I knew Alex Warren for a long time. He is the author of Moquette, and the creator of Quest, a good system to write adventure games, to which Alex has worked for years. Thanks to Quest, even who doesn’t know anything about programming can create a quite complex text game.
Alex participated in the IF Comp 2013 to popularize Quest, but also to prove himself as an author, something he had never done before. And so he wrote Moquette, that – curiously – has little to do with the the most part of other games written using Quest, which look pretty much as old style adventures: Moquette, for its part, has no parser, no puzzles, it is a multiple choice Gamebook.
The scenario is the London Tube. We’re a guy by the name of Zoran who – as always – is going to work at his office. But something pushes him to spend a different day. So, we begin to wander around the subway, changing train after train, observing people. Observing, observing… Then, we meet her: Heather. And finally, our boring day becomes interesting. We’d like to spend some time with Heather, but suddenly she vanishes and we have to catch her.
Moquette is a small game, well written , but little compelling. Sure, the sense of the story lies in its monotony. The character’s personality is tending to depression and he actually seems walking on moquette (a French word which means “carpeted floor”), living in a “soft and confused” world.
Yet, a story, an adventure, does must have goals or even minimal obstacles along the way. And when we bump into the only goal of the game, Heather, it’s too late: the adventure is near to the end. Had the author created more interaction with the people in the tube, or with some object, the game would have been stronger. Alex has done a great job in recreating a portion of the immense London Tube to explore, he evoked a sense of anxiety, offered some interesting visual effect (at one point the text scrolls fast horizontally simulating the passage of a train), a final twist, but… Moquette is too slow to thrill.