“Dilemma” is a work reminiscent of late-90s games, most notably “Aisle,” featuring a limited number of moves and a large variety of endings. Instead of the loose zaniness of the earlier era of games, “Dilemma” starts off with Philippa Foot’s trolley problem and introduces more such dilemmas later.

Gameplay: Like “Aisle,” the strength of “Dilemma” is in diversity of endings. I didn’t find them particularly compelling, though, especially given the brevity of the setup. If “Aisle” worked, it’s because its loose structure and light tone allowed more creative in the possible endings. This game seems to play it straight even with the more fantastical actions (e.g., STOP BUS), and there’s not much reward in seeing the unpleasant consequences of whatever difficult decision one makes play out. It’s unclear what commands are accepted and what options in general the protagonist has (the commands suggested in the text are not comprehensive), which makes playing the game frustrating at times. 5/10.

Mechanics: I’m not sure why this was written in Unity; it seems like it would work just as well in a parser- or choice-based format, without the time and complication of developing a custom parser. It was also less polished than the standard parsers, despite the work that must have gone into it. Some commands were misinterpreted, and some were just unrecognized. I couldn’t figure out what to do in the Fastmart scene, for example, after GO SOUTH from the opening one; LOOK and BUY SOMETHING, etc. were rejected as invalid. I even ran into invalid choices on what were presumably yes or no questions. 3/10.

Presentation: Although coding up something like this in Unity is impressive, I don’t think the layout was any better than what an off-the-shelf interpreter would provide, and its parsing ability was much more limited. The text was straightforward, though I didn’t find any of the endings I encountered extremely memorable. 4/10.

You might be interested in this game if: You like the sitcom “The Good Place.”

Score: 4

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s