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Monster Island Reviews
Author: Jim The Hermit
Date: 2011

Reviewed by David Whyld.

I had a quick bash through your game and unfortunately found it pretty rough around the edges.

First things first: go easy on the multiple text colours in the intro. I have my display set to white text on a black background and dark purple and green text just doesnít show up very well. Youíre best picking one colour and sticking to it (though admittedly I used to think multiple colours were a nice idea at one point). You also need to flesh out the introduction. Iím not saying a five page intro is necessary, but you certainly need more than just a single line.

Past and present tense are often mixed up. This is the main cabin:

This was the main cabin of my boat. Much of it was destroyed in the storm. Also here is a supply chest. I can only move up.

The first two sentences are past tense, the next two present. It makes for a jarring read.

On the deck, examining the gas tank informs me that itís closed. I try to open it but canít because Iím not carrying it. Upon trying to take it, Iím informed I canít, though no reason is given as to why not. The hints (and please create your own hints. ADRIFTís built in system is awful) tell me I need to siphon some gas out of the gas tank, though at the time I saw the hints I wasnít even aware it had any gas in it. The description of the gas tank certainly doesnít indicate this.

I spotted quite a few typos right from the start: ďtasteyĒ and ďcementaryĒ stood out. And why does the Creature need a capital C? Is Creature its name?

Descriptions are short. Much too short. This is a text adventure. At least give me something interesting to read. In particular, when I killed the Creature, I was told something like ďOK, the Creature is deadĒ. Shouldnít this have been a little more dramatic?

Fix the score. I achieved a score of 150 when I quit but was told when I typed SCORE that I had a score of 150 out of 0.

On the plus side, you avoided the newbie pitfall of not providing descriptions for static items. On the down side, almost every description was too short to have any real depth, which is nearly as bad as no descriptions at all.

Reviewed by Duncan Bowsman

Interesting idea for a game, but I found interacting with it really hard. Lots of guess the verb problems, errors in writing. Perhaps my biggest problem (aside from never figuring out how to use the harpoon gun) was that I seemed to be getting led into having to kill the Fish Man somehow, but I never knew why. He seemed pretty peaceful, actually. Am I actually supposed to be the monster here? That could be an interesting twist, but I don't think it's actually the author's intention.

Reviewed by Phkb

I also had a quick go. The short descriptions were the most telling thing for me. They prevented me from engaging with the game at all. There was no sense of depth, no urgency, no compelling reason to stay and play. I came across a puzzle about making musket balls and just felt flat and unmotivated to work it out. I guess as itís a conversion of a VIC-20 game the short descriptions correspond to the lack of memory on that machine, but I think the game would be well served by updating the text to make it more interesting and rewarding to read.

You also might like to work on some of the tasks and making them more flexible, to avoid exchanges like this one:


> x gate

Itís an old metal gate with a lock that looks like a skeleton key would fit. Iron gate is closed.

> unlock gate with key

Iron gate is not locked!

> open gate with key

I canít open iron gate with the skeleton key.

> unlock gate

The gate is now unlocked.

> open gate

Okay, the gate is opened.

There are lots of ways to phrase a command, but you havenít catered for a lot of the possibilities. There is one command you are looking for, and nothing else the player types in will work. Games from the 80ís had this sort of thing happening all the time, but today players are expecting more from their games. Responses like these are misleading and damage the trust the player has with the game. Hereís another example:


> kill creature

Any idea how?

> kill creature with harpoon

Any idea how?

> shoot harpoon

I donít understand what you want me to do with the long harpoon.

> stab creature

I donít understand what you want to do with The Creature.

> fire harpoon

I donít understand what you want me to do with the long harpoon.

> shoot harpoon at creature

I donít understand what you want me to do with the long harpoon.

> fire harpoon at creature

I donít understand what you want me to do with the long harpoon.

> stab creature with harpoon

I donít understand what you want me to do with the long harpoon.

Looking at these responses makes you think that maybe you canít kill the creature with the harpoon. Again, misleading, and breaking the trust the player has with the game.


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