Friday, October 4, 2013
Review : Trapped in Time
Quick Take Review: Old school Choose Your Own Adventure Story with a really really cool twist. Highly recommended. Best if left unspoiled.
Full spoilery review after the Jump!
Wow! What a cool game! And I'm saying that about a pure and unadulterated choose your own adventure story. I mean the whole thing is written in a 34 page PDF that looks like it was written in Word. And yet: not only is it awesome, but I have no qualms about actually calling it a "game".
Here's the skinny: You start the game outside the Copenhagen Institute of Chronology, about to make your maiden voyage through time. The game starts slowly but atmospherically. You run into your buddy in the lobby, you chat with the receptionist (or not, you know. You can choose to ignore these people), ride a snazzy elevator and are presented before this cool time machine. I was even impressed that after all of this build up it even gave you the option to refuse to go into the time machine. Wow, I thought, that's giving the reader agency! Little did I know. Little. Did. I. Know.
Granted: I love this kind of conceit. The whole Groundhog scenario is one that I find particularly alluring. Who among us (callback!) hasn't dreamt of reliving a portion of our lives over and over again, in a attempt to finally get it right? I've long considered my own interactive fiction piece based on this conceit but I keep rejecting it for being too ambitious.
But what author Simon Christiansen manages to accomplish in 34 odd pages is a really clever and fun story puzzle, which is really my favorite kind of IF. I have to say, for as much as I've been bitching and moaning about the hypertext-choose-your-own-adventure fare, if done well this can be a great medium. Also: on a cool little side note: once you've "completed" the story there are all of these cool little easter eggs for you to find. I won't say more than that, but this is a story that delights even after you've completed it.