I actually played this yesterday, but I had to sleep on it because I wasn't sure how I felt about it. My initial impression was kind of lukewarm, but, when I started playing a little I realized that this game had plenty of elements that were really up my alley. In spite of that, however, it didn't blow me away, and I've determined after some introspection that most of the problems I had with it were on the implementation side. Those problems are best discussed beneath a spoiler tag.
The game's story is a bit like Rematch, the eleven-year-old Xyzzy award winner that I love like a brother, if my brother were a puzzle game utilizing a complex text parser. In The Binary you are trapped in a narrow time loop; it repeats itself after a certain number of turns and after those turns pass you must start over to prevent a disaster from happening. You can carry knowledge that you gained on previous trips through the loop in order to utilize it your next time around, and it is necessary to do this in order to win. I really love the concept here and the element of being able to reuse the clues you picked up, which stay in a "mental" inventory of sorts on the left hand side of the screen.
But the game loses me, not because that particular methodology is too high-concept, but because the disaster I'm trying to prevent is also high-concept, and my origin and back-story are high-concept. David Cage said he learned from his game, Fahrenheit, that you get one, and only one, weird thing. Beyond one weird thing, you're losing the audience's suspension of disbelief. So, in The Binary, the weird thing is obviously that I'm trapped in this time loop, and I'm willing to accept that. However...
It's not apparently me exactly who is trapped; I'm a time-travelling spirit in the body of a homeless man, which goes back to the place of origin every time the loop resets. This place is some kind of monastery or floating city in the mountains, where I have flashbacks about my father telling me how time works (four balls on the edge of a cliff). My name may, or may not, be Jonathan. There is someone called that (perhaps the Zach to my York) who occasionally tells me that I screwed up, making it less clear who I am. Later in the game, if you take a certain path, he then totally takes over for you and does things on your behalf, making me wonder why I (who am I in this game exactly?) was ever involved in the first place. Is this like, my lesson and initiation in to the time-travelling monastery? In which case, why would my initiation be some kind of crucial flux point in the universe rather than something minor?
...Because the thing I'm supposed to prevent is an assassination, but it's not entirely clear of whom, other than a man in a parade with a huge hologram. And the huge hologram throws me off. I think that we're supposed to accept the setting as a Blade-Runner-like cyberpunk sort of universe where guys have huge holograms, but since the cyberpunk-ness never otherwise factors in, it's a confusing red herring that a big hologram exists at all. Presumably these aspects of the setting come in to play in prequels or sequels, but if you can't make your game stand on its own and still hold together, maybe IF Comp isn't quite right for it, even if it gets more people to play and talk about it.
Finally, I was kind of disappointed by what I had to do, because it's not really clear that you have to look at the hotel window in round one to set all the events of the game otherwise in motion. I got stuck many times entering the hotel by various means and then not knowing what to do from there. Your character will never open a hotel window from the inside, unless he noticed an open window from the outside, and that seems frustratingly arbitrary after you've determined that there is a sniper in previous time loops. When I finally gave up, and checked the hints area at the bottom, it not only mentions that but tells you the solution for the entire game without ramping it up for you slowly or guiding you to it.
Nice concept, would've benefited from more editing and tighter testing.