IFCOMP2014: ICEPUNK review

ICEPUNK by pageboy placed 31st 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

A neat post-apocalyptic loner back story and an interesting narrative where you go around slurping up data out of the landscape. The interface riffs on old text console games and features some retro ASCII art. The map is randomised. The map was a bit clunky and slow to navigate – probably a feature of my impatience and my older computer.

The task of slurping up data got a bit tedious. It became more score-keeping than a chance to revisit the items of culture the game presented as data for the taking. It became less an unfolding story than a chore to complete. I did encounter one potential show stopper bug that gave a totally blank screen. I got around this with some console tricks.

Booting up the computer gave a simple victory screen. About what you’d expect.

A story-line with the inhabitants of another bunker basically opting-out of the game wasn’t particularly well followed. Neither was the initial screens of gender selection.

I score this game well in technical merit. The back story was cool, but too much was exposed via exposition in the opening scenes rather than discovered as the story unfolded. I suspect the author had high ambitions but unfortunately ran out of time. I don’t want to sound at all discouraging, because this could be a great game story if polished and honed.

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