Ratings and Reviews by jakomo

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View this member's reviews by tag: 2021 Text Adventure Literacy Jam 2022 Text Adventure Literacy Jam ectocomp2020 ectocomp2021 parsercomp2021 punyjam1 springthing2022
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Dessert Island Adventure, by Nils Fagerburg

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Tough-as-nails spell-casting adventure , May 27, 2022

A simple Enchanter-like magic casting adventure on an empty desert island (or dessert island, as this is a place of gingerbread cottages, cream lakes and battenburg mountains). Uses a custom parser system that works well, and presents a nice map on the right on the screen (that fills as you explore) with rich text on the left. Provides a little world-building through letters and newspaper articles scattered around. If you're not Dutch/Flemish you'll need to look up what a "smoutebol" is. A lot of fun, unfortunately it lacks any online hints, and it's pretty damn hard to boot so I didn't get very far by myself (7/16 points). On the itch.io page you can find "Slacker Sam's guide to an easy B" - but it still only gets you up to 9/16 points.

CC's Road to Stardom, by OK Feather

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Check out my soundcloud, May 25, 2022

I loved this. Like a Saturday morning kid's cartoon scored to the sound of lo-fi space-pop, CC's Road to Stardom is adorable, delightful, silly and disposable. Wander around a little spaceship vibing with your quirky buddies (including a youtuber pigeon), playing through little logic puzzles and word games. Nothing too taxing, just enough to keep you buzzing off the game's brilliant style and mood. Fab comic-book style pixel art graphics and a superb musical score accompany the fun: even a full song with vocals. It's part of "Cosmoose", a multi-media multi-format Gorillaz-like pop music project fronted by cartoon characters (I'm listening to Cosmoose's album Into the Cosmooverse as I write this, in fact - it rules!). CC's Road to Stardom is the 21st century answer to Tass Times in Tonetown.

The Lonely Troll, by Amanda Walker
Small but dense fairytale adventure with great writing and fun NPCs, May 25, 2022

Absolutely nails the objective of the Text Adventure Literacy Jam: to make an enjoyable easy game for text adventure first-timers. This would be the Day One exercise in Text Adventures 101 if such a thing existed. You're a troll in a world of fairy-tale mythological creatures, trying to raise a dragon (literally) by the book. The set-up could have been cloying and twee, but the author has lots of sly fun inverting expectations: the cyclops is friendly, the fairy is angry, the unicorn is unruly. The ASCII art images are pleasant (the troll's house looks like cross-stitched embroidery). It's a kids game at heart but still requires some thought and lateral thinking to get through, even for adults. Everything just works!

Carpathian Vampire, by Garry Francis
Solid classical vampire adventure, no surprises, no interviews, May 25, 2022

Straightforward vampire-hunting adventure: doesn't intend to surprise or subvert the traditional gothic horror formula, beyond some nods to the term "strigoi" and an attempt to ground it in traditional Romanian mythology. It's thoroughly implemented and the puzzles are well-designed. The only baffling choice is the arbitrary inventory limit, requiring lots of dropping and picking up stuff which gets annoying real fast. It could also have done with implementing "hand" and "finger" as nouns. It's an enhanced translation of an older Spanish game and it uses the PunyInform library, so some of its limitations are understandable. Worth a play.

Barry Basic and the Speed Daemon, by Dee Cooke

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Enjoyable and worthwhile tutorial game, slightly rough around the edges, May 23, 2022

Winner of the 2022 Text Adventure Literacy Jam, and it's easy to see why. Solid implementation, generally intuitive puzzles on a nice difficulty curve, a charming NPC (the fairy), and a surprisingly elaborate story about three gamedevs going inside their game. I preferred Barry Basic's previous adventure (Barry Basic and the Quick Escape) as unlike that one, Speed Daemon is extremely linear: solve a room's puzzle and the exit to the next room will open, repeat ad nauseum. A large chunk of screen estate is given to a map which is frankly unnecessary given the lack of free movement, I would have liked some contextual pictures in addition to the character portrait: especially as some of the descriptions were hard to visualize (the (Spoiler - click to show)tunnel/vent/bulb puzzle in particular). As a tutorial game it works great, lots of help available from NPCs and the in-built hint system (integrated into the story). Overall, it's a good time despite these annoyances, and despite a few bugs ((Spoiler - click to show)I broke the slider puzzle: somehow ended up with the same word on two rows).

