TTHAL has a noble, unusual goal for a Cave Jam setting: awaken a stone troll and bring him back to life! This is where the "love" comes in. There's not a lot of talking, though. However, there is lots of fourth-wall humor, including a memo that keeps flying away when you examine it. Finding it several times helps you progress through the story. There's also a key you have to lose and find again, as well as baby birds you have to kill, but not really.
It's all a bit of a trip to me. The main thing to remember going through the game is that if something disappears, it's probably in a location where nothing has happened yet. Bonus points are dispensed oddly, for finding walls that aren't described and some guess-the-verb that makes moderate sense in retrospect, once you realize what the author was going for.
Still, this game broke me pretty quickly. I had trouble following the story, simple though it was, and there seemed to be a moral message (you become king of the ravens for a bit but worry you are evil). And i learned to expect that even taking an item in front of you is fraught with silly risks. Indeed, just being able to take something and have it, or me, stay as-is was a great surprise.
Later versions seem to have curbed some excesses, such as the deep mine that used to be 1000 levels (you jumped from 20 to 30, then 100 to 200, but still, it's nice they cut it down). This one needs a walkthrough to appreciate the jolly graphics. It seems very good-hearted. But some of the jumps are a bridge too far for me without more in-depth explanation.
So, okay, I went to Garry Francis's walkthrough up at CASA/Solutionarchive.com pretty quickly for this one. Which is sad. The graphics are cheery and colorful. But it hits the "you have amnesia and are not sure what you're doing" a bit too heavily--and unintentionally, in the case of some verb-guessing.
Being stuck in the cave isn't so bad. This part is decently well-contained, though why and how the combination to a safe is scattered in parts about the area is a mystery. The puzzles are sensible. You find a key in the safe. You get out and climb a tree and even hunt for food! (This part is random and frustrating and chases people off. The next puzzles seem like arbitrary guesswork, unless i am missing something.)
You then find some treasure, except ... except ...
Well, the ending had me shaking my head a bit, too. I felt heckled. Not that that's a bad thing, and not that it was particularly abusive, but the shift from "what's going on here, anyway?" felt as helter-skelter as the game itself.
Given the chaos that transpired even with a walkthrough, I recommend you have one close by if you take the plunge with this game. There's a certain eagerness to it, to give you some standard adventure-game locations with weird twists, along with some puzzles that should feel good to solve. But they bounce from perhaps too obvious to "whoah, that was weird" too quickly.
However, if you're one of those people who can get into playing every game in a comp once you start, take solace in this game having enough heart that any frustration endured because of these puzzles is not lasting. That's how Adventuron rolls.
"Astronauturon" feels like the sort of word a native thinker couldn't figure out, or that we might dismiss as too odd. But it works, a portmanteau of astronaut and Adventuron, presumably. It's far less plain than "A Mission in Time." Though the execution itself isn't especially snazzy, for better or worse: you're in a dark forest with a lot of rooms, but it's not really overwhelming. You're an astronaut coming back down to Earth, which humanity fled when it was irratiated, but after a hundred years, it's relatively safe again.
Well, except for that bear chasing you around the map. I didn't get caught by it, but some red text indicated it was nearby, as I took photos of artifacts with my camera. Then I went back to the ship and uploaded them, which presented the main game puzzle: there's a time capsule hidden outside the initial rooms you can view, and since your inventory capacity is two (three, if you drop the camera,) and there are six items on the photograph which you now recognize, you need to decide what is most practical.
This part is not very taxing, but recovering the time capsule is effective, and of course, when you win, you see what's in it. The ending is a bit cute, maybe too cute for the general mood, but it wrapped things up nicely.
Astronauturon is not a crushing experience, nor an unfriendly one, and the mapping goes quickly. But it feels like there could've been more puzzles with the items you find in the house, and the camera mechanic could have been used more. I feel like I may have missed something during my quick playthrough. I quickly went from being worried the map would be too tangled to wishing there was a bit more to do. But it works, and the black and white graphics are a neat touch that help emphasize the red text without overdoing it.
Here's an old one: A troll sleeps in front of his cave. There's treasure inside. The troll won't give up said treasure unless you're clever.
The twist? He's not hostile in the least. You need to do him a small favor. The title may spoil it. His cave isn't very big, but it's lovingly laid out, with a treasure room and clothing room and even a book.
The main puzzle, how to wake up the troll and make friends, is not hard and may partially be spoiled by the title. But no matter. It's an economical game, and the puzzle, indeed, makes emotional sense. You simply help the troll sleep better. He's remarkably generous, but perhaps he had enough treasure, anyway.
I can see why a game like this placed in the bottom half of the Adventuron CaveJam, because it's not terribly complex, and there's not a lot of tension, but with the delightfully blocky just-so graphics and surprisingly charming goal, I had myself a good time. The competition would've been less without it, and if Adventuron keeps giving people the ability to produce games like that, I'm glad to have more of them to play.