Reviews by jakomo
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View this member's reviews by tag: 2021 Text Adventure Literacy Jam ectocomp2020 punyjam1
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The least ambitious game I've encountered so far in PunyJam (the competition for Inform games using the slimmed-down PunyInform library)... but also the funniest. Closet of Mystery tickled my funnybone successfully at least twice. Which is good going for a game I completed in 16 turns (scoring a perfect 0 out 0 in the process). Play it.
You're a genie in a bottle, but thankfully nobody needs to "rub you the right way". You have the power to SWAP any object in the game world with any other (providing it has similar properties). A door is locked? SWAP it with a different, open door you've seen somewhere else and just walk through. A really clever mechanic used in multiple crafty and surprising ways. Three new custom verbs, a karma system, puzzles with multiple solutions, and multiple endings, NPCs you can converse with, all crammed into a mere seven rooms. The game is an entry in "PunyJam", a competition for games using the alternate, cut-down Inform library suitable for 8-bit computers. I honestly didn't notice anything missing from the regular Inform libraries while playing, so that's a big success for both the library and the game's shrewd use of it.
Like another PunyJam entry Arthur's Day Out, Pub Adventure is very bare-bones. Lots of nouns that are described but cannot be interacted with and the occasional guess-the-verb difficulty. Nothing game-blocking though, and the story, about the ghost of a pub that wants you to make its favourite cocktail, has a good sense of its own absurdity while rarely becoming frustrating.
An intriguing demo that ends just as it's getting started. The player-character is a fascinating enigma: you "crackle into existence" in a pub closet, covered in bandages: NPCs are familiar with you, as if you've worked with them before, but who you are and what you do are only partially revealed. In contrast to the player-character's mysterious supernatural nature, puzzles are mundane: fix a leaking pipe, retrieve something stuck in a tree, unlock a gate. Just as you're about to flex your powers, the game ends. Successfully does the job of an intro scene: I want to see more!
A puzzle-filled pirate-themed adventure: the local publican's daughter has been kidnapped by nasty pirates. To rescue her, you'll need to uncover the mystery of their stolen treasure. Lots of intricate details implemented here: chatty NPCs who respond to lots of conversation topics, a pirate ship that requires nautical directions to navigate, a very cool imprisonment-and-escape sequence. Everything exudes an appropriate 1700s-era flavour. Puzzles aren't easy: I couldn't get past the crate puzzle in the warehouse, which sadly brought an abrupt end to the fun.
The titular Arthur is none other than Arthur Dent, complete with gown and analgesic pills, in what seems to be a pastiche of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Does a good job of emulating the light, breezy writing style of the Adams/Meretzky game, despite the implementation being very bare-bones. I struggled to solve many of the puzzles presented here, as there too few clues to help you. I gave up at 90/200 points, stymied by an impossible light source puzzle, an impassable doctor's office door, and an uncrackable safe.
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