Trapped in a one room Dilly

Developer/Publisher:  Written by Laura Knauth
Year Released:  1998

Review by Karen Tyers (1999)

This is yet another offering from the '98 i-f competition. The author has long wondered whether it is really possible to write an entertaining i-f game around just one location. This game is shorter than she would have wished, due to the competition rules, but I feel it proves the point I have always made, that a game does not have to be overlong, or filled with lots of locations, to be good.

Thus it is that you start in this one room, with a good description of all that you see, along with a note telling you that you have no idea how you got there, you're just there!!!

There are a lot of items around, varying from pictures on the walls, to obscure panels, to a fish tank, and every single thing in this one room has a point. Careful examination of all items provides further information, and more things to look at, evaluate, and manipulate, when you have worked out what to do. Certain items reveal a relationship to others as you progress and there is absolutely heaps to do. The puzzles vary from simple to extremely hard. There was one manipulative puzzle that had me stumped for ages, and I almost resorted to using the help facility, but avoided the temptation in the end. The object is, of course, to get out of this room, and I was so pleased with myself when I finally managed it.

One of the things I liked about this game were the 'built in' hints if you needed them. Typing HELP brought up a numbered list of some of the problems you might encounter. Pressing the relevant number then brought up a further hint list. However, the hints were only given one at a time, starting with a gentle nudge in the right direction, down to the complete solution for that particular puzzle. I liked this idea, as very often, using a printed hint sheet means that you can inadvertently see something from later in the game.

On the downside (but only a little!), I was a little disappointed in the final ending. Yes you can escape, but you still get no idea why you were there in the first place. Oh well, you can't have everything. I also found one minor bug, but this has now been fixed.

Overall, I did enjoy playing this game. It was not too difficult and beginners should be able to get a fair way into it before resorting to the help facility. Laura has obviously put a lot of thought into the construction of the game, and I liked the way that solving one puzzle led gently towards the next one.

(This review was originally published in Adventure Probe, UK, edited by Barbara Gibb. Reprinted here with the kind permission of the author).

The game is available for download from the
The gamefile is Dilly.z5

Copyright © Karen Tyers 1999. All rights reserved.