This is a review of “Rover’s Day Out” by Jack Welch and Ben Collins-Sussman, a glulx game entered in the 2009 Interactive Fiction Competition.

I got the twist to “Rover’s Day Out” pretty quickly, but that seemed to be expected.  I was really impressed as the game progressed, running commentary was interesting and a kind of reveal I’ve never really seen before.  Others have mentioned that it’s really tedious to do the same mundane tasks over and over; fortunately, there aren’t that many.

I think it might have helped simply to have more things to do in this pseudo-house – which brings up my main complaint, the ending sequence was infuriating.  The game dumped all of these expectations on me but never bothered to tell me exactly what was at stake and what my options were.  It does have some funny responses, but was constantly reminding me that I had to succeed in what I was doing.  Inevitably, bad shit happens, I’m berated for not stopping it, and I’m irritated enough that I feel like I need to restore, rather than seeing it to a conclusion… which seemed to be the intended course of action.

What might have prevented this would simply be to have more potential actions in the house – and show their responses in the status like (which was a great addition).  Beyond, say, brushing my teeth, I don’t know any additional actions that might have helped me, and I think it would have been neat to experiment with them.

The game overdoes the technobabble, I think, in the latter portion, it all started to glaze together and become meaningless.  There were a couple bugs; twisting the plunger without a direction gives a default response (“It is fixed in place”, obviously wrong), “x black” in the bathroom responds, “Which do you mean, the black plate or the black business robe?”  Weird.

I’m probably being too hard on the game for my own quick-to-anger response.  The beginning is smart and tricky (do we really need more BSOD and UNIX jokes, though?) and brings a lot of things together towards the end.  That’s impressive enough for a good score in my book.