Balances by Graham "Cracker" Nelson(1994)

The Evil, Ugly Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: If there is anything in this world more enjoyable than placing featureless white cubes in and out of sockets, I don't know what it is.

The Nice, Handsome Guy On My Shoulder's Verdict: It is the best "demonstration" game I have ever played!!

My Verdict: Short, sweet, and impossible to win on the first go round.

Game Information

Author Info: He's well known as the "Inform" guy, unless you know him better as the "writer" guy or the "mathematics" surfer dude or just "Dear Uncle Graham." He has written a number of quite lovely text adventure games in his time that have brought pleasure to hundreds. Sadomaschochists, all of us.

Game Type: Inform

Other Games By This Author: Curses, The Tempest, and other stuff. That Sherbet one has too long a name. I refuse to type it out. Cut and paste? What on Earth is that? Have I wandered into a preschool crafts class by chance? I seem to be doing that a lot lately...

Download Link: Ici

The Review...

As I finally played through this game for the very first time recently, I tried my best to view it with "newbie eyes." It is very tempting to argue that this game is not really meant to stand on its own individual merits - it was written as an early demonstration of Inform in action, and also as a short, unofficial addition to Infocom's Enchanter thrillogy...but I decided I could review this game much better if I thought of it as a game rather than as a demo or a fan sequel. My thoughts?

This is a good game. Except for one thing. *Sigh* Those annoying little details... What is the problem? It is just that it annoys me when I spend quite a lot of time playing through a relatively small game only to find, at the very end, that because I have not performed some quite unintuitive actions previously I have to start all over again. If you are one of the few and proud individuals who, upon procuring a new object, immediately name it, then I am very happy for you, and regret I am not of your superior ilk. By the way, do you do this naming everything thing in real life too, or just in text adventures? By the way, did I just write a SPOILER? Ooopsie. That is not a good thing, not at all. But just think about it: some people who read this review are going to think that they will have to name every single object they encounter in Balances, which is pretty hilarious. What idiots! You only have to name the CUBES. ... ... ..??? !!!!!!

Crap. I am sorry, I haven't reviewed any IF games in a while. Spoilers are bad. Yeah. Now I remember. I will do better from now, I promise!

I suppose I could also fault this game for not having much of a background story, and also containing too many "random elements." However, I won't do this, because this game is FUN. Sure, there's no're just this magician guy in a magical land who works his sweet magic with a loving hand. You collect cubes cuz they're so freaking cool, and you never let a cyclops play you for a fool. For a smile, you could walk a mile to visit some dome-living monks - these elitist punks will achieve nirvana if you shine a light with your sorceror's might. Oh, DAMN, did I do it AGAIN? How is that even possible? Let's shift gears. No, let's change lanes!

We live in a vast world. We are individuals part of an ever expanding human population that is already enormous - let's face it...WE DON'T MATTER. We're just people; totally expendable. The only effects we have on the world around us are relatively slight, when seen from a broad perspective. It seems to me that this is the reason why magic games have always been popular. People love the idea of having this innate power that will give them an "edge" over everyone else, and some control over the physical world we live on. In Balances, you are placed in a position where you can basically wreak HAVOC on the world around you. You have a plethora of spells at your disposal, and you can try to cast them on anything you like. In the world of Balances, you are THE MAN - thanks to your supernatural abilities, no situation is too difficult to overcome. Ultimately, what I like most about this game is the feeling of power and freedom it gives to the player. You, however, will probably enjoy the puzzles more, which are not too difficult, and certainly you will like the writing: Graham is writing very freshly and very imaginatively here. He is never pretentious or overly verbose, but always satisfying.

Simple Rating: 6/10

Complicated Rating: 29/50

Story: 3/10

Writing: 8/10

Playability: 7/10

Puzzle Quality: 6/10

Parser Responsiveness: 5/10(Do remember that you place things ON scales, not in them.)

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