Steam, Tracks, Trouble & Riddles (S.T.T.&R.) is a single player adventure mod, based on source engine (Orange Box) by Valve. It combines two types of game play: an adventure game with complex, 3D-interactive riddles in a fantastic environment and a simulator for track based vehicles.
Good idea, but not really good realisation, good face animations of robot, ordinary level design, unobviously puzzles and broken scripts in couple of moments.
Liked the overall idea, level geometry, design, custom assets, and generally enjoyed it! On the downsides - some areas could use smaller lightmap scale i. e. better global lighting, and in a couple of places it's possible to get to the edge of the level and witness the great NODRAW.
My this is one of those mods that has found itself in an uncomfortable spot.
The effort that went into the mod is clearly visible and I really want to rate this mod higher, but sadly glitches plagued certain sections along with the fact that the dialogue was jarring, especially with someone like Ross Scott being forced to voice them.
-Intricate puzzle mechanics present throughout the game
-Custom characters complete with voices
-New setting besides shooty Combine-land
-The same puzzle mechanics are plagued with glitches
-Voice talent wasted on inane dialogue
-Mapping is sparce with details
Overall this mod is a rough gem. I really love the concept and the effort put into this mod, but it could have used more polish. Don't let this deter you from making a sequel though, as I would certainly be looking forward to it.
Great mod, crisp visuals, decent physics, good progression, Ross Scott. Yes, Ross Scott is a feature.
That aside for a second, the story is fun, sometimes haunting, sometimes taunting, never too challenging. Nothing beats looking at a puzzle and having trouble figuring it out and then going over to the robot for help only to see his happy, dumb, or clever smile staring back at you blankly.
Is the robot dumb? Is he just looking for someone to the the grunt work? Is he just sadistic? We may never know.
As I mentioned before, it has a modified version of Ross Scott's voice (Freeman's Mind). That alone adds a humor aspect to the game.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing the game. Thanks for making it!
Beautiful mod! Very creative too. So why the 5 Rating? On the 3rd puzzle onward I had to keep going back to the pdf cheat sheet... Ugh. I guess I'm just not that bright, so be it. Once a game, even a potentially fantastic game becomes a "oh nooo, another puzzle", forget about it.
Увы, уныло. (((
Almost all of the other reviews are pre-version 2.
This is a review on Chapter One alone (version one at that):
I don't really know what to say about S,T,T,R. I can't say I enjoyed it, though. It's very slow for the most part, the puzzles are very easy, and the pay-off when completing most puzzles kind of falls flat.
Before I go into those negatives, I do want to make some positive call-outs. The robot model in this is great. I really love that it has facial expressions and it has a bit of character to it in it's rolling walk animation and regular smile. The model for the handcar that the player uses it quite nice too and I do enjoy the beginning puzzle where the player has to assemble the train. This is may better by the tiny model version of it in the same room at the start. That's a nice touch.
Beyond that, the puzzles kind of feel lacking in challenge. Even for a chapter one game, the puzzles are extremely simple, to the point where I was wondering if this was a game meant for kids. It feels like the designer decided to throw a ton of introductory puzzles to teach the player some mechanics, but didn't really develop on those concepts.
One example of an introductory puzzle is the bomb puzzle, where the player is introduced to a collapsed wall in the way of the train, conveniently next to a bomb creating machine. A single bomb sits in a room with a detonator switch. Hitting the switch results in instant death from the exploding bomb if the player didn't have the insight to move it out of the way. It's sort of tough love teaching mechanics, which is okay when you're expecting it, but not okay if you forgot to save beforehand. My bigger issue with the bomb puzzle is that bombs don't come into play ever again in the chapter, so this introduction feels pointless.
The main handcar in this also feels pointless too. Aside from some sections where the road leads to a pit of death, the handcar feels like an unnecessary and slower method of travel than walking. I won't be so harsh on this because it felt like it was a joke initially, as it felt like I was building and moving the handcar as a favor for the robot (who is obsessed with trains), but the fact that I outright abandon it later kind of makes me question if the robot actually wanted it in the first place.
It also feels like there's supposed to be something more to the robot character (voiced by Ross Scott of 'Freeman's Mind' fame), but the dialogue written for him falls flat, serving only to either congratulate the player for solving a very simple puzzle or to deliver a joke. Most of the jokes unfortunately fall flat as well, and the delivery of them feels poor especially given other things the voice actor has done in the past. The lack of interactivity outside of these pre-scripted pieces also takes away from it for me (Press the use key on this bot and nothing ever happens.)
The level design feels empty and basic as well, and there's no real reward for trying to explore in this game. The train station at the beginning feels like it's the most detailed part of the game, but it also feels like the emptiest part of the game, as taking any path outside of building and riding the handcar leads to a complete dead end with nothing to even look at.
Because this is only the first chapter and the mod came out within less than a year, I do have a few suggestions to the developer: Get someone to help with writing the dialogue and work on the level and puzzle design more. I would personally enjoy this mod more if it had more challenging puzzles and better delivery on the robot character's dialogue.
Good mod, I liked the robot (Ross Scott WOW!!) and some of the puzzles, What is not so good -->IN MY OPINION<-- is the lack of sound (and sometimes detailing) on the levels.. it kind of breaks the immersion for me a little bit =\.
It feels more like someone’s hobby project than anything else. It’s visually interesting but that’s pretty much where it ends; nothing feels like it’s introduced but rather dropped in front of you. The setting is introduced in a few images but it’s a bit vague and it doesn’t really connect to the gameplay in any way. You could just be riding around on carts in the present day and it wouldn’t be any different to this weird robot cold war thing.
The NPC is really bizarre. He’s modeled and animated really well but he never DOES anything. You could omit him entirely and I reckon it wouldn’t change much. In every scene, he appears, says one line of dialogue largely irrelevant to the scenario and then just stares blankly at you while you complete the puzzle. As soon as you finish it, he just says he’ll catch up and stands there after you’ve gone. I have no idea how he’s getting between the areas without doing the puzzles but I envy him for it.
The puzzles themselves are hit and miss. The main problem is that you figure out the solution in the first few seconds and then spend ages completing them. The train in the first level is painfully slow and the scene where you have to move the track along the water was so simple that it felt more like busy-work.
The only puzzle I couldn’t do was the one with the pipes. I must have spent about 20 minutes on it and I couldn’t do it. I confess, I had to skip past that one.
Lastly, what was up with that sequence where you had to run past all of the trains? It felt like they were desperate to inject some action into it but it was so laughably easy that there was no tension whatsoever; just standing in the doorways and waiting for the trains to trundle past so you could trot along behind them. It was kind of funny how they played rock music over it.
I really can’t recommend this. Everything feels so slow and awkward. Only play it if you’re a huge fan of either trains or waiting rooms.
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