IFComp 2011: The Guardian

Spoilers follow the break.

This is basically just a bunch of hack fantasy place descriptions strung together. You start in a graveyard, travel roughly northward through an almost entirely linear sequence of places with names like “Dunlak” and “Skymrod”, pick up a stone, return, and put it in a place that’s important for some reason. There are some references to a backstory involving a lover’s promise, but it didn’t make much of an impression on me, except that it all seemed a little precious.

The scale of movement is wildly inconsistent: at one point you have a room that’s a place where the path you’re on curves, at another point you have a room that’s an entire desert. Nothing fundamentally wrong with that, but the game doesn’t acknowledge the change in any way, and given the lack of anything to do in these rooms, the player winds up galloping through the vast and the small without distinction.

The author describes it as “A beginner level fantasy quest, made to be straightforward to finish without previous IF experience.” Methinks the “beginner” part refers more to the author than the player, which isn’t at all the same thing. Seriously, “for beginners” doesn’t mean, or even imply, “minimal implementation” or “author made it up as he went along”.

At least there’s no serious bugs. There’s some cosmetic problems, though. Actions with customized responses don’t always suppress their default responses. I’ve been seeing that a lot in beginner level Inform games lately.

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