The Cave of Montauk seemed simple the first time, and indeed, the solution is not hard, but I wound up coming back for the graphics a lot. As part of the Adventuron Cave Jam it's about finding treasure in a cave, guarded by a troll. Getting in is not too bad--you have to figure how to get an apple from some high-up trees, and once inside, you need a light source. These puzzles string together well.
Inside there's some guesswork as to which item a statue wants, but since CoM is not a huge game, a bit of trial and error is more than okay. In fact it shows off some more nice graphics for the side rooms that ultimately don't matter.
CoM is a very safe game, and if it is not terribly ambitious, it's aesthetically pleasing and welcoming, which I think was the thrust of the Adventuron Cave Jam. Though there's no risk getting lost, I still do wish there was a bit more and that the author tackles a bigger project in the future.
Mushroom Hunt is a very well-done game for the Adventuron Cave Jam. It's might be the least cave-y entry, with the cave being tough to find and not even necessary to, well, make a good version of mushroom stew. You see, Granny has entrusted you with looking for mushrooms, and there's even a book on which are poisonous and which aren't. It's a bit surreal