Leena Kowser Ganguli (2008)

Trein is a nicely written piece that sets up a dark atmosphere, but fails to see it through from a lack of beta testing that hurts the implementation. Some parts do play smoothly, but others are so frustrating that you'll have to turn to the walkthrough. The game does have potential though.

You play Archer, a well-traveled informant to the King, sent in by Lord Aplin to investigate Trein Hill, a city that has failed to pay its tribute. The piece is well written, though there are a few typos, but some of the descriptions go on too much. It creates a somber atmosphere, but fails to hold the tension when talking to some of the NPCs. The standard response of no reply really kills it.

This could have been a great game, but it wasn't tested. So puzzles aren't intuitive, and descriptions of some key elements are really lacking. Certain parts are properly clued, and they're easy to move through, but others are just too hard and you'll need to turn to the walkthrough. It's a real shame this one wasn't tested. I had high hopes for this game when I read the introduction, and all the elements of the story tie together in the end. It even has three different endings, but because one of the puzzles was poorly done, I ended up seeing all three while playing off the walkthrough.

This game has some nice writing with part of the design feeling very natural, but the lack of beta testing made some puzzles just too hard. There's a lot of potential for this game, and I think the author should grab up as many transcripts that she can find when the competition is over, and come out with a second release. But right now some of the flaws really take away from it. I gave it a 7.