|Although marketed as a children's game, ISOTMAT drew acclaim from
players of all ages for its original concept and imaginative game world. The game
begins on a mysterious planet, Porquatz, with the androgynous player, Terry Bailey,
exploring his/her subterranean home city by elevator. Terry's mysterious uncle,
Smoke Bailey, has recently arrived in a strange craft known as the B-Liner, a hybridized all-terrain vehicle and hot-air balloon. Finding Smoke napping in his room, and waking
him from his reverie with repeated shouts, Terry is tasked by Smoke to embark in the
B-Liner on a quest for a lost artifact known only as "The Most Amazing Thing".
Navigating the world outside the city, known as the Mire, is a considerable challenge.
Driving the B-Liner over the tar-like surface is easy, but consumes precious fuel.
To conserve fuel, the B-Liner can float above the Mire in unpowered flight, but this
requires the player to carefully trim the B-Liner's altitude to take advantage of
different wind currents prevailing at different altitudes. To investigate notable
objects in the Mire, the player can perform EVA using a personal jetpack. Encounters
range from the benign Popberry trees, which provide fuel for the B-Liner, to the
deadly Mire crabs, to the quizzical merchant aliens who provide Terry with vital clues
and supplies for the quest. To trade with these aliens, the player must create Musix,
a simple line-drawing translated by the game into an atonal melody, which is then
evaluated by the aliens according to their inscrutable aesthetics. Due to their
intrinsic shyness — and the limited graphical technology available to the game's
designers — the aliens communicate with the player entirely in a form of semaphore
code, utilizing the only visible part of their anatomy: twin antennae, protruding
coyly over the edge of the aliens' "desks". There is no linear path that you must
follow, making this game a new experience every time you play the game, as each new
game creates a random new world to explore.