Out of Order Download (2003 Adventure Game)

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One of the best freeware adventure games I have ever played, Out of Order is an excellent point-and-click adventure from Hungry Software. The premise is banal, but the game gets much more interesting later on: you play a 20-year-old loafer who one day finds his bedroom teleported far into .... somewhere that is definitely not Kansas anymore. Your goal, of course, is to find out what is going on and find your way home.

As an effort of largely one man, Tim Furnish, who coded and did all the graphics, Out of Order is very well made. The graphics are not eye-catching but more than adequate to represent the zany alien world and various locations. There is very little pixel-hunting in the game, and all the objects you can interact with are clearly highlighted, so you won't need to click randomly around the screen, looking to find that crucial button that looks like background graphics. The interface, similar to Curse of Monkey Island, and very easy to use. You right-click to change the cursor to various actions (talk, get/use, look, etc.), and left-click to perform that action. Although the game is not "huge" in terms of locations, these locations are used very effectively as you will be returning to them more than a few times as the plot progresses.

Fans of LucasArts adventures will be delighted to know that puzzles in Out of Order are strongly reminiscent of Monkey Island 2 and Day of the Tentacle in terms of their cleverness and consistent - albeit wacky - internal logic. Even though the puzzles in Out of Order are not as memorable as LucasArts', they share the same charm of requiring you to think "out of the box" in many situations, and find creative uses for everyday items including combining them together. Many puzzles have multiple-step solutions, adding to the challenge. Out of Order definitely has some of the hardest puzzles I have seen in a freeware adventure game, which is to say that even die-hard adventurers will get stumped a few times, and will likely have to resort to the age-old "try every inventory item with everything" brute force approach to hit upon the correct solution (I did that once or twice during the game). Quite a few puzzles are obviously inspired by LucasArts' games, but none of them is a blatant rip-off. Some puzzle solutions are a bit far-fetched, but they obey the game's own brand internal logic, and excusable given the "this is not Earth anymore" premise.

Overall, I had a lot of fun playing Out of Order. It is a quality adventure that should take an average gamer a good 15-20 hours to solve, which is extremely high play value compared to an average amateur adventure that is over in 2-3 hours (or even less). With fun and challenging puzzles, captivating plot and characters, and well-written dialogues, Out of Order deserves a spot in every adventurer's collection. It even has a neat ending, and quite a lot of easter eggs that LucasArts fans will enjoy.


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