Do text adventures still have a place in the world in 2021? By this – I don’t mean visual novels which can provide voice acting and plenty of graphics – I mean pure text adventures. If I am honest, I’m not so sure but Ord. brings the best case for text adventures that I’ve played for a long while.
Ord. tells one of six scenarios three words at a time. At the end of each three words you’ll be given a choice and depending on what you choose the adventure continues, splits off down different routes or quite often – kill you off or end your adventure. It is the epitome of minimalism and that is a double edged sword. Whilst it will feel a little cheap and you won’t be getting a story to engross you in, it keeps things moving at pace and you are always three seconds away from your next decision.
Ord. ensures each of the six stories use this mechanic differently as well. One is a classic RPG adventure, another is an escape room, another sees you craft a world like a Populous God and another is a bank robbery. They all present choices but how your routes play out make them all feel very different. Some are actually quite tricky to survive, such as the escape room and time travelling day job. If you don’t consult guides, you’ll be marking out decision trees to make your runs last longer. Ord. also adds in a randomisation element so that you are given one of a variety of paths to go down, making the game much more replayable as you discover new things.
Whilst the game mostly takes place on a black screen it does offer up a few visual surprises like thunder and lightning, shading effects and so on and I wish Ord. had gone all in to provide these atmospheric changes to the text on screen. It is that flair that gives Ord. its personality along with some tongue in cheek routes to make you chuckle. Is it going to change your world or gaming life? No – but Ord. does an awful lot with very little and makes a good case for keeping text only adventures about for a while longer.
If you don't have an imagination - I think you'll really struggle with a text only adventure. Ord. does well with its scope though.
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