Reviews by jakomo

2022 Text Adventure Literacy Jam

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1-5 of 5

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 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

2 of 2 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).

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