02 July, 2015

Game Chef Review 26: Drifted by Federico “Cybertroll” Danelli

Drifted

Ingredients: 9 [Dream (4), Stillness (3), Dragonfly (1), Abandon (1)]
This game does far better than most when it comes to capturing ingredients. Everything is there, even if "Dragonfly" feels more like an element thrown in the satisfy the requirements rather than an actual integral element, and abandon is a fairly vague concept. I've seen other games relating to coma dreams and hypersleep, so this feels like on of the common threads through the contest this year.

Theme: 6
This is a set of procedures that can be applied to life, turning life itself into a game,and in that way it reminds me of James Carse's book "Finite and Infinite Games" which was one of the defining inspirations for Mage: the Ascension, and a great book that should certainly be included as a beneficial text in this game.

Would I play this?: 5
This game refers to sleepers and awakened, so there's a clear Mage inspiration present, and that's a good thing in my book. So it instantly means I'd consider playing it, or at least tying it's concepts into a wider Mage game. I think it needs more work before I'd play it on it's own, but there are enough gooddeas in here that I'd want to pull them into other games, or at least see them refined further.

Completeness: 6
There is enough to play a game in these rules, but I'm not entirely sure that there is enough to play a satisfying game without some refinements and expansion. There is a lot of talk about the gamification of life, and the designer is obviously aware of this concept, the whole thing feels like a ritual overlaid on reality, perhaps akin to Ingress...maybe that's where the completeness for the game might kick in. If the game were coded as an app for a mobile device there could be far more options for gaining and losing "quiet" without needing to remember lots of fiddly rules. Lots of potential, lots of ways to improve, but not quite complete yet.

Innovation: 5
There are quite a few small ideas running through this game, but it is all linked to the one central idea that the players are dreamers in a false world, space marines trapped in a virtual reality that they need to fix. This game is similar to a few games I've seen recently that play with this conceit, but it actually has hard mechanisms rather than just setting a scene and saying...run with it. I prefer that and think it's a step in the direction of actual game design rather than just being a pretentious twat. The actual mechanisms of the game are old school, and remind me of events that might impact on a character's alignment in certain old school games. but the concepts are sound and simple and applied in an interesting way to overlay reality. I also think it's interesting to add the facet tat the game can only be played once. If you fail, you've lost access to it ever again. There's a bit of innovation present, but there could be more.

Output Quality: 3 [Language 1, Layout 2, Imagery 0]
This generally seems rushed. There are so many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors through it. I can understand exactly what is meant through most of it, but there are just so many errors that it's bugging me. Sorry. The layout is pretty consistent with most games, so I've got no real complaints there, but it could certainly be tidied up and made a bit more professional. The imagery relies on the real world rather than anything else, so no points there.

Overall: 64% Pass [27+12+5+12+5+3]
This game unfolds like a combination Technocracy/Starship-Troopers/Matrix hybrid. Three awesome concepts tied into one, and the notes at the end basically state this. It's a ambitious aim, and I'm not really completely sure it's been achieved, but contests like this are basically about big dreams that can't be achieved in 9 days.
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