I took a little holiday this weekend to visit the GameX Conference in Philadelpha, PA. Great conference and met a ton of interesting people! That of course is why I haven't written anything in the blog on this topic in a little while.
Instead of telling you about my vacation I'm going to go back to IF reviews with this review of Broken Legs. Spoilers below.
This game seems to owe a lot to Varicella, inviting inevitable comparison. That's rough because Varicella is a tough act to follow, especially with a game I'm supposed to only play for two hours.
Instead of trying to take over a kingdom, I'm supposed to cause other girls to fail their musical theater auditions so I can get in to an elite music college. In other words, as my husband put it, "a very sympathetic protagonist." I asked him why, after playing about an hour of Broken Legs, I actually liked the protagonist a bit less than Varicella, who is also an obviously terrible person, and he said it's probably because Lottie's task is so much more obviously petty. It's not as if it's a matter of life and death in this case (although to her, it probably feels like it is).
Another reason the protagonist is so grating is that her characteristic voice tends to make it more difficult to view the world clearly. She concentrates on things in the environment that are not important. As an example, when I examine the music stand in practice room 1, Lottie goes on and on about how gross it is and how she spilled water on one just like it, but seems to neglect to mention the fact that there's a score on the stand that I'm supposed to take. It's not as if I wasn't reading the text carefully, but I didn't find any reference to the sheet music in that room and was just fumbling around blindly until I found it. Note to self: if I ever write an IF game, make sure that the things which are important to the solution of the game are also important to the protagonist of the game.
Not that I don't enjoy Lottie some of the time. I like how Alex's shoes have the actual item name 'Special-ass character shoes,' for example.
Actually, I come in swinging but enjoyed a lot of things about this game. I just think it needs another version for polish because many environmental things that are crucial to solving the game are very incompletely clued. I figured out how to get Kassie eliminated, but starting up the events that get her eliminated starts the "timer" on all the other girls. After calling Mom I then realized that the next step was to get her to steal Alex's shoes... but how to convince her to do this? Kassie's conversation topics do not extend to "shoes," let alone "music" which I'm also supposed to take from Alex. And that is even more confusing, because, I don't see sheet music when I look at Alex. I read the description and there's no mention of it, nor can I examine her music or anything else as far as I can tell. The only way to figure out that Alex has sheet music I need to steal is to call Mom, at which point Lottie will mention the sheet music to Mom, even though she didn't mention it to ME in her description of Alex, and I can't look at or examine it when I'm in the room with Alex (unless I'm just calling it the wrong thing or something).
Also, there are a few other little annoying bugs: if I ask Kassie about her purse, she'll display it proudly and discuss it... ... er, except, when I did this, I had already given the purse to Mary, so this whole dialog drop didn't make any sense. Practice Room 2 doesn't have an 'autodoor' feature, presumably because you need Seraphina to open it the first time, but it's inconsistent with Practice Room 1, which does have an autodoor, so, if it could somehow switch to autodoor after Seraphina leaves that would be nice (if unnecessary since you don't have to go back in for the solution, but at one point I needed to hide in there to call Mom).
And the soundproofing bit. Confusing! Lottie makes a big deal about how the rooms aren't soundproofed, and I can hear singers, except there's only one person singing, and her room is soundproofed, and unsoundproofing it is part of the puzzle of getting her to leave the room...
That being said, this game could be pretty fun and fairly slick if some of the stuff I'm whining about was cleaned up. A theoretical 2.0 might be solvable within the time limit, but this version wasn't for me mostly due to confusing environmental cluing.