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Here’s what I thought about the game:

I think it’s a really good game for text adventure beginners (such as myself). There are no dead ends (or if there are, they happen locally and you don’t get to play for a dozen hours before realizing you fucked up) and if you die, you can always just undo your last step – no regular saving required. With one exception, where I am not sure you can still recover if you did it wrong and you only realize after another 7 or 8 turns or so.

Puzzles are mostly solvable locally, i.e. you get most of the items you need to solve a planet on that planet. The only exception I can think of is the pistol from Gateway that you need to defeat the giant spider on one of the planets. The game goes so far to disallow you to bring any items from the planets you visit in the main series of four planets – this relieves you from needlessly searching all four planets for items that you might need on a different planet. It’s a clever little trick that I first thought was a bit strange, but realizing it kept the planetary puzzles to a manageable difficulty, made me really appreciate it.

The graphics are really beautiful and they make *excellent* use of the 16 colours they have available. The pictures clearly look like more than 16 colours.

The music is nice, but ultimately quite disconnected from the game. It’s not annoying, but not really supporting the world either.

Some of the writing was really excellent. I giggled quite a few times at messages like “One of the hydra’s heads bites off one of yours. You are dead” or “You attack the spider. The spider attacks you. The spider is poisenous [sic]. You are not. You are dead”.

Here are some things I didn’t like too much, for balance:

* You need to find the exact right phrasing to get Becker onto the raft. This was the one place where I had to ask for help, after this idiot standing there for about an hour – why didn’t he go on the raft by himself, we were there for rafting, actually.

* Some places, like the sleepy planet Dorma 5 change music every few rooms, sometimes have different music on each of three adjacent rooms. A change in music takes around 3-4 seconds each time in which you can’t do anything else but wait. That made navigating those places annoying.

* All the text in the text based cutscenes advances automatically. Everything else in the game can be done at your own pace, but these cutscenes often contain essential information and you cannot pause them. This stressed me out quite a lot. Especially when you’re a bit tired and don’t read that fast anymore, these scenes can become a problem. Doesn’t help that English isn’t my first language either. On top of that, if a text is short and you’re done reading it early, you can press a button to manually advance – a couple of times I pressed the button just to see that the text advances automatically a fraction of a second earlier, so I skipped an entire page of text. The only way to get it back is to reload the game.

* Some of the puzzles don’t really fit into the world. Those are all the logic puzzles in the first part, or those based on colours. Especially the one on the first planet in part one, where you have to insert a rod of one colour into a socket of a different colour to make a third color. Some of those combinations were additive (red + blue = violet), others were subtractive (blue + yellow = green). That’s inconsistent, but ultimately not really hard to deal with.

* You get a promise of $1,000,000 early on in the game if you can find Rolf Becker. But by the time you find him, you have a couple of millions already and just returning from the mission you find him on already gives you $5,000,000. So by then this one extra million doesn’t really feel like a big achievement anymore.

That’s it for now. All in all I really enjoyed the game.