The place to discuss the ADRIFT Interactive Fiction toolkit

The Adventure Of Space Boy!

A forum where new and old games can be reviewed - an alternative to the reviews on the Adventures page of the main ADRIFT site. Also the place to ask for any assistance if you are stuck playing a particular game.

Postby David Whyld » Sat Jul 09, 2005 9:58 pm

The Adventure Of Space Boy! by David Parish

I've always liked games about superheroes. In fact, I've even written one myself. So when I saw this announced on the ADRIFT forum, I quickly rushed over and downloaded it… and came away feeling very disappointed.

The Adventure Of Space Boy! follows is a game about a superhero whose cape has been stolen and his sidekick, Wonder Dog, is missing. You need to find four items that can mimic Space Boy’s powers and also discover what’s happened to his cape. Oh, and find Wonder Dog as well I guess although the game never actually says this.

It’s pretty obvious right from the start that this is a game by a newcomer and has undergone little or no testing at all. While we were all newcomers at one point, it’s still hard to overlook the sheer number of things missed out here that really should have been covered. Okay, asking for people to test your very first game when you don’t really know anyone to ask isn’t an easy thing, but even so…

You can get a good feel for the overall quality of the game right from the beginning. Very few of the items mentioned in the room descriptions can be examined, and the descriptions for the ones that are covered are minimal to say the least – most less than a line in length. Obvious commands are missing for a good number of the things I tried to do – I can’t use or turn on or turn off the computer. There's text displayed on the screen yet reading or examining the screen isn’t an option, nor is reading or examining the text itself. While this is a pain, it’s not impossible to figure out what needs to be done to read the text. However, when YOU SEE NO SUCH THING pops up almost every time I try and examine something, I'm left with the feeling that I'm probably not going to enjoy this game much.

Other locations contain other annoyances. The front yard lists a large platform to the east yet I never did figure out how to reach it as going east won’t work and GO PLATFORM hasn’t been covered. In fact, precious few commands are covered. And there are no hints. Never a good thing.

Inevitably, I got stuck and cheated by opening up the Generator (mercifully the game is unpassworded) and had a look there to see what I could find out. Not much unfortunately. Maybe I missed something but there seemed to be a serious amount of guess the verb involved with some of the required tasks (USE KEY ON DOOR is needed to open a door instead of OPEN DOOR or UNLOCK DOOR) and several items appear to be next to impossible to get hold of.

The writing is brief and to the point. It’s also very basic. Room descriptions tend to list what the player can see and nothing else. No effort is made to inject depth into the proceedings and it’s not long before I was getting tired of the game. At heart, this is meant to be a comical, light-hearted game about a superhero and his dog yet there's nothing very comical about it. More time needs to be spent on fleshing out the room descriptions, as well as the items in them, and some definite work needs to be done as far as the puzzles are concerned.

One of the game’s main problems is clearly down to the fact that it’s written by a newcomer who’s probably never written a game before and so has missed out on a good number of the things that are generally expected in a text adventure these days. Hopefully he can get these fixed in time for either his next game or a revised version of this one. He also needs to get someone to test his games beforehand, or at least do a more thorough job of testing them himself because there are some strange bugs in evidence that any half-decent betatester would have picked up on. The Parico Flight Boots start off closed (I'm not even sure how boots can ever be considered closed but anyway…) yet I'm still able to wear them. However, even whilst wearing them, with my feet actually in the boots, I'm able to close and then open them. Funnily enough, the game won’t let me fly if the boots are closed while I'm wearing them, yet will if they're open.

All in all, a game I couldn’t really recommend to anyone but here’s hoping the writer learns from his mistake and releases a better game next time round, and doesn’t just disappear like all the other newbies before him whose first game wasn’t very well received.

2 out of 10

Edited By David Whyld on 1120946346
David Whyld
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Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2004 5:15 pm
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