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The Screen Savers on Planet X Reviews
Author: Josh Lawrence
Date: 2002

Reviewed by David Whyld (1)

One of the better ADRIFT games 

Definitely one of the best games I've played recently. 

Detailed descriptions, amusing characters, puzzles that were nicely logical without ever becoming too hard. In fact the only fault I would say the game has is an over-helpful hints system. Almost every problem can be beaten by typing "hint" and for someone who always goes for cheating before figuring things out for himself, the hints gave away too much of the game. 

That aside, a professionally written game that shows just what you can do with ADRIFT when you try. 


7 out of 10

Reviewed by David Whyld (2)

Some games start out good and then go bad part way through; others start out good and stay that way right to the very end: fortunately The Screen Savers On Planet X is one of the latter variety.

As one of the screen savers of the title, you arrive at the studio on Planet X where the latest episode of The Screen Savers is due to be filmed only to discover that none of the other cast members are there. Your line producer, Russ Pitts, therefore hands you the task of rounding the others up - your "reward" it seems for being the only one with the decency to actually show up. So off you go…

First and foremost, The Screen Savers On Planet Xis a game designed to be fun - descriptions and character dialogue are well written and often amusing although you get the impression that this is a game mainly about the puzzles. While there are a fair number of characters here, they aren't developed as well as in other games and seem, more often than not, only to be in the game as a means of adding extra puzzles. Nothing wrong with this of course and the idea of using characters as puzzles is certainly an interesting one.

The Screen Savers On Planet X isn't the sort of game where you'll face next to impossible problems with virtually no help given to solve them. There are a wide variety of puzzles that need to be completed to finish the game, but almost every one of them has a built in hints system to enable you to get past it if you're having too much trouble. Now, while a hints system is something I'm normally only too happy to see, here it was perhaps a little too helpful. Sometimes it's just easier to type "hint" than figure out the puzzle yourself and, weak-willed that I am, I tended to find myself typing "hint" every time I reached a puzzle rather than trying to figure it out for myself. In a way, it could be argued that the hints system is pretty much unnecessary because while there are indeed a lot of puzzles in this game, the majority are fairly easy and straightforward. Even the more complicated ones don't take too much figuring out if you only make the effort.

Dialogue with characters is handled in the standard ADRIFT format of "ask 'somebody' about 'something'" although for the most part it seemed to generate the character's standard response. While this was a pity, this isn't really the sort of game that relies heavily on interaction with the characters. The are there, for the most part, to add complexity to the puzzles. After all, the end result of each puzzle you solve is to move the character in question to the "outside the set" location and it's quite interesting watching the description of this location build as you solve puzzles. At the same time, the rest of the locations grow increasingly empty, adding a nice feeling that you're actually achieving something.

The Screen Savers On Planet X is a fairly light-hearted game that has some comical moments thrown in for good measure. Solving one puzzle involving a computer leads to some purple penguins (references to the Mad Monk here?) doing a merry little dance. Another favourite of mine involved use of a fellow cast member's ID to find them a perfect mate - a bargain at just $6.75 per minute and an expected completion date of up to 1,000 years!

All in all this is a very good game that, due to it's lack of difficulty and over helpful hints system, won't keep you playing it forever but it'll certainly pass the time until the writer gets around to writing another game (hint! hint!)

Logic: 9 out of 10
There probably isn't a single illogical puzzle in the game which makes a nice change from all the games that are littered with them.

Problems: 7 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
While the game is mercifully bug free, it has a few guess-the-verb problems that make   things a little complicated at times - "shoot bazooka" works fine whereas "fire bazooka" doesn't. Likewise, "place id in tube" works fine but you'd imagine "put id in tube" would generate the same result. Unfortunately not. Those aside, these are fairly minor problems in a game that is, on the whole, well above average.

Story: 7 out of 10
While the story isn't the strongest thing about the game, it is amusing enough in its own right.

Characters: 7 out of 10
A wide range of characters. Dialogue with them is a little on the limited side but they serve their purpose.

Style of writing: 7 out of 10
Definitely above average.

Game: 7 out of 10
Has the feel of a very professional game and one that I'm sure most people will enjoy playing.

Overall: 44 out of 60

Reviews should be considered copyrighted by their respective authors.


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