Here’s a review of Ord. on the Nintendo Switch. There’s not that much to say about the game – it’s a text-based adventure, comprised of three words at a time, and I’m reluctant to spoil it for you with too many examples.
It’s not bad, far from it. It’s a bit short and other than using one of those public speaking techniques of filling time with the analogies on the inside of a ping pong ball for five minutes (true story), there are very few features to discuss in this title by Mujo Games and Ratalaika Games.
Ord. is a text-based game stripped of all distinguishing features other than a tidy little jingle each time you act, and a somewhat ‘open for interpretation’ noun or verb to begin with. If we had a mannequin in front of us to represent the game, it’d be wearing cling film y-fronts.
Ord. Switch Review
The thing with this game is its transparency. No fancy ray-tracing, unlockable skins or licensed music by Travis Scott, it’s just the player left to their imagination and experimentation, without fear of being judged for it.
You’re in a room.
If that opening sentence is familiar to you, either you have some gaming heritage of Mystery House by Sierra (never played it, but as a Sierra fan, I know of it) or something more modern like A Dark Room, or you know how to roll your die.
I’m not a D&D person, ignoring the excellent Baldur’s Gate 3, but I dabbled with some text-based games back at school and also read the ‘choose your own adventure’ books back in the day, which coincidentally makes a cameo in Cardpocalypse.
Put in these scenarios, you often have one solution that is ‘correct’ such as pick up the key or head North. All the other options would end up with your swift death. These were around before rogue-likes, where you could get far on an adventure, only to have it abruptly ended by picking up a sword rather than an axe. The sword was poisoned; you are dead.
In Ord. it’s the same principle as you venture forth on some selectable adventures and respond to each ‘statement’ with an action. For example, on the Quest adventure, you’ll begin with the word alarm, and your options are either wake or snooze. If you opt for the latter, you’ll be in an endless loop until you select the right one.
Choose The Right(eous) Path
Knowing which is the right one comes through repetition as some of the actions you do in the game don’t make any sense. Let’s say you were presented with the noun magazine; you can either read or leave. What kind of magazine is it? Is it laced with anthrax? Does the magazine contain any boobs?
That means you’re overthinking, but when there are no graphical representations on the screen (other than the odd elemental effect), you’re left to your imagination. If left unchecked, you can run riot with it. In some ways, it’s a minute novella but only written with three words at a time.
If you choose read, you can progress to the next location, select skim and you’ll be banned in Fortnite. Every section gives one word ‘problems’ to which you are given a choice. Sometimes the results are hilarious, other times they are absurd such as instant death, returning you to the title screen.
Bizarrely, this makes you want to play again and again and again. If the thought of reading a few words of text puts you off, chances are you aren’t even reading this bit here, in which case, you can safely dismiss Ord.
For anyone out there looking for something unique, that gives a smug glance to yesteryear’s gaming, or you want to try something new, Ord. is surprisingly fun. You’ll finish the whole thing relatively quickly with plenty of surprises included, but as there isn’t any skill required other than having a good memory for what worked and didn’t the first time, anyone can play this.
Not to do the developers out of pocket, I’m not sure I can recommend the £4.99 list price. Despite enjoying it, it’s not something I’ll come back to unless there are additional stories added or perhaps I have an open-minded friend willing to try. Wait for a sale, maybe? Cheapskate.