Rogue of the Multiverse

C.E.J. Pacian (2010)

This game is written by C.E.J. Pacian, a TADS programmer whoís written a number of popular games, and Rogue of the Multiverse doesnít disappoint. Here you play the part of convict, serving out your sentence in some strange alien prison, surrounded by hostel species. But after a quick interview youíre whisked away to another site, a part of some science experiment that will have you travelling through wormholes and exploring strange alien worlds. Itís a fast paced romp through the universe thatís just fun to play.

This is a highly polished game that has you travelling from one side of the universe to the other. It really captures that sense of adventure. Thereís even some replayable content, where the game has you hunting for objects, making a small commission on the side, giving it that video game quality for a bit. And I never had to turn to the walkthrough once; never needed a hint or anything like that. The game is easy to play and still rewarding.

But the biggest problem I had was with compass directions, and Iím not sure why this author has such problems navigating a game space. In one of the complexes you can go forward, back, left, or right. But if you walk into a room and come back out your orientation shifts. Itís kind of like all the rooms on left are now on the right, and vice versa but worst. Itís a little hard to explain. But if the author just left north, south, east, and west in place, always facing a character north when they came out of the room so to speak, it would be incredibly easy to navigate this very small play area. And this is a problem that has cropped up in other games that the author has written like Gun Mute. Going forward is fine, but please let north work too or Iíll be looking at your walkthrough.

One thing I thought was pretty cute was how the game handled the PC talking to characters in the game. It can be a problem because a weak NPC can break the verisimilitude. When I tried talking to someone in this game it came back with:

The apian grabs your jaw in a cold, exoskeletal hand. "Don't waste that pretty mouth on those idiotic words, honey."

"Isn't human," the apian says, "like, the other other white meat?"

"No fur," the saurian muses, looking you up and down, "no exoskeleton or scales. Like a walking buffet."

Or this after almost dying and coming back to see the doctor:

Dr. Sliss smiles and nods. "Mental note. Primates experience concussion easily, talk nonsense."

It gets an extra point for realism here.

Rogue of the Multiverse was a blast to play. It has memorable characters that you almost bond with by the end, a lot of action, and this spanning sense of adventure reminding me of the first time I played Leather Goddesses of Phobos. Because the characters feet so real I gave it an extra point, netting zero due to me taking away one for problems with navigation. But a net zero with nothing wrong will place you at the top. I scored this game a 10.