Out of Order

2002 Hungry Software
Designed by Tim Furnish
Reviewed 2003 May 19

Rating +1 Linearity wide
Reasonability reasonable Connectivity high
Difficulty challenging Relevance strong
Interface 3rd paned simple Real-time minor

After an impressive thunderstorm, you find that the world outside you bedroom has changed: you seem to have been abducted to an alien world and kept in some kind of zoo. You have to find out where you are, who abducted you and why, and, most importantly, how to get back home.

There are a handful or two of other people and aliens that you interact with, and a few robots. The city you're kept in isn't oppressive, but big brother's hand is firm if not painful. It's all in good fun, though; the world is in the same family as that of The Feeble Files or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The challenges are firmly rooted in the world and the situations encountered. A few veer towards silliness, but stay within the license granted by the humour. The challenge design is outstanding, non-linear but with a good sense of player direction, and using inventory in a virtual way, not just the simple lock and key abstraction. There's a good variety of challenges. Several are difficult, but always with enough direction that a little persistence should avoid the need for a walkthrough.

The interface is clean and straight-forward. You cycle through five action icons with right clicks, which I found a little cumbersome sometimes since I would occasionally cycle too far, but that's my only complaint.

The graphic presentation is beautiful, with cleanly drawn cartoon backgrounds and old-fashioned 2D sprites for the characters. The only concession to freeware is the lack of voiced dialogue.

The storyline is strong and fun and the challenges are entertaining. It's a solid game, but it lacks the touch of greatness. The story and humour are too familiar, and none of the challenges are devious enough to be memorable. It's good fun while it lasts, but it's not particularly memorable. However, I am looking forward to Mr. Furnish's next work, freeware or hopefully otherwise.

Out of Order is a freeware game that you can download from Hungry Software .

Beware! Here are some spoiler-ridden notes on the game. They're only recommended for people who have played the game and want to see some of my rationale for my evaluations.
David Tanguay's Game Reviews
Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.