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Jonathan Grimshaw: Space Tourist Reviews
Author: Ren
Date: 2006

Reviewed by Robert Street (Reviews Exchange 8)

Jonathan Grimshaw: Space Tourist is a difficult game that has included every one of the five scenarios listed for the competition. The ideas did not naturally mesh together well with a sweet shop, escape tunnel, ship's helm, valley and elevator, so it is surprising that this was not really noticeable within the game.

This game's main strength is the depth of implementation. Lots of stuff that I didn't expect to generate responses actually did receive a comment. The difficulty of the puzzles meant that I could have given up, but I was encouraged to persevere by the way that my ideas even if they failed were at least being acknowledged. In difficult games it is also rewarding to finally solve puzzles. A hint menu could have helped the game and removed some of the frustration, but it can be too tempting and remove some of the satisfaction of success. The game continued for longer than I had expected. Just when you think the game is ending, it continues with more action. I almost finished the game without any help, but got stuck and had to ask the author about the final puzzle.

The writing is also well done, although there is not really much of a story. The descriptions of everything are entertaining though. There are lots of various items around, and a surprising amount is actually useful for something in the end. There were a few bugs, with the door/smoke detector task not repeating, being notable. The fact that you can get off the alien spaceship and go back to the planet also doesn't seem quite right.

Some advice for writers. Using the <wait> command tends to annoy people unless it is used carefully. Sitting through and waiting for the intro to complete is not fun for a fast reader like myself. If you want to use this command, it would be best to provide a command at the start to turn it off for people like me. It especially is worse when you have to wait before you can enter any command. When I had to take a break and come back to the game later, I didn't enjoy having to sit through the introduction again.

A good game, although don't expect to complete it too quickly.

SCORE - 7/10

Reviewed by David Whyld (Reviews Exchange 8)

Jonathan Grimshaw: Space Tourist suffered from a severe bout of newbieness which was so bad in places that it became almost painful. The introduction is long and there are timed pauses between each paragraph, meaning that every time you play the game, or restart it, you're forced to sit there and wait for the text to scroll its way through. Even more annoying, some of the pauses are followed by “press a key to continue” commands which means you can’t even leave the keyboard for a minute and return to find them all gone. 

The major issues with the game, though, came from the truly bizarre commands the player is expected to type in. Some of the responses to commands I tried were just baffling. After struggling with the door in my cabin for a while – OPEN DOOR and UNLOCK DOOR didn’t work even though I had the room key in my hand – I tried USE KEY ON DOOR which produced “You miss Royston. You wish you had your big rock.” Make any sense to you? Nope, me neither. I was also kind of bemused when I tried to open the boxes and was told that I couldn’t open my bed. If all that wasn’t confusing enough, most of the other commands are, with the majority of them seeming to be carried out for no other reason than they're necessary to complete the game. Why would I try to wear the marmalade? Why would I try the command ‘forward’ to move along a pipe when a simple directional command doesn’t work? What possible reason could I have for pushing the chair against the door? While I’ll grudgingly admit that the THROW SPANNER IN W.O.R.C.S. command is kind of witty, why would I attempt THROW BOX IN HOLE immediately afterwards?

On my own, I didn’t even manage to get out of my cabin before becoming stuck. Fortunately I had the advantage of being the guy who organised the Comp and so had the walkthrough to fall back on. Good job as well, otherwise I’d have never progressed beyond the first location. 

On the positive side, the standard of writing is fairly accomplished and while there are a few typos, these are nothing terrible. Unfortunately, those are about the only positive things I could find to say about the game. The intro was frustrating and the guess the verb even worse. I'm assuming the commands were of the variety that the writer felt would be obvious to the player, but they certainly weren’t to this poor player. Even after checking the walkthrough, I'm not sure I would have got most of them. 

3 out of 10

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