|Interface||3rd paned parser||Real-time||none|
You are Bobbin Threadbare, a damoiseau in the Weavers Guild. The other members of your guild are taken away, beyond the weave of the universe. You are left behind to help combat the onset of chaos, and to make your way to your fellows.
As you search for a way to your people, you learn to create spells (called drafts) using musical notes on a magic distaff. You travel to new lands, meet people, and make friends. However, despite this rather clichéd start, the tale turns darker. Under the Lord of Chaos, an army of the dead begins to take over the universe. You try to stop him, but the result is not the typical fantasy finale.
The presentation of the game is the common third person view onto VGA cartoon graphics. Dialogue is presented as text, but there is a musical background and sound effects. It won't stun you with beauty, but the world is effectively presented. The interface is a bit different since there is no inventory, and only a little bit of object manipulation. Most of your interaction is done by playing musical drafts on the distaff. It's interesting, and gives the game more of a storybook feel.
Note: The drafts are presented musically. You must be able to match the notes to the approriate keys when you later try to weave the draft. This is not a game for the tone-deaf.
The story and characters at first appear to be stock fantasy pablum, but they are twisted into a refreshing ambiguity. This adds a surprising depth to a short story. The world of Loom is much more alive than the simple black and white worlds of, e.g., King's Quest or Kyrandia. This spell is not broken, either: the challenges fit well into the story. One or two are contrived, requiring unnatural behaviour of the world, but even those are not out of place in concept.
Loom is a very short game. It is also linear and simple. The concept of the distaff is good, but the challenges lack the complexity to draw you into the world. The solutions are almost all obvious, with only a couple of minor insights needed through the course of play.
The game part of Loom is disappointing. Loom is, however, a very interesting "short story". The combination makes it a good game for novice adventurers. The story alone is worth the short diversion for more experienced adventurers, if you can get the game at low cost.