IF Comp: Heated

Author: Timothy Peers
System: Z-code 
Blurb: Get to work early, don't get too angry and get your raise.
You've been a slacker for long enough, and this is your one opportunity to really wow the boss!
Time Played: About 30 mins, with multiple play-throughs.

More (with spoilers) after the break, you may wish to play before reading...

Review: This short entry for IF Comp 2010 falls victim to the common first-game pitfall of being a set-in-my-crummy-apartment-and/or-workplace exercise. The one different thing it has going for it is the addition of a heat meter, a device that gauges your current mental state and increases or lowers your "heat" based on how agitated your actions and surroundings make you. The problem I had with the meter was that it just made me want to undo my actions when the heat went up. (Although it seemed that trying to redo things didn't avoid this entirely. For example, I tried to close the toilet before attempting to get the keys, but they ended up falling in anyway, which was rather amusing.) While I didn't want the meter to rise, it never seemed like it was reaching a critical point where I was about to blow. Likewise I never felt a huge sense of relief when the meter went down, either.

There were minor technical issues (trying to examine the car at one point gave me a message about there being multiple rooms with that name) and some little mistakes (like my inventory telling me I had a chewing gum). But a bigger change that would have helped the game would have been more hinting. I know the author encouraged examining by letting you do it without a time penalty, but I left the house without some useful things, and got to an ending before I realized I had to do something more with my clothes. (Putting them on just told me that they fit great; maybe a hint there about how they fit but were rumpled, or some message before leaving the house about not looking my best would have helped in figuring this one out.)

It's hard to buy into the idea that an angry slacker could change enough in one day to really impress his boss and get a huge raise. As I tried to help the PC have a good day, I felt distinctly like I was making him play against type, and that any good that did come of it was very likely to be wasted away by the character once I stopped controlling his actions. In the end, I got a small raise and a message about getting back what you put in, a lesson I would encourage the author to consider for his next game, as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment