|Series||IFComp 2010 (26)|
|Tags||time travel, interactive fiction, science fiction|
The Chronicler by John Evans is an interactive fiction game entered in the 2010 interactive fiction competition. You've been sent to investigate a research colony that's lost contact with the rest of humanity. What has happened to them?
The central mechanic of the game is traveling between two time periods--changes in the past affect the future, and you can move some objects between time periods as well. I like games with time travel (for example, I think Day of the Tentacle is excellent) and the use of time travel in The Chronicler was pretty good, though simple--the idea of bringing a future object to the past so you have two copies is a little too obvious to make a good puzzle, I think.
However, The Chronicler is an incomplete game, and it shows. The implementation is very shallow--few scenery objects are implemented, and there's a severe lack of synonyms. Too, the behavior of the device that transports you between time periods isn't entirely consistent--it takes you to different rooms depending on where you use it, but it wasn't apparent where the boundaries were, so I got stuck since I didn't think to use it in the hallway, assuming it would take me to the Transfer Room. Finally, there's no satisfying ending. I stumbled across both endings quite by accident, but they leave everything unresolved.
I like the idea behind The Chronicler, and I hope to see a finished version of this some time. If it were more deeply implemented and had a more satisfying ending (and a little better testing--I did discover a bug while playing), it would be a fun piece of short IF. The current version has potential, but that's not quite enough. 5/10.