bar. The problem, of course, is that it also appears in the main session window whenever entering or examining a room. The reason for the stream of Yen isn't even explained anywhere. It wasn't until a post-comp discussion that someone revealed its purpose.

Despite the game's weak implementation, it's clear that someone put a lot of thought and work into this game, so I did not just dismiss it out of hand. I explored what areas of the world I could find and, as comp fatigue was settling in, I decided that what I had seen so far was probably representative of the game as a whole.

Final score: 4

High point:
None that I can recall.

Low point:
Inventory management leading to me getting glue all over my hands once again. Which meant I had to go back to my cottage and burn it off in the fire.
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