Punk Points is one of my favorite games of the 2000 IF Competition, although it's certainly not a crowd pleaser like Kaged that will rack up the votes. The plot is straightforward: it's your first day of high school, and you have only one goal most boys aspire to: be a badass. Now you have to survive the authoritarian environment of an all-boys Catholic school, while gathering enough score, i.e. "punk points," to eventually escape the suburbs. |
While by no means an instant classic, Punk Points has a lot of character. Puzzles are simple, but logical, and there are alternate solutions to many puzzles. Although room descriptions are sparse and minimal, they are adequate. What makes the game a lot of fun for me is that in contrast to most games, here you have a chance to be a "bad boy" for once. If, like me, you survived high school wishing that you were a bit more rebellious and assertive, Punk Points helps create that "what if" scenario. I also like the fact that you can lose your points as well as gain them: you can choose to obey orders to get by a sticky situation, or you can act like a punk. It's a lot of fun to replay a sequence in a different way, just to see how many points you can gain or lose.
For all its character and quirky charm, though, Punk Points feels a bit shallow. As Craxton points out in her review of the game: "There's always exactly one puzzle to solve, and solving it gets you a cut-scene pointing towards the next puzzle. Essentially, you're just paving the road from one scene to the next, taking in the scenery as you go. There's a lot of stuff I wanted to participate in but didn't get the chance to, such as the marker war in science lab. You WATCH, and it's interesting to watch, yeah, but you don't really do anything." Still, if you like IF with plenty of atmosphere and character, Punk Points has plenty of both in spades. Along with Robb Sherwin's A Crimson Spring, Punk Points is my pick for the underdog of 2000 IF Competition-- a great game that will attract a cult following, but never appeal to the masses.
Reviewed by: Underdogs