Grounded in Space
for Interpreter (Glulx)

Mr Creosote:
Company: Matt Wigdahl
Year: 2009
Genre: Adventure
Theme: Pirates / Science Fiction / Text-based
Language: English
Licence: Freeware
Views: 17000
Review by Mr Creosote (2009-11-21)

There's probably not much to do living on some asteroid in deep space. Grounded in Space's protagonist, a teenage boy, decided to spend his time building a rocket. Anxious to test it, he takes it outside and... it destroys his mother's garden! To finally learn some responsibility, learn about the hardship of life and learn to appreciate hard work, he is sent out to a mining belt in a spaceship - all on his own. The journey is supposed to be automated, so our hero has some time to read and familiarize himself with the basics of space mining. Things take a nasty turn soon enough, though, when he encounters pirates and a damsel in distress...

The game challenges the player with some clever puzzles. The central one is concerned with geometry; some players seem to resent that, but it's actually a puzzle which is often given to 12-year-olds, so the complaints are really unreasonable. The end game even involves some creative misuse of the spaceship equipment to save the day. Those are the best kind of puzzles!

The pacing, on the other hand, could definitely be improved. The game begins with a long section about the protagonist being 'grounded' in which there is absolutely no interactivity. Although the player can enter commands, nothing will have any effect. After that, there's a lot of reading to be done about mining, ship maintenance and a couple of other topics. All that only to throw the player into some fairly frantic action following immediately after that. Meaning: the early game requires quite a bit of patience from the player and then it expects him to use all the acquired knowledge in some condensed and time critical scenes.

It works, though. The writing is verbose and it has enough pseudo-technobabble to immerse any player with an interest for the genre. The story is adventurous enough to tickle one's boy inside. And the setup is funny enough to feel ironic enough about it to allow oneself to get into such a juvenile story. Maybe a guilty pleasure, but certainly a sympathetic one.

This game was a contender in the Interactive Fiction Competition 2009 where it placed 10th out of 24.

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