IFReviewed by Andrew Plotkin on 2006-06-25 07:54
I feel like I should just post the author's intro here, without commentary. But that wouldn't get the point across. In brief:
"Originally, it began as a game trying to emulate So Far: psychological, allegorical, with a non-traditional plot. However, time constraints [...] didn't allow time enough for me to do what I wanted with the plot."
Yeah, pretty much. I felt somewhat queasy at being imitated, all the way through this game. I was only somewhat relieved to read the above note (when I finished) and discover that at least the author did it deliberately.
Perhaps I am jaundiced, because I know exactly what I was intending with So Far (and "Weather"), so I know what went into them. Unfortunately, not much seems to have gone into "Forms", in spite of an apparently allegorical cast to the ending. But this wasn't backed up by anything in the game. Did I miss anything? I can only judge from what I saw, so I must judge it not very good.
Three puzzles, more or less. The first seemed to be a cut-down version of a more interesting plan (I was expecting the dials to do more than they did.) The second was very arbitrary, with an object breaking for no apparent reason to keep the plot in line. Hmph. The third (final) puzzle was reasonable.
(Also there's this acknowledgement to "my girlfriend, Nicole Maxwell..." Well, no wonder! You have to have years of pent-up misery to write something like So Far. Drop that gink, Nicky, it'll be the biggest favor you ever did him. Now, I'm always free for dinner; drop by the DC area, we can eat Indian food and talk about the future of interactive literature...)
(Seriously: I think the lesson here is, take whatever time the work needs. Not everything needs to be entered in the competition. (I came up with the greatest idea for a game, on Sunday, Oct. 20th... Haven't decided if I'm going to write it.))
(If you do decide you must make a particular deadline, don't sacrifice quality for speed. Just work more. Sleep less. Food is unnecessary. Homework is unnecessary. Relationships are... uh, never mind.)