Benjamin Sokal (2010)

Oxygen is a one room game, taking place in a science fiction setting, thatís wrapped in a .gblorb file that even contains some small sound clips. Faced with striking turncoats that have blown a hole in the Aegis mining station, itís your mission to transfer enough oxygen to your section of the station while the miners are trying to divert it to theirs. Once the game gets going it becomes more of a video game than a book, but the writing, along with the tongue and cheek humor, go a long way to make for a great game.

You start off stuck in a small compartment after a large explosion has rocked the Aegis station. After getting your bearings youíll hit your first puzzle, but with a bit of thought youíll be able to get around it and get to the heart of the game - transferring oxygen from one section of the station to the other. There are even crib notes if you read through the technical manual you can find in the game, though they were bugged for me due to the colors I choose to run my interpreter in.

The writing here is humorous and pokes fun at itself with comments from the Chief like, "Oh no, you mean captain corndog? If he's our last hope we're in trouble." And the build up to the oxygen transfer is handled incredibly well. It took some time for me to get the hang of things, but I really felt the pressure to get things working. I wanted to save the guys on my side of the station. Of course I was also automatically siding with the Empire. I kind of like this myself, itís a trick I pulled with Across The Stars where you find yourself working for the bad guys even though your own personal actions are probably going to be directed towards good.

I can also see hard-core, die hard, science fiction fans bitching about the mixture of Jefferies tubes (Star Trek) along with some Galactic Empire (Star Wars). Those two camps have always been at war, and seeing it mixed up here is almost funny, another slight pun within the game.

I had a great time with this game. I found it short and rewarding. It took me a bit but I figured out the first puzzle on my own, but it's that sense of satisfaction when you solve a puzzle that makes IF so much more rewarding than static fiction. I never had to turn to the walkthrough once. Itís a near perfect 10. But I found a bug, so I have to mark it down a point in technical, giving it a 9. Keep in mind everybody is judged by the same criteria and itís now nearly impossible to get a 10 out of me. Oxygen is an awesome game. I highly recommend it.