Review of "Constraints"

Constraints is a Z-code 5 interactive fiction game written with Inform 6 and is © 2002 by Martin Bays. At the 2002 XYZZY Awards, it was a finalist in the Best Individual Puzzle category.

Review by David Welbourn

This entry might be better considered as conceptual art, rather than a game. As art, it's an interesting study in presenting non-interactivity in an interactive medium. As game, it's at turns boring, frustrating, annoying, or dull.

This exercise is presented as a trio of situations where you're invited to effect a change, but whatever you try will fail. Struggling against fate does make for better play than just pushing "z" over and over. But however successful the game is at presenting failure, it still fails to be a compelling game experience. In all cases, there seems little hope that you might succeed at all, and of course, the point of the game is that you can't succeed. So why bother? Failure isn't fun.

(Reading blue text on a black background isn't fun either.)

Rating: 3.

✍️🏻 See my handwritten notes.