The Dink Network

If Ducks Ruled the World

Dink sneaks past a sleepy guard. From the COTPATD project.
August 6th, 2009
Score : 8.0 good
This is a generally well-implemented DMOD which sees Dink being sent on a vague expedition to solve a "disturbance", which eventually turns out to be a funny twist.

The Good:

The premise is quite funny, as is the dialogue and responses from NPCs. Scenery is generally quite well implemented, and sports some neat tricks such as the potion on the tree.

There is also lots to do and explore, and a good amount of secrets to keep the obsessive player coming back for more. The difficulty level gradually increases throughout, as it should (although this isn't perfect, see below).

The Warp Crystal is a good idea for simplifying the latter part of the game when you're just picking up loose ends and don't want to do inordinate amounts of walking. (Sadly, it caused my game to crash after a first use---most likely a bug in the Linux version of Freedink that should be fixed by the next stable release. Nevertheless, it is very well implemented.)

The Bad:

The player really should be informed that real-world time matters in this game. As it stands, it's unclear that you are *literally* expected to hurry up and finish the tasks, and the only way you find out is after a first attempt at thorough exploration and levelling up lands you into a ... monochromatic ending. Even after you realize that you're racing against the clock, it is still no small feat to finish everything in time. I resorted to the walkthrough, but even then, I was only a few minutes short of the time limit. I think this is a bit cruel given the sheer amount of tasks that have to be completed, and their relative difficulty. There are also some tasks that become much harder (I won't spoil what it is---the walkthrough mentions it) if not done within a certain time limit, which seems a bit unfair. It seems as though the only way to finish the game without the walkthrough is by trial-and-error, replaying from the start each time to minimize the time taken. This is a bad point about this DMOD.

The first miniboss is also an order of magnitude above what precedes it: this is a bit too sudden. Fortunately, the subsequent more difficult mountains area can be negotiated easily by simply choosing not to fight.

The locked chests, while a good idea, becomes annoying after a while, especially given the time constraint (you don't have time to spare to level up and stock up on some cash to buy keys, for example). This may be deliberate, though, since you don't *have* to get everything in order to win the game, so this is not really a big minus.

Finally, the endgame is a bit of a read-the-author's-mind proposition: without reading the walkthrough, it is difficult to imagine how you could guess the method by which you must defeat the boss. Unless, of course, you do a lot of trial-and-error runs from copiously saved games.

Given these little niggling issues, the rating for this DMOD is a real toss-up. On the one hand, its implementation is high-quality (compared to your average DMOD), its game map well-designed, and there are even clever bits (the potion on the tree, the locked chests, etc.). On the other hand, it suffers from some read-the-author's-mind situations, and a time constraint that makes the requisite exploration for solving tricky puzzles a tedious reload-saved-game-and-try-again task. I guess 8.0 is a fair score for it.