IF Comp: Oxygen

Author: ShadowK
System: Glulx
Blurb: An explosion rattles the Aegis mining station and the oxygen tanks are leaking. Who gets the remaining oxygen and who will perish? The choice is up to you, a lowly technician trapped in an access conduit.
Time Played: 45 mins, to multiple endings

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

Review: The game opens with a good sense of immediacy that gets you right into things. There's an explosion on a mining station and you have to quickly figure out how to get things working to save the oxygen (as well as deciding who that oxygen goes to). There's almost too much going on at the beginning, with things changing rapidly and various radio messages coming at you all while you're trying to get your bearings in the game. I played a bit and then restarted once I had some idea of what I was trying to do.

But things got hectic again, what with talking to a character and getting radio feedback all while trying to manage the changing state of the settings controlling the distribution of the oxygen. The feeling this created was appropriately tense for the setting, yet left me feeling too rushed to really wrap my head around all that was happening in the game.

While I really wanted Captain Corndog to be able to save the day, I had trouble figuring out exactly what that would entail. The opening hinted at some questions surrounding the explosion, but I was fooling around with controls and got to the end before anything was really answered. Part of the trouble was that I didn't figure out how to revive the injured man right away and therefore I wasn't able to communicate with him. This left me with no real way to make any informed decisions at the endings. (I also got endings talking about Andre before I had any idea who that was.)

Even after I got into some of the conversation in the game, I ended up with some successful endings, some not, but I was still never quite sure what I was meant to do for an optimal conclusion (or even if there is one). I always felt like there was some information I was missing that would make my decisions at the end more meaningful. Maybe I missed something, or maybe there just wasn't as much there as I was hoping there would be.

Overall: Good on the puzzly side, not as interesting on the moral ambiguity side as it could have been.

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