Losing Your Grip is an ambitious, outstanding work of "serious" IF which casts you as Terry Hastings, a troubled man who is trying to come to terms with his life. The game is presented in five "fits", or episodes, each focusing on one aspect of Terry's personality, each telling us a bit more about his life and his tragic past. |
The strength of Losing Your Grip lies in the wonderful diversity of settings, puzzles, and characters, all of which are expertly woven into a coherent whole. The "gameworld" borders on the surrealistic; objects and people are how Terry sees them in his mind, not how they actually are. These scenes range from the fantastical to the brutally realistic – anyone who likes surrealist painters, e.g. Dali or Magritte, will have a good idea of what they can expect. The writing is excellent throughout, and there are many interesting characters to meet.
As varied as the settings are, the game would be quite boring if the puzzles were similar. Fortunately, Stephen once again shows the mastery of his craft and careful attention to detail by infusing the game with diverse types of puzzles that are relevant to each fit. These run the gamut from the story-based (e.g. getting the dragonfire), to the logical-but-not-related-to-the-story (e.g. most puzzles in Fit 4 - Rational), and finally to the very obscure (e.g. the orange crystal puzzle: I had no idea how one could have figured it out, even after consulting the solution). Fit 2 - School and Fit 4 - Rational are my favorite episodes. More amazing still is the fact that many puzzles have multiple solutions, although unfortunately they do not lead to different endings.
With excellent writing and puzzles and a wonderful storyline, it's very hard to find fault with Losing Your Grip. This is one of the few IF titles that deserve to be called true literary works of our time, alongside Andrew Plotkin's So Far and Adam Cadre's Photopia. Losing Your Grip is not a short game: you'll be spending many hours, some in frustration at the difficult puzzles, but you will love every minute if you like mature stories. Simply a must-have.
Note: Originally released as shareware, Losing Your Grip was released into the public domain in 2001. Download the "feelies" that came with registered version from the official site!
Reviewed by: Underdogs