Robin & Orchid

Well. I enjoyed this. It felt a little overwhelming at times, given all the stuff lying around, but that in the end turned out to only be an illusion. There's enough puzzle-solving to satisfy the puzzler, but certainly not so much as to overwhelm -- nowhere near as much as the quantity of random objects would have you think.

In fact, it appears that most of the story lies in the notebook that the protagonist, Robin, receives at the beginning from her editor, Casey. If you never consult it, you never see anything. And you are perfectly free to go forward without ever doing so. I don't consider this a failing. Different people want different things in a game, and if, for some unfathomable reason, a player isn't interested in the story, he's welcome to ignore it.

There is a lot of story. I thought I'd dug up a fair amount, but discussion suggests that there is a lot more that I haven't seen. The game's strength, really, is in the amount of stuff you can find in the notebook: to a certain extent, the puzzles and primary story are just window dressing for the backstory. This is counted a strength here because the notebook entries are told with a strong and entertaining voice. Anyone attempting something similar must remember that this sort of thing succeeds or fails on its voice. Casey's notebook succeeds.

There is some fiddliness with the puzzles. Most of them involve building up stepladders for Robin, who is abnormally short, to reach objects placed out of her reach. Among these are a stage prop model of the Ark of the Covenant, and a similarly sized prop model of Noah's Ark. It's a cute little joke when seen side-by-side, and perhaps in the first disambiguation question, but, given that the number of times we have to handle these two things, it does get a little tiresome.

Breakfast -- well, after-Church brunch, actually -- is cucumber sandwiches, biscuits and gravy, and tea. There's also a side-table with apples and bananas and oranges and pineapples cubes and peaches and plums and cubes of cheddar and maybe some brie and crackers, but that's optional.