Jarret Duffy is going through a rough patch in Necrotic Drift. Not only is his relationship with Audrey on shaky ground, he’s also stuck with a $5.51 per hour job and his roommates are far from the most civilized bunch. So with all that already plaguing the poor guy, what else could possibly go wrong? Well, let’s just say that before this night is over, Jarrett and his friends are going to learn why you shouldn’t mess with the supernatural…
Now, before you read any further, take a look at the screenshot. Notice it yet? Yeah, that’s right: Necrotic Drift is a text adventure! A survival horror text adventure to be exact. I honestly thought that this particular video game genre was long dead and buried (the game came out in 2004, but even so). At least unlike most genre entries from yesteryear, this one features quite a user-friendly interface. There’s even a list of commands available in the help menu (spoiler: accessed by typing ‘help’), so you won’t be fumbling around trying to figure out how to tell the game what you want to do.
You can also check the contents of your inventory at any time by typing ‘inventory’, but I’d recommend making sure you know what’s in your pockets at all times instead. This is due to the fact that Necrotic Drift features some rather uninspired turn-based combat – which quite frankly has no place in a text adventure – and the last thing you’ll want is to give the enemy a free hit while you’re checking your pockets for the name of a potential weapon! To make matters even worse, I found that replenishing your health can be quite troublesome; there are no healing potions or first aid kits in random cabinets here.
It’s a good thing that the story is so well-written, even with a few obvious typos, because the extreme linearity and troublesome combat definitely drag the overall experience down. There were also a few times when I had to think outside the box, or rather, search for items not made visible by the ‘look’ command. This had me stumped, thinking I had missed a vital piece of equipment earlier, which was now required to solve the puzzle ahead of me. As it turns out, I had simply gotten used to being fed information from the game and acting on it. Isn’t this the way text adventures work, though?
All in all, it seems like an interesting ‘modern’ take on the text adventure genre with a few minor issues – none of which are likely going to downright ruin the experience. Ah, the ‘survival horror’ label? Yeah, likely due to the audio/visual jump scares – gotta love those! No really. Do take Necrotic Drift for a spin.