Briefcase Review

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Publisher: Fallout Software
Developer: Fallout Software

Platform: PC
Reviewed on PC
Official Site:

Windows System Requirements: Pentium 266 MHz, 16 MB RAM, 4MB video card

Grab your briefcase and see if you can fit everything you need inside.

Kyle Ackerman

Briefcase is the debut game for Fallout Software. The premise is straightforward – you have a briefcase that is a ten by seven grid. You also have a selection of objects which, if arranged correctly, will exactly fill the briefcase. Everything that you have to pack starts off on a red border (suggesting perhaps a bedspread or tabletop) at the sides and bottom of your briefcase. Once you've managed to fit everything from CD-ROMs to cassette tapes or a portable phone into the case, you move on to the next level, which contains a different selection of objects.

There are a total of fifty levels in the game, and two ways to play. You can play in a timed mode, where you receive a score based on how quickly you complete the level, or in a non-timed mode where you just try to fit every set of items. There are no rules of movement or placement. Simply, every object takes up a pattern of grid squares, and they can't overlap. As you move further into the game, objects get more complicated, filling patterns other than squares and rectangles.

This is really a game intended for the casual gamer. Hardcore gamers will find this game a lot like inventory management in scores of games such as Diablo. Casual gamers may also have some issues with Briefcase. Many of the levels are not, in and of themselves, difficult. Manipulating the objects sometimes is. Every object is effectively just squares that need to fit exactly into the grid of the briefcase. With some objects, it is difficult to tell exactly where the picture is relative to the squares that fit into the case. For example, the sunglasses seem like a straightforward shape, but are centered lower in their space than you would expect. This makes items like the sunglasses or video recorder difficult to place in the case. This could be very frustrating for the casual gamer. Further, if you need to take an object out of the case (because your initial arrangement was unsuccessful) you have to find a completely open area in the red surface to accommodate the removed object. Since there may be many objects still to be placed inside the case (and thus, left on the red surface) removed objects don't always fit, even though all the player wants to do is move something to the side.

What Briefcase offers is the framework for something interesting. As it stands, even the casual gamer may have difficulty thinking of this as a game instead of a chore. The graphics are fine, particularly for a first-effort puzzle game, with adequate art at a 640x480 resolution. To be an interesting puzzle, there needs to be some additional variety. An ability to rotate objects, rules of movement or objects that couldn't be placed next to specific other items would all make the puzzle element more engaging. To appeal to casual gamers, it must be possible to place items in the case or on the side effortlessly, with objects snapping to the closest available space, or even swapping with objects already in the case. All that said, it's hard to justify spending the just under $15 you'd have to pay to get the full version of Briefcase. To see what we mean, you can examine the demo.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on April 16, 2003 12:37 PM.

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