IF Comp ’10 – Michael Martin’s Flight of the Hummingbird!

November 14, 2010

If you were wondering about Octodad, it is probably awesome, assuming you can master the individual limb controls that I suspect provide most or all of the game’s difficulty.  I couldn’t tell you myself, having been defeated by a four-inch-high step in the tutorial room.  This might be an indicator that the game is not, in fact, awesome, but I refuse to believe such a thing is possible.  I mean, come on, it’s Octodad!  Whoo!  Octodad!


[spoilers begin here]

The art for this game is awesome.  Also, the Concordance of Powered Response is a pretty good name.  I have taken it upon myself to be the arbiter of what is or isn’t a pretty good name, apparently, and the answer is Zap Rowsdower.

Oooh!  Rocks!
>take rocks

You don’t need any rocks.
Just checking.

I’m not sure what these first couple rooms are for.  Maybe something will happen in them later?  (Note from the future:  nope.)

Okay, I have a crowbar.  What do I need to crowbar?  Are there more rooms than just these three?  When Dr. Sinister blasted off in his rocket just now, did he break through the containment field?  Is it a dome or just walls?  What do I mean, I hope I can still thwart him with what’s left in the base?  What base?  His base?  How do I do that if he’s already blasted off in a rocket?  Where can I find a picture of a kitten saying “HALP?”

Checking the hints.  Oh!  Right!  I’m a superhero!  I can probably fly, huh!

It’s cute that my superhummingbird powers are fueled by energy drink.  I had an idea once for a post-apocalyptic RPG setting where the only survivors are the mutant children of women who drank a lot of energy drinks, separated into tribes by brand identity (that, to me, is the fun part), and they, you know, fight or whatever.  (Moral:  don’t ever talk about your ideas you’ve had for post-apocalyptic RPG settings, kids, because they will come out sounding like this.)

Huh, is managing my energy going to be a thing?  The ABOUT text promised me I’d never be more than three undos away from safety, so that’s cool.

Putting some distance between you and the ocean might have given you more time to react.
Oh, okay, I should have been higher up!  Thanks for the hint.  And for the “chum” joke, because, see, I got eaten by sharks.

Finally. Man, that was a pain. One of these days you’re going to have to get one of those hats with the drink holders and the long straws.
Why do I not already have one of those?  That’s it, the second I get paid for this gig, I’m buying one.

No idea how to open this door.  What do you think, hints?  Oh, duh, I could have sworn I tried flying.

The wooden crate is empty.
What?  I flew all the way down here for an empty wooden crate?  (At least it took me 169 turns.)

There is also a button marked “TRAP TOGGLE”.
Oooh, oooh, what do you want to bet I push this and it triggers a trap?
The pit in the next room closes up, restoring the floor.

Awww.  I’m docking Dr. Sinister five points for that one.

>x panel
It’s clearly designed to be user-friendly; there’s nothing on it right now but a big green button marked “LAUNCH”.
I know, I know, Mac users, every once in a while you get to feel justifiably smug.  I am okay with this.  I just wish I didn’t have to hear you bitch about dual-booting.

I don’t really understand this docking puzzle, because man do I not understand anything to do with physics.  (Well, maybe the thing about how your car stops, but you keep going, so you have to wear a seatbelt?  Oh, man, you ever write a sentence and realize how morbidly resonant it would be for someone to read later if you died a certain way?)  Still, if I keep flailing in directions, I’m sure I can get these numbers to match up eventually!

The autopilot chimes. “You have left the docking area. Please wait while I reorient your ship.” A few minutes later you are again facing the docking port of Dr. Sinister’s space station. “Relinquishing control to manual once again. Sobriety treatments will be available in the station’s sick bay. Please be careful!”
Ahaha sobriety treatments!  I suck at drive rocket.

Phew!  Made it!  I’m going to get like negative ferklempfty points for that though.

“It’s the Hummingbird! He’s bypassed our teleport blockers and is in the Vestibule! Initiating lockdown procedures!”
It’s nice to inspire some good fear in someone for a change.  I think after this mission, things will really start looking up for me.
Dr. Sinister’s voice crackles over the intercom. “The Hummingbird? I invest all this in an island fortress and a space station – a space station – and all CPR sees fit to send is the Hummingbird? Pah!”

Portholes lead spinward, antispinward, out, and down.
…do I really gotta type “antispinward?”
All but the down porthole are firmly sealed.
Oh.  Phew!

You pull down the curtain covering it and stow it in your belt.
What, really?  Weren’t you the game that told me I wouldn’t need rocks?

UP, DOWN, IN, and OUT all still work as expected, and the new directions SPINWARD and ANTISPINWARD are available. While on the station, these may be abbreviated SW and ASW.
Okay, that is fine, then.

Disrupting the neatness is a crate in the corner labeled “COUNTERMEASURES”.
That’s pretty funny.
Searching through the crate, you find a tuning fork. You give it an experimental strike, and it produces a clean-high note. You recognize it immediately as A-880 – the precise tone that shifts the Ethereal Wonder into the physical realm.
So is that.

I appreciate having to sort through the items in the crate one by one, and therefore really having to pay attention to them; it would just be nice if they were then auto-taken.  Also, why does dude even have a crate of countermeasures?  Is it mandated by some sort of government body?

Hmm.  I think I’m supposed to do something with the coffee machine, but I’m not sure what.  Oh, shit, my hint menu is empty.  MY HINT MENU IS EMPTY YOU GUYS

Oh.  I’m supposed to put the curtains in the coffeemaker, to set them on fire?  Coffeemaker is not a thing that I mentally file in the category of “shit that sets other shit on fire.”  I keep it closer to Shit That Makes Coffee City, which, as we all know from grade school, is the capital of Shitthatmakescoffeesylvania.  So I was thinking way more along the lines of “the guards are going to come in and drink coffee, how do I drug it or whatever?”

[1] “Your fiendish scheme ends here!”
[2] “Your sinister plan is foiled!”
[3] [Punch him.]
Oooh.  It’s a tough call, but punching wins.

Huh.  Well, it tells me I’ve won, but I didn’t use any of the stuff from the countermeasures crate.  All I did was hurt his feelings with my words until he noticed the cavalry showed up.  Oh, I probably got the shittiest ending, huh.  Sorry, Hummingbird.  I have failed you.

Hmm, I’m not sure what I thought of this game.  It was cute, and had some funny lines, and the puzzles were more or less solid and logical.  (I liked the which-side-of-the-door-you-need-to-be-on business with the control panel and the rocketship.)  The flight gimmick, too, could have been fiddly as pig-management, but never got to the point where it annoyed me — much of the time, my energy wore off when I got where I needed to be, which I imagine was a deliberate design choice instead of fortunate coincidence.  Still, I kind of don’t feel it added much to the game besides a bit of color.

It could have been tighter rooms-wise, though, and if I hadn’t been farting around on shore ’cause I’m not bright enough to realize hummingbirds can fly, I’m not sure I would have found that crowbar very easily at all.  Also, the endgame… I think I was thinking that I would get past the guards, and then there would be a bit where I used all the stuff I’d found in the countermeasures crate to completely ruin his plan.  What happened in real life (well, not real life) was that I overlooked the vials of whatever in my inventory (they are called “some vials,” which apparently isn’t flashy enough for me to notice, God I’m demanding), consulted the walkthrough (the hints were gone), and set the curtains on fire with the coffeemaker, which was enough to get me past the guards and into the final conversation, where I got to be maybe a little bit of a badass before the real heroes showed up to save the day.  I realize this probably wasn’t the intended endgame experience, but it felt sort of rushed and unsatisfying.

I mean, if I find such a thing as an anti-teleportation device, I want to use it, goddammit.  This game gets a seven until I inevitably change my mind and give it a three or a twelve or some other wishy-washy bullshit number, eh?

One comment

  1. You liked this game a whole lot more than I did, but even so, I can tell you that at least one other method of reaching the ending didn’t provide a different outcome. (I did drug the coffee, and never did anything with the curtains, leading to a fight with the henchmen that required another step to get through.) The endgame was identical, as far as I can tell, and equally anticlimactic.

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