A Change in the Weather

By Andrew Plotkin, August 1995 (Inform).
Review: Gareth Rees.

My second favourite of the games in the 1995 interactive fiction competition, after The One that Got Away. This was a fun experiment and a deserved winner of the Inform category. I found it very challenging, but it wasn't outright impossible (unlike one or two of the other games in the competition), so I think the difficulty was well-judged. Three aspects of A Change in the Weather were excellent: the quality of the writing, the changing descriptions of the scenery, and the way the components of the puzzle interacted. I was reminded of my decision in Christminster to keep the player indoors from seven p.m. until ten so that I didn't have to write descriptions of the sun going down! Andrew Plotkin tackled this problem head on and the result was very impressive.

What I didn't like was the very short time limit and the way it was incredibly easy to get stuck. To finish A Change in the Weather required an enormous amount of patience: going back to a saved game, trying something new, observing the consequences, going back again and trying something else, and on and on. The puzzles themselves were quite elegant, but I didn't appreciate them very much because I was a bit fatigued by the process of solving them. I also felt the game lacked for NPCs (the fox was better than nothing), and the dream was just wilfully obscure.

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