[IF Comp. 2010] Ninja’s Fate

As a judge for the first time this year in the Interactive Fiction Comptetition (IFCOMP,) I’ve decided to write up my personal reviews of some of the games that I’ve been able to play so far.  I’ll start with Ninja’s Fate by Hannes Schuel.

While the concept of playing as a ninja in an interactive fiction game may seem like a novel idea,  unfortunately it’s not well executed in this game.  In fact, it feels more like an attempt at an old-school text-adventure game with somewhat random encounters here and there.  The reason I say ‘somewhat’ is because it’s not like you could be wandering along and suddenly encounter an enemy guard or something like that.  Instead, it’s almost like the game designer chose a specific region of the game world and populated it with triggers for encountering one of several kinds of enemies.  There’s no real challenge to beating them though, you just attack them with your sword and they vanish.  There’s no reward or penalty for killing them either, nor do they vanish permanently.  It’s almost like the designer wanted some ninja combat incorporated in the game.

As for the actual story, it’s standard ninja fare with a more modern setting.  You’re a ninja who needs to recover a treasure stolen from their village… and put in a museum.  The thing is, you’d never know where you were unless you read the introductory story text and things like that, since the room descriptions are so small and brief that you’d think you were in a traditional ninja temple with various modern features and random rooms attached.

The game boasts having multiple endings, but there’s really little challenge in attempting to get them.  Partially due to the fact the hint system is very informative and good at giving you information on what to do.   The only saving grace for this game has to be some of the humorous computer bits in the game.

Otherwise, I’d have to say that Ninja’s Fate is not exactly what I’d call as sharp as a katana.  It’s more like a few throwing stars short of the actual target.


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