IFCOMP2014: Hill 160 review

Hill 160 by Mike Gerwat placed 36th in the 20th Interactive Fiction Competition IFCOMP2014. You can play online at ifdb. This series of blog posts are mini-reviews I wrote as a fellow author to document my impressions of other games.

Spoilers below

This is the first parser game I've played in quite some time, so it took me a bit of getting used to things. 3 hours in and ... well I opened up the walkthru and realised I'm not even quarter of the way there. But I really want to finish this game - find out what is going on.

It's probably my noob-ness with modern parser that make things a bit slow. Getting killed happened often, but it was great I got instant retries. Some of the continuity got a bit patchy - ie I was able to put things back into a locked cabinet without opening it.

Research was generally great except that: Sargeant is a non-commissioned officer rank. The story-line assumes Grant is a junior officer. It might work better to change Grant to a Lieutenant and Grant's entry to the army as an officer cadet. I was able to overlook this slip though to enjoy what bit of the story time allowed me to play.

I get the feeling that CYOA might've suited the game better than parser because the narrative pacing could be better controlled. While parser gave the illusion of freedom, the "narrative rails" the game was on were on quite apparent. It wasn't like I had the agency to do much except what the story next required of me. Still, this is my first parser play in quite some time so take what I said with a grain of salt.

Big game. Very engaging. A bit more testing and polishing and it would be great.

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