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IFComp 2010: The People's Glorious Revolutionary Text Adventure Game, by Taylor Vaughan

This is the twenty-sixth and last game I am reviewing in the 16th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. There needs to be some text here so that when Facebook links to it it doesn't include bits of the actual review. And thus it is that I say: Ain't no party like the Communist Party 'cause the Communist Party don't stop.

Oh, man. It must be really weird to play this in close proximity to Gigantomania, which I did not. This is an extremely broad Communism-themed satire. The narrative voice is not entirely unlike the earnest enthusiasm in chapter 2 of Gigantomania, but here it's being played for laughs.

The story is as thin as borscht stretched to last out the week, though. It becomes apparent that this is a Communist veneer over the usual quest game: do this, then do that, then do this other thing in the various locations sprouting off the central hub just like an old-timey text adventure. This is one of the dangers of pretending you have an open-city setting: if the only implemented locations in the city are the school, town hall, and office building, it feels less like a city and more like a collection of puzzle-locales.

On technical notes, this is actually a quite good game. It has multiple solutions for each puzzle, interesting object interactions, and appears to be free of errors. There's also one "get-out-of-solving-this-puzzle-free" card, which is nice.

Nonetheless, in spite of having a fairly decent technical level and an unashamed embrace of its wackiness, I find it hard to respect this game, because structurally it's so slight: as mentioned before, there's the sense that it's a bunch of puzzle set-pieces strung together, which is not helped by the NPCs, pretty much all of whom are of the give-item-X-to-accomplish-task-Y variety rather than actual characters.

Rating: 5

Tags: if, ifcomp 2010
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