Portal, by Rob Swigart, Brad Fregger
jakomo's Rating:

Wry, by Olaf Nowacki

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Inn-sewer-ants-polly-sea, April 11, 2022
by jakomo
Related reviews: springthing2022

Classic farce: a series of escalating mishaps caused by the protagonist, a dodgy insurance salesman (is there any other kind?), trying to fix his previous mishaps at the home of his prospective client, a a famous young baroness. Reminiscent of a Blake Edwards/Peter Sellers comedy, the game has a well-drawn player-character, fabulous environmental descriptions, and an excellent sense of comic timing. It's a shame I didn't get to see half of it, as annoyingly I was never able to progress beyond the (Spoiler - click to show)burning curtains. There are no in-built hints, nor any external ones. I look forward to revisiting when a walkthrough becomes available.

The Box, by Paul Michael Winters

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
You solved the box, we came. Now you must come with us, taste our pleasures., April 11, 2022
by jakomo
Related reviews: springthing2022

From the author of The Long Nap, written in Dialog, and The Lookout, written in Inform 7, comes The Box, written in Kreate. Mr. Polylingual! It's a demo game for the new language and does a good job at showing off that it has all the fundamentals for a solid parser and world model in place. There's nothing particularly taxing here: no conversations (the only NPC is a mouse), no ropes, no noun disambiguations, no complex sentences required. There is some burning, though it's only used once. It's a very straightforward, short escape-the-room game with entertaining puzzles and a tidy (but sluggish) web-GUI: click on a hyperlinked noun to "examine" it, which brings up some clickable relevant actions you can do with it, or just type at the prompt at usual. if you liked Fireproof Games' The Room, you'll certainly enjoy this.

Two minor bugs:
(Spoiler - click to show)
Sitting on top of it is an intricately carved wooden box. On the stone pedestal is a wooden box.
You set the panel on the window sill. It covers the window almost entirely, blocking out most of the moonlight. The panel is already on the sill.

Roger's Day Off, by Sia See and Jkj Yuio

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Jolly Roger, April 10, 2022
by jakomo
Related reviews: springthing2022

A time-travel romp through multiple eras, modelled on Magnetic Scrolls games. And, like those games, the puzzles suffer from a degree of broken logic and inconsistency. It does have a useful hint system: be aware you can type "help" multiple times for more detailed hints. The (overly busy) UI presents a a multiple-choice interface, but also a text prompt, as well also clickable in-line hyperlinks and (overly big) images. Often, the command you need is not presented as a choice, so you will need to type at the text prompt at times. Story-wise, this is some wacky, absurd stuff, but well aware of it's own utter ridiculousness, and pretty fun as a result. There are more exclamation marks in this game than in every other Spring Thing entry put together! Contains plenty of hot chicks promising to "reward" the PC, like a porn game, but without any follow-through so it ends up closer to a very tame Leisure Suit Larry. A sequel is teased at the end: I think I'm on board.

The Bones of Rosalinda, by Agnieszka Trzaska

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
To thrive in life you need three bones: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone, April 8, 2022
by jakomo
Related reviews: springthing2022

This Pratchett-esque comic fantasy adventure has a narrative that I found kinda bland: it doesn't challenge or provoke in any way. The same could be said about the author's previous excellent 4x4 Galaxy and 4x4 Archipelagos, but those games being mechanics-driven RPGs meant the writing was far less important. This is a traditional text adventure, so the emphasises story and puzzles. I found myself skim-reading a lot of the long text-dump sequences to get to the game parts, which is where the cool stuff lies. Attach and detach your body parts (which then become playable characters), swap between them at will, use them as inventory items, there is a hell of a lot going on, but it successfully avoids overwhelming the player. There was only one puzzle (the candle holder) that could have done with a bit more in-game prompting (though external hints are supplied). UI feels a bit clumsy but the game is constrained enough that it doesn't become annoying.

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