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

All Things Devours

Author: half sick of shadows
Language: z-code
Score: 8

It's hard to say anything specific about this game without spoiling it. At its core is a brilliant game-encompassing puzzle, though I felt the writing could have done with a bit more polish.

As far as plot and puzzles go, the game is effectively one big puzzle. It's up to the player to get all the pieces to fit. Because of the nature of the game, All Things Devours (an somewhat awkward title taken from the line of a poem) violates rule 3 of the IF "Bill of Players Rights", which says that the player should "be able to win without experience of past lives". But in this case, an exception can be made. This is not a traditional treasure search. Instead, it's a game of planning and strategy, where each failed attempt makes your reevaluate and refine your methods.

As good as the gameplay was, I found the writing to be sparse in places. Most rooms were little more than a cursory description followed by a vanilla listing of doors (as many as five in one room). Most of these doors had little to differentiate them besides direction and, in some cases, numbering (first door, second door, etc.). I think the author should have tried for a better way of making each door a bit more distinct (by style or color perhaps) and for aesthetics, incorporated them a little better into the room description, rather than listing them one after another like a roster of room contents. My poor American hands were not happy at typing "Deutsch" over and over in order to manipulate the Deutsch lab door.

The only technical fault I could find was that the Basement Landing mentioned the north door twice. Other than that, everything seemed to function flawlessly.

I really did have a blast while playing this game. Everything fit. In fact, my only disappointment was that the author had taken an idea for a puzzle I had, made it even better, and expanded it into a whole game. Though I did get hung up early on, and later with the second stage, once I figured out the secret, I had a great time experimenting and seeing what to do next.

Final score: 8

High point:
When I realized that this game was effectively a puzzle I had conceived for one of my own works-not-in-progress.

Low point:
Being clueless what to do next, just before I discovered what the prototype actually did. After that, it was very engaging.
These pages Copyright © 2004-2008 — Contact me at stone@rps.net