Andromeda Apocalypse

Science fiction is not my thing, and especially not science fiction set on alien spacecraft. I think that if I had encountered this game outside of the competition, I would not have gotten beyond the second room. However, the puzzles are not bad, and the flashback scenes were interesting....

I would have liked to have played around more in the flashback scenes, to be honest: something more than jast "talk to...".

The author is not a native English speaker, and his entry last year suffered because of that. This year, the language has been ironed out flat ... it is a little bland, to be honest. There are a few turns of phrases in the later game which sit a bit oddly, but the initial parts belong to that space where the sauce is now smooth and free of lumps, but the herbs and spices have yet to be added. Personally, I don't mind a few foreign turns of phrase. It can be the experience, how you say, triply amusing, yes?

I commented last year on the worldbuilding involved in "Andromeda Awakening". The same goes for this game, the sequel; although it does occur to me that perhaps some of this sense is due to that fact of it being one of a series. This is not a bad thing: much though I appreciate impressive works of worldbuilding, I do not always like having those details shoved into my face. A sequel forces a lighter touch in the handling of worldbuilding details: the author, not liking to repeat himself, confines himself to those details that are relevant to the new story, and the result is a work that sees no need to explain itself -- a stronger, more confident work. Half my issue with science fiction is this need to explain everything, and the lack of explanation made it, for me, rather easier to swallow.

This go-around, we also have Logan, the shipboard AI who becomes your constant companion through the latter half of the game. Getting Logan to understand my language was my "aha!" moment of the competition; and I wonder if I should draw a parallel between this and the language issues of the author's previous offering.

Logan's presence invites comparisons with other man-and-AI pairings in science fiction. Not all of these pairings were cooperative, remember: throughout the story, I was trying to guess if Logan would turn out to be another HAL or another Floyd. Logan never steered me wrong ... on the other hand, there were a few instances that raised my hackles and suspicions. There is that one room that appears to be a perfect reproduction of a street junction well-known to the protagonist ... what is it, why is it, what is Logan not telling us? Logan comes off as significantly more mature and reserved than Floyd, but one of his responses is to ask if the protagonist would like to play a game. There is dissonance there. Up to the last minute, I fully expected Logan to use some technical loophole to turn on me....

There is one puzzle I'd like to mention. At one point, you are faced with the problem of having to charge up a sort of nuclear battery. Logan is a little too helpful here: as soon as I walked into the room containing the mechanism required for the process, he told me exactly what I had to do. But I'd already figured that out for myself earlier, having remembered what happened when I played around with that mechanism. Logan's "help" there rather dampened my sense of accomplishment there.

In the end, I found the game quite satisfying. I call it toasty-warm oatmeal with raisins, a soft-boiled duck's egg, and cup of hot tea with lemon and just a touch of honey.