Grounded in Space

Matt Wigdahl (2009)

Grounded in Space is a unique story, and I like the idea, a sort of trapped in space, work your way out. The beginning starts off pretty good. The writing is fluid, the actions easy, but then the game gets rolling and it all falls apart. Thereís no hints, no clues, and the puzzles use non-standard verbs making it a struggle to play.

The first problem is the writing. Itís the games strongest suit, like at end when it tied everything up the writing almost moved me, but in the same breath it runs long in places getting in the way of game play. There are certain room descriptions that are just too much, and some object operations seemed a lot harder reading about it than the actual steps turned out to be. Donít get me wrong, I like a game where the author isnít afraid to use words, but when they get in the way of game play you have to look at the design.

Then there are the puzzles. Iím not going to belabor this point, but these are so bad I donít see how anyone could even get through them without a walkthrough. There are guess-the-verb puzzles, which arenít clued at all, and then a laser alignment puzzle thatís so crazy the game lost 2 points on my scale right there. This game is beyond cruel in difficulty. Itís insane.

One thing that would help this game is a list of new verbs needed to solve it. It could be placed under the ABOUT section or something, and people might not read it, but at least it would be there. Also, HELP and HINT arenít implemented either, these are pretty standard verbs too.

I scored this game a 5. I wanted to like it, but all I did was struggle with it. Things werenít explained, I didnít know what I was supposed to be doing, and I even ran into a nasty bug that caused me to restore. The only thing I feel it has going for it is the story, and it's at least backuped with good writing. Even though I like the setting, I just canít recommend this one. It needs more work.