Star Hunter

Chris Kenworthy (2009)

They say that science fiction is about people or gadgets, and this game is all about gadgets. But with none of their functionality explained this game becomes unplayable without a walkthrough, though it is a neat little idea that has you unlocking a number of areas as you explore the star system.

You start off on the Atlantis, an interstellar ship with a small starting area, but there's not much to do. The game doesn't nudge you in any directions, and there's no information on how to operate the transporter, or that I even needed to. Once you get to the first planet the game opens up and it quickly becomes a treasure hunt in space. Collect as many things as you can to get your 300 points, but after a while you start to ask yourself what's the point.

The coding is poor, objects aren't handled well, and the gizmo's have strange page breaks in the descriptions. Itís almost like the author doesn't know how to handle switchable objects. The writing is even worst. It felt so anti-climactic when I jumped into a new system that I didn't realize it happened and I was still looking for the solution, and whenever it came to an object description for needed tools, there was no explanation about how to use the item, or what it might be used for, like the gizmo.

>x gizmo
This metallic device is small enough to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. It can be pushed like a button.
The surface of the gizmo gleams with a pale silver color.

>push gizmo
Nothing happens. What were you expecting??

Ok, so Iím supposed to push it, but why? When would I ever need it? When I get stuck I should just push it and hope it gets me out of my problem? Is it a wishstone? None of this is explained so I guess youíre expecting the player to turn to the walkthrough.

Further into the game I found a bazaar that bartered objects. A barter system doesn't work too well in IF, the player doesn't know what to give away, and in a treasure hunt you want to keep everything. Also, the player has no way to know what the best deal is for an item. I gave the android two things and he offered me the same tape twice, and it wasn't even the one I wanted. This just adds to the confusion.

This thing just goes on and on, and I couldnít complete it in the 2hrs. The limited implementation of each world made everything seem hallow, the only people I ran into were the androids, and they didnít do a whole lot.

I scored this game a 5. It probably deserves a 4, but I gave it a reviewer bonus. There was something that I liked about it. Don't get me wrong, it fell apart all over the place, but the germ is there, even though it's really nothing more than a treasure hunt in space. There are some cool things that could be done with a setting like this, better than just collecting a bunch of random things, and maybe it will spark another authorís imagination to take it a step further. This game is full of potential.