Out of Order

Developer/Publisher:  Hungry Software
Year Released:  2003

Review by Rosemary Young (November, 2003)
He's younger than Arthur Dent, so he's not as cynical. He's got more hair too, and he's more resourceful with a taste for brighter colours. And his slippers are much more fun. If he stands idle for too long the puppy eyes that peep out from each foot blink at you in bewilderment.

If you haven't guessed Hurford Schlitzting, the hero of Out of Order, is another reluctant traveller destined to journey in his night attire. Unlike Arthur he doesn't escape Earth as it's about to be demolished, and he doesn't travel as far and wide, but he takes an eventful trip nonetheless.

It's a dark and stormy night when Hurford wakes up, walks to the window and feels an odd prick of electricity. After a short shouting match with his mother, back to bed he goes. He wakes again when the storm mysteriously abates and all is quiet ...

This is when you join Hurford and his slippers. Something strange is happening! The bedroom door won't open at first but when you solve that problem and finally step outside, Hurford is in another world far from home ... and it's time to set off exploring and learn what it's all about.

Out of Order is a point and click adventure made with the SLUDGE (Scripting Language for Unhindered Development of a Gaming Environment) Engine. It's primarily the work of one brave adventurer, Tim Furnish, with the support of his friends, and what a delightful game they've served up with this one.

It's not a commercial game so the graphics aren't super-sophisticated but they are full screen, clear and colourful and make you feel right at home with this type of traditional adventure. There's a friendly musical accompaniment too, but no character voices. For this trip you must read on-screen text to learn what's going on.

The game world isn't large but there's some good puzzles thrown in to compensate for this. You'll have to move back and forth collecting items and getting things done; chatting to characters and determining how they might serve your purposes, willing or not. Some puzzles are simple but there are some clever ones too that you'll have to put some thought into solving. You can examine everything and this is important because there are crucial clues in Hurford's observations and, of course, in the conversations. All the dialogue is well written, with a humorous tinge to everything, and it's not too drawn out. Watch out for some digs at the adventure game genre and watch out for the screwdriver ... there has to be one around somewhere!

The simple interface makes it just so easy to get into Out of Order. If you've played some of the old classics you'll get the hang of it immediately. Just click the right mouse button to cycle through the verb choices of walk, look, use, take and talk. The left mouse button takes care of these actions once they are selected and you click on screen. The space bar shows your inventory and the Esc key takes you to a menu for saving, loading, quitting, etc. Press 'S' for a quick save and the + and - keys adjust the length of time speech is displayed on screen.

Everything you need is there. It really is a well put together little game and it's a lot of fun. Hurford will win your heart right from the beginning with his attack of the munchies and his CD collection totalling just 1. So if you fancy setting off on your adventure with a CD and a doorknob and ... well I don't want to give too much away ... then this game is for you. My advice, have a look, and not just because it's free to download but because you're in for a treat.

You can download this game from Hungry Software. rating:  

Copyright © Rosemary Young 2003. All rights reserved.

System Requirements: