TMC Reviews: 4 Dimensions

(Review Date: January 8, 2009)

TMC Reviewer: Joanna

Running on a modified Circlemud base, 4 Dimensions is a time travel mud that has many interesting features. 7 classes, 8 races and 4 time periods to travel between are just a few examples. Set in the future with a fourth dimension that allows time travel, this game is highly inventive and a very interesting take on what the future may bring. A player can travel back in time to the Prehistoric Era, Medieval Era, Old West or the Future. Each of the Eras has its own zones, which are crafted especially for this game. With the creative concept of time travel, the game begins with a MUD school that specializes in helping a player become accustomed to the different eras, such as how to greet NPCs in each era, as many of the mobs will interact with players, but only if the player greets them in a fashion appropriate for the time period.

A new player will find him or herself in a lush game filled with a variety of quests that encourage the use of the player's wit and intelligence. One particularly crafty addition to this MUD is the use of the senses - smell and listen - to develop more immersion in the quests. Some quests can be found, solved or helped by using the senses in addition to looking about. While a player is new, there is a newbie channel on which helpers are able to assist with questions as well as a hint channel that provides hints to newbies automatically. Both can be turned off if the player so desires.

In the early levels, it is fairly easy to distinguish which time period a player is in. However, outside of the newbie areas and in the "meat" of the MUD, there are time traps that transfer the unsuspecting player into a different time period - the "black holes" that the background story of the MUD uses to explain how the fourth dimension came into being. This addition not only involves the background story and assists in the explanation of the theme of the MUD, but also adds an element of surprise and decreases any repetitiveness that might encompass a player who is easily bored of one topic. Perhaps an ideal player for this game is one with a limited attention span that is easily engrossed with the variety. It is entirely possible for such a player to spend long periods of time on the game because there seems to be endless new discoveries.

The quests that are available for players include puzzles, interaction with mobs and finding hidden objects. The builders of 4 Dimensions must be very creative, as hardly any of the quests are particularly easy. It is also possible that the builders enjoy watching player frustration, as some of the puzzles are hard, but with time and concentration, it is possible to solve even the hard puzzles. The mob interaction is very inspiring in this MUD. Most NPCs are able to communicate with players, but it is the player's responsibility to communicate in return and to decode the phrase or word that will bring the NPC into further interaction. While this can be frustrating at times, it is also keeps a player's interest piqued. The hidden object puzzles are also easy and hard. Most hidden object puzzles require a player to read the room descriptions carefully and use the above, behind and over descriptors to find their quarry. The only caution on quests with hidden objects or mobile interaction is that at times the refresh rate does not necessarily match the need, and the scripts for the NPCs are strict with the interaction from the player, such as when the player gives an object to the NPC. When in trouble, simply restart the quest and do it right the second time around.

Equipment and items in 4 Dimensions are very interesting, as there are plenty available for each time period that are distinct for that time period. However, a player can still take their futuristic equipment back to the pre-historic age and kill all the pre-historic population. Each period appears to have a wide range of equipment. In addition to the typical basics of a MUD, 4 Dimensions also includes role-playing - in order to RP, a player must have an in-character background submitted and receives an RP flag visible on the WHO list. There have also been global role-playing events, which help to add another range of interest into this game.

While this free-to-play MUD has an extensive list of features and interesting details, it still at this time does not have a huge player base. There are typically players on at a variety of times during the day and night, but not the huge WHO lists that players see on some games. Nonetheless, this game is definitely worthy of such a following. 4 Dimensions has aspects of hack-n-slash as well as role-playing, which are well developed and offer a well-rounded game to players.

Traveling through time to four different eras is a creative theme that is explained and enhanced by time traps that send players from one era to another. Quests and NPC interaction are huge bonuses in this game that help develop it into a real winner. 4 Dimensions offers role-playing and leveling opportunities to all MUD fans, even those of short attention spans.