-   -   -   -   -   -   - 

Developer:Mike Tolar
Publisher:Mike Tolar
Genre:Text Adventure
Release Date:2005
Article Posted:March 2006

Quietly standing on the porch in front of your house, perhaps you expect this to be no more than an ordinary day. You know that many options lay ahead of you on this pleasant autumn morning. The ever-busy downtown area, the beautiful Waterfront, and the soothing park across the street are all beckoning you. But there is something different in the air. As you step off the porch and start exploring, you get the feeling that you are about to embark on an exciting journey. Through many twists and turns you will discover carefully hidden secrets and see the town from a whole new perspective. Whichever direction you choose to take, today will be anything but ordinary.

Clink is a text adventure from the one-man-army Mike Tolar. The entire game is built on a series interconnected Web pages. Each page of Clink has one or more hyperlinks embedded within the text. You will travel through the game by clicking on these links. The links might take you to detailed descriptions of objects or advance the story as you make decisions. Your journey through Clink will have many interesting twists and turns. While there is only one ending and a definite direct path to get to it, Clink has a remarkable amount of content waiting to be discovered. Given the fact that the game spans over more than 2800 pages with a vast multitude available paths, each person playing Clink will have a somewhat different experience

The story in Clink humbly begins just outside your house. You will not be playing as an invincible warrior or an almighty wizard. You will not be traveling across time or saving the world from an alien invasion. Instead, Clink has an engrossing tale about discovering the secrets hidden in your own backyard. As you set off to explore the city, you will make many curious discoveries eventually leading to the unraveling of a great conspiracy. You will have to match wits with the Badster Gang, the police, your strange neighbors, and a very aggressive and highly offensive sewer entrance. You will come to realize that people and places are not always who or what they appear to be.

Playing through Clink and finding your way to the end of the adventure will certainly test your observation skills. Clink may not have the conventional inventory-based puzzles you might expect from a graphic adventure game. However, the game does feature a number of sections where you will need to piece together clues and carefully examine the page you are viewing in order to make progress. Amidst the myriad of links available in Clink, the path will not always be clear. You might even get stuck at certain points in the game as you try to figure out how to make use of a specific clue. You may end up clicking through several sections more than once before you determine the correct path. However, a little patience and perseverance will get you a long way. Carefully examining each of the available locations should give you all the clues needed to reach the end of the game.

The simplicity of Clink’s technology makes the game extremely accessible. The game does not feature any scripting languages or dynamically generated Web pages. Once you download the game and unzip the files, you do not even have to stay online to enjoy Clink. To ensure the game will display correctly under most screen resolutions, Mike Tolar has designed two versions of Clink. Once you open the first page of the game in your Web browser, you have the option to switch to the version designed for lower screen resolutions. Since the game utilizes nothing besides standard Web page styling elements, it should display and run smoothly on just about any Web browser.

While Clink is not an exceptionally lengthy adventure, journeying through the game should still keep you occupied for several hours. Especially given the multitude of optional content and the different paths you can explore, Clink can easily keep you in front of the monitor into the late hours of the night. Even if you happen to stumble upon the correct path through the game and get to the ending easily, it is highly recommended that you go back and explore all the different options. Carefully going through each section of the game does reveal factoids that should make the ending of the story more fulfilling.

Unfortunately, the brilliant simplicity of Clink’s technology might create a small problem when it is coupled with the fact that you may not necessarily get all the way through Clink in a single session. The game does not internally have a save-game mechanism that allows you to record your progress. Fortunately, you can easily circumvent this issue in a couple of ways. The first solution is to simply add the page you are viewing to your favorites list. Bookmarking the current page in this fashion should give you an easy way to get back to it when you are ready to resume the game. Alternatively, you can try a more manual approach and make a note of the specific page you are viewing. Your browser’s address bar should tell you the exact address. You can directly return to the designated page later to resume the game.

It is worth mentioning that Clink has a good amount of humor. As your character occasionally puts up with a remarkable amount of misfortune due to a small lapse of judgment or you make an important discovery through sheer dumb luck, Clink might get more than a few chuckles out of you. The lighthearted tone of the game and Mike Tolar’s skillful writing make for an enjoyable read. In fact, as recognition of the quality of writing featured in the game, Clink was recently added to the Electronic Literature Directory.

Clink is without a doubt a commendable effort. If nothing else, Mike Tolar deserves congratulations for the sheer amount of effort it must have taken to create Clink. The massive amount of Web pages and links is truly impressive. The game also succeeds in delivering an entertaining story. Once you get into the game and start navigating through its pages, you should feel its inherent charm that quite simply cannot be captured by the best-looking 3D graphics engine. Clink is easily recommended to fans of text-based adventure games or anyone who has ever read and enjoyed a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. Even if you have never tried interactive fiction before, you should at least consider playing the demo version of Clink to get a feel for how the game works. When you finish the game, you will likely be left with that bittersweet feeling of having completed a good novel. Here’s hoping that Mike is already working on a sequel.

To purchase the game or play the free demo, visit the official Clink Web site is at: www.ClinkAdventure.com

The final grade is 87/100.