IFComp 2011: Andromeda Awakening, by Marco Innocenti

This is the eleventh game I am reviewing for the 17th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition; if you’re a judge, don’t read on unless you have already played and reviewed the game yourself.

Blurb: The most important discovery in history. And then, the whole world goes crumbling down. Armed with but a computer and an expired railway ticket, how can one expect to save the day when the doomsday clock has begun ticking…?

There are some stylistic flaws, and occasional outright incorrect usages, that give me an impression the author might not be a native English speaker, although the prose is solid most of the time and occasionally inventive, particularly in describing the quality of different types of light. In spite of some language difficulties, the prose feels effective and descriptive, and the implementation depth is high enough that there’s a lot to encounter, so good job on many of the technical aspects. There weren’t any world-state bugs that I could find, although I expected the description of the big important door to change once it became openable; the things closest to bugs that I found were unintuitive phrasings for a couple of actions.

In terms of pacing and length, though, this is not quite Comp material. It sprawls insanely, giving a good feeling of the grandeur of the underground world, but there’s a lot of walking around and a lot to keep track of. The “puzzle-width” at most times is pretty good, in that there are usually several but not an insane number of concurrent problems to solve. But I ended up hitting the walkthrough a lot, because some of what I was supposed to do seemed kinda unintuitive.

There’s a lot of good craft in this one (although, honestly, transparently cribbing the ending to 2001?), but it’s a bit long, with a couple of easy places to get stuck, and some slightly clunky writing. Nonetheless, it’s the most promising thing I’ve seen so far.

Rating: 7 (8 if the field gets too thin as the top)

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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