I've been considering doing metaroom reviews for a while now, but held off on it for some reason (I don't think my initial review of the Lost Cave managed to hit all the points I wanted to make - it was never published). However, this blog shall be a decent testing ground for this potential new series.
My first published review will be of one of the few third-party metarooms one has to pay for - Ostrova, by Chaos Development. So let's get down to business.
From this picture, you can already see one of my gripes about the area: it's quite barren initially, and since the entire metaroom is mostly Air + Indoor Corridor, there's not much you can do to customize it outside of stuff like the Gaius plants (which won't benefit most creatures anyway).
|That "wall" to the left can actually be walked through. Oversight, much?|
This pond has nothing in it initially besides a rather large egg, but that's easily fixed. The egg is part of a puzzle, in case you're wondering - yet another one of Ostrova's strong points.
As I mentioned earlier, Ostrova is really barren initially. The developers, however, decided that more lifeforms could be added to the room via these tubes. This tube creates 3 caterpillars that will (or rather, could - I've never seen them complete their lifecycle) become butterflies. Unfortunately, there's only three of these tubes, and they really don't do much to add to the room.
This is what the pond looks like when both of the tubes above it have been activated - you've got fish, bugs, and a plant. The rightmost tube needs to be activated multiple times before the sponge can take root - and even once it gets planted it rarely lasts long.
There's another problem with this room, and that is a lot of its coding isn't original. Everything in this picture is based on a C3 critter (the fish are based on clownfish, the bugs are based on aquamites, and the sponge...is based on a sponge), and besides having different images they're completely identical to their official counterparts, right down to the sponge spores and bugs not being edible and everything requiring salt water to live in (although this pond is salt water, so that latter point isn't much of an issue).
Also, I forgot to mention that the DS version gets a mini empathic vendor injected into it at the start. Another testament to how little this room has in the way of food items.
While this little issue can be forgiven given how long Ostrova's been around, there's no CA emitters to be found in here, and the levels are not linked. This means that creatures in Ostrova won't use the elevators intentionally and will often find themselves huddled in the corners. Some of the agents do emit CA - albeit the wrong ones (the snowballs from the launchers emit starch smell for some reason).
In short: Ostrova is a decent - but not great - metaroom. It has a good layout, some original concepts, and is mostly instinct friendly. Creatures can survive and thrive in here, but they'll need support from the hand in order to do so. However, it's bogged down by only decent to mediocre graphics, lack of CA, and lack of overall originality in coding. Some things about the room and its corresponding breed just look like laziness and/or a desire to just get the thing done.
Final Score: 5/10
One final note: Like I stated earlier, Ostrova isn't free. You have to buy it from Chaos Development's current website. It's not cheap, either - it costs $12.50 in U.S. money. For comparison, you can buy Creatures Exodus from GOG.com for less than half of that. As you can probably guess from the score I gave it, I don't think it's worth that much - if it's worth anything at all. I really think Chaos Development really needs to look at the current state of the CC, since that price tag suggests they aren't aware that we're still around.
And so concludes my first metaroom review. I'd like feedback on how well I did - do you guys think it's fair, or do you disagree?