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

Blue Sky

Author: Hans Fugal
Language: z-code
Score: 5

Wander around Santa Fe, New Mexico and take in the sights. That's really all you'll do, however.

6 Blue Sky titles itself as "An Interactive Tourist Trap". It's hard to argue with that description either, as the game doesn't go far beyond the PC visiting various locations in a subset of Santa Fe. The "plot" involves trying to catch up with your tour group as it moves from landmark to landmark. And so you face a series of roadblocks; after each, you think you will finally be able to reintegrate with your group, and yet somehow they elude you. The downside is that in many cases, it's not clear where you are supposed to go or what you are supposed to do if you get there. I found the writing style to be fair, giving at least some of the atmosphere of the location, with only a couple of typos. The self-desc was Inform default, which was disappointing.

5 The technical aspect of Blue Sky was somewhat weaker. Most frustrating was the city map. It was filled with non-reciprocating exits without any clue as to why this would be the case. The result is a layout that's surprisingly difficult to navigate and map despite its low room count. There were a couple of exits mentioned in one room that weren't implemented at all, not even with simple refusals. Finally, I found myself seemingly stuck according to the hints I consulted, because I had solved two puzzles out of order (one of these puzzles, in addition, I consider rather unfair). It turns out there was another solution, but the hints didn't mention it and no walkthrough was included with the game.

5 The small scope of the game did not quite make up for the confusing layout of the rooms. I found myself depending on a map which should not really have been necessary for such a low room count. But worse was that I travelled the map not in search of solutions to puzzles, but looking for puzzles to solve.

Final score: 5

High point:
Getting into the church, even though the start of this puzzle chain seems wholly unrelated to the task.

Low point:
Discovering the game was apparently unwinnable because I'd solved a puzzle out of order (llama before sipa). I only found out later that this was not true.
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