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Business As Usual Reviews

Author: Abbi Park
Date: 2008


Reviewed by revgiblet

Chaos is not necessarily fun

AWARD:  The "Only three tasks?  Wow, that's pretty impressive" Award

I'm into IF for the narrative rather than the (timed) puzzles, so this game unduly stressed me out.  "What?  I have to rearrange items that people are moving?  OK.  OK.  I can do this...HELP ME!  I'M HYPERVENTILATING".  That was pretty much my experience.  I enjoyed the rather apathetic style of the protagonist, and the fact that the I was moving the Shoe into the Shoe Room meant that I had tongue firmly in cheek as I tried to figure out the patterns and routines of the sinister and diverse visitors to the museum.  But I don't know if I could say that I 'enjoyed' this game as such.

To begin with I definitely felt overwhelmed.  People were moving in and out, taking my objects faster than I could keep track.  It just felt like chaos, with no discernible patterns.  The time limit is quite tight too, and trying to track nine characters over the course of about thirty moves is a tall order.  I felt that it was too much to do in too little time, though I guess the idea is that you play the game several times until you get a handle on what's going on.  As it was I managed to complete the game on my third play-through by simply doing nothing until there were about ten moves left and then rushing from room to room like a crazed baboon and putting the objects back in the right place.

On a side note, when I failed to complete the task I had been set the game kind of 'froze'.  I couldn't do anything with the "You Lose" game text.  I had to manually restart the game to try again.  Also, a bit more polish would have helped it compare favourably to other entries.  Most of the authors took a little time to put title screens in their game, and I appreciated that.

I was genuinely impressed that this game had only taken three tasks.  'Amazed' is probably a better word.  Tasks tend to be the lifeblood of an ADRIFT game and I really like the fact that the author had taken a risk and tried something different with the limitations.

Now I need to go and have a lie down.

Reviewed by Dan Blazquez

This game had me simultaneous bursting into fits of laughter and squeezing my head between my hands are hard as I could. The premise is simple - return 4 museum objects to their rightful place and keep them there. Very quickly the game explodes into utter chaos... tons of humorous characters flit about the museum and cause mischief with the objects. When the hustle and bustle dies down, the game ends abruptly, win or lose. Be warned - this game is not for everyone.

While at first the craziness may leave players baffled, a further examination reveals that this is actually a very well conceived game. The separate elements all combine to make a very tight mini-game of sorts, and that is where Business As Usual really shines - it is replayable and the events unfold in a slightly different way each time. One play through does not allow enough time to examine everything and experience all of the games nuances.

Taken as is, the game really has no bad points. Sure, you can point out a multitude of generalized deficiencies, but when you consider what the game tries to be and what it offers... well it does exactly that. It is what it is, and in that sense it is almost flawless. Some may complain about the sheer randomness of it, but a pattern is discernable to the careful eye and the puzzle is easily solved (in a number of ways, even). As a mini-game and a showcase of how to use the generator in an unusual way, this game is good stuff. As a gripping story or long-winded adventure, the game falls flat... but those are points that I cannot fault, as the game obviously never intended to deliver them in the first place.

Hats off for a wild implementation of the generator and a solid mini-game feel. Although I had originally said that a game with 3 tasks and 11 characters could never work.... well I was wrong! In fact, I enjoyed this entry more than the author's other entry (not to mention that she organized the competition on top of creating 2 polar opposite adventures for it). Good job, Abbi!



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