Second Story

In this story, we're a reformed thief who's been called back into the business when our brother is taken hostage by an underworld figure. It's a pretty cool story. It doesn't exactly twist and turn, but it does hit a lot of the expected notes.

The one letdown is in the department of the story's voice. With a bit more of a tough-girl attitude, or even a world-weary adventurer attitude, it could start to shine as a pulp-noir suspense story. Given the nature of the Macguffin at the heart of the story -- a long-lost Hitchcock film -- I think suspense was the goal. As it is, however, the descriptions are a little too functional and utilitarian; the voice seems a little bland for the genre. A lot of the pulp-noir genre depends on voice, and the lack of an appropriate voice reduces the level of suspense.

Design-wise, the puzzles felt natural and intuitive, well-integrated with the story and setting. In one case, the final hand-off, I found myself blissfully taking the actions necessary to our heroine's plan to ensure her own safety, without realising until afterwards that this was what I had done. I don't know if my experience with this puzzle was unique. If not, it demonstrates a very clever way of bridging the distance between what a guileless player might do and what a cunning veteran of the underworld might think of.

It's like a ham and cheese omelette, effortlessly folded over. But there's no salt and no pepper, and the extra-smooth American-style coffee is decaf. It's a lot of things done right, but lacking in the crucial kick.