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All Roads

All Roads, an award-winning game by Jon Ingold, is both straightforward and incredibly convoluted.

The gameplay is not too difficult, but not too easy either; I vaguely remember getting stuck on the first puzzle some time ago, when I was very new to IF. I played it through recently, and though I remembered almost nothing about the puzzles, I had little trouble solving them. The game gives the player necessary objects and hints without a lot of excess stuff, so the path through the game is fairly easy to follow. Some events are timed; I missed out on content in one area when I ran out of time. Whether or not the player has all the available information, however, the ending should be fairly easy to reach.

An understanding of the plot is a far more difficult puzzle to solve than any a player will encounter in the game. The plot alone is why I say that All Roads is complex and extremely difficult to understand. Multiple play-throughs are probably necessary for comprehension; the game might be linear, but the plot certainly isn’t. I opted to read an explanation rather than play the game a few times more.

I recommend playing All Roads. It’s enjoyable in of itself, and the revelation of what’s really going on with the plot, whether solved by the player or acquired from another source, adds a completely different way of looking at the game.

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