Reiko's Ramblings and Writings

What I'm reading and writing about lately.

IFComp 2015 Review: I Think The Waves Are Watching Me

Posted by Reiko on November 24, 2015

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

I Think The Waves Are Watching Me
Author: Bob McCabe
Format: Windows

Windows executables are always dubious, but this one seems interesting, if very strange. It’s not a parser game; the interaction is only a matter of entering letters or numbers corresponding to the desired option. The island the PC is on is about to be inundated with tidal waves. The goal seems to be to escape using some kind of “MacGuffins” (precisely what they’re called in-game) which can be gathered from locations or people around the island’s town. Plus there’s a strange killer on the loose that kills with red lightning.

I played through more than once and found that there were some different random encounters that can happen, and different riddles, and of course the killer has a different name and attributes each time, so there’s a lot of replayability. It also has a handful of optional secret interactions that can benefit the PC, only a few of which I found.

I discovered eventually that there are 100 people total on the island (including the PC, if I counted correctly), so it’s not only a survival horror story, but a murder mystery that can be solved with careful observation and logic. Very clever.

So it’s kind of like a board game, but it’s also kind of sandboxy, in that there are multiple paths to winning. You can hunt down the killer, but you don’t have to; you can just escape at the end. You can focus on gathering MacGuffins, or making people like you, or uncovering secrets. With a better interface, this one could be quite a gem.

Time: 2 hours+
Scoring: base 7, -1 for Windows interface, +1 for randomization and replayability, +1 for secrets and achievements
Score: 8


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