Disco Driscoll

Point and click, retro, music, meh...

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Out of Order

At the risk of shooting my bolt and coming over all hysterical, here it is: The Greatest Freeware Adventure Game... Ever! Otherwise known as Out Of Order, by Hungry Software, and available for download on their website.

One evening Hurford Schlitzting is abducted by aliens, or to put it rather more accurately, his bedroom is abducted by aliens. This means that, inconveniently, Hurford must undergo the subsequent adventure in his dressing-gown, like an adolescent Arthur Dent.

His adventure begins in the usual way, with trying to figure out where he is, and how he can escape the confines of the bedroom which has, aboard the spaceship, become his prison cell. Once that's out of the way, he finds himself in a distinctly odd surrounding, amongst burger bars, office blocks and underground resistance movements.

The graphics are large and colourful, but nothing special. The walk cycle leaves something to be desired, and the way Hurford scuttles across the bay floors like a crab might offend the aesthetes. It's the writing and the characterisation that make the game what it is (The Greatest Freeware Adventure Game... Ever! as discussed earlier).

The dialogue that our hero has with the inhabitants of the world, with the computer terminal, the barman and himself, is littered with a mixture of good jokes and awful puns. But the puns will make you laugh, oh yes. There isn't really a spare character in there, and each of them is well-drawn and believable (as much as anything involving aliens is believable).

On top of that, the story is engrossing and well-scripted. I played the game over a series of nights in a darkened room which leant well to the nocturnal feel of the game (it's a constant nighttime in the game, and the crickets are constantly singing for your pleasure), and I would recommend the same. It's not a scary game, but it is definitely eerie.

Sad to report in addition that I downloaded the mp3 file of the main 'outdoor' theme of the game, and occasionally I will listen to it out of context and think of O.O.O.

The puzzles can be tricksy, and one or two do border on the obscure; I must confess that I used the walkthrough on a couple of occasions near the end but that was only after being stuck for quite a while, so my advice would be to persevere.

Everyone has their favourite adventure / point and click game, and this is mine so this reads more like a fan-rave than an objective report. But the game has received similar plaudits from other, proper, respectable reviewers so we can't all be wrong. This goes straight in at No.1 and it is going to take a lot to dislodge it. The only shame is that there doesn't appear to be a sequel planned...


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