AardVarK versus The Hype is an entrant in the 2021 Interactive Fiction Competition. All of the entries can be browsed and experienced here.
This year is 1997 and the students at the local high school have been transformed into blood-coughing, murderous zombies by the Hype, a new soft drink. It’s up to the members of the world’s great garage band, AardVarK, to defeat the Hype but doing so is going to involve solving some puzzles and spendng a lot of time at a convenience store.
This is an intentionally strange game and it takes a while to get used to the format but I dug it. There are four members of AardVarK and, throughout the game, you switch back and forth from which member of the band you’re playing. Sometimes, it can be difficult to keep track of which band member you are but I still appreciated the game’s ambition. This might be the first true enemble Interactive Fiction game that I’ve ever played.
The story is full of goofy, self-referential humor. Imagine if Kevin Smith wrote an IF game and you might have some idea of this game’s skewed perspective. It’s a fun game, though, full of odd dialogue and strange scenes. Some of the puzzles do have weird, out-there solutions but fortunately, the game comes with a HINT section that will help you out. The best thing to do with a game like this is to just type whatever pops into your head and see what happens. The joy here is from the journey and seeing just how weird things can get!