Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

What I'm reading and writing about lately.

IFComp 2015 Review: The Sueno

Posted by Reiko on November 18, 2015

This is a review of a game from the 2015 Interactive Fiction Competition. Scoring criteria can be found here.

The Sueno
Author: Marshall Tenner Winter
Format: Glulx

First things first. The grammar nazi in me was cringing constantly at the formatting of the dialogue in this piece.

For instance, in this bit:
“Yes,” the doctor shakes your hand, “I’m Dr. Richard Lynch.”
“shakes” is not a type of speech, so the quoted dialogue should be separated from it by periods, not commas, like this:
“Yes.” The doctor shakes your hand. “I’m Dr. Richard Lynch.”

On the other hand, a dialogue descriptor was often capitalized after a piece of dialogue it described and also separated from it by commas. This visually starts a new separate sentence instead of completing the spoken thought. For example:
“You can go in now.” She instructs.
instead of:
“You can go in now,” she instructs.

Anyway, the story involves taking a new drug on a sleep study to examine lucid dreaming. The dream has two sections, a house and a town, but neither one is very interesting, really. Many locations have nothing interesting in them at all, and others exist only to hold an item. The “dream” command is used a few times, but somewhat inconsistently. The ending is rather muted, really. The big reveal arrives through an encyclopedia, for one, and then the ending text doesn’t even show what happens when the PC uses the new information.

It’s all far too low key considering the murderous butcher that shows up near the end of the game and follows the PC around. When he’s in the same room as the PC, he doesn’t even do anything for two or three turns, and even after that, he’s likely to miss the first couple times he attacks. That part is too easy, and then some of the puzzles are read-the-author’s-mind difficult. I used the walkthrough for the second half of the game and discovered that I’d completely bypassed an early puzzle, but this apparently didn’t make any difference later.

Time: 50 min
Scoring: base 7, -1 for dialogue formatting, -1 for thin implementation
Score: 5

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