Review of "Color and Number"

Color and Number is a TADS 2 interactive fiction game and is © 2002 by Steven Kollmansberger. It was entered in IF Comp 2002 where it tied for 24th place.

Review by David Welbourn

Hm. You've been called in by the police as a puzzle expert to help them search a cult's temple devoted to the worship of colors and numbers. Oddly, they send you in alone without an officer to safeguard you or answer any questions you might have.

And, indeed, the temple is filled with puzzles, but it's a strangely charmless temple. There's little evidence to betray how the worshippers actually lived, or ever were here at all. Where did they prepare their food or eat it? Where did they sleep? Where did they bathe? The most common furnishing is a pedestal, and I imagined that the local pedestal maker must be quite rich by now. And considering how most of the puzzles are mechanical (pull lever, pull rope, push button, etc.) and require the player to sketch out diagrams of the descriptions, I think this game would've been better rendered as a graphical adventure, not text.

The further you get into it, the less sense it makes. The puzzles start getting ridiculous. The statues puzzle provides almost no feedback and is tedious to solve without a "turn statue to direction" syntax. The puzzles are just plain bothersome to figure out, or require a bit of read-author's-mind, and that's not fun. You get tired of flipping switches and pushing buttons and start trusting to luck to get you through (which sometimes works). The huge underground area, which I can't imagine anyone other than the cult's leader using, is basically a long series of obstacles to ultimately guard... a dead end. Huh? Did the leader forget to build an escape route?

Rating: 4.

🔑️ See my walkthrough. ✍️🏻 See my handwritten notes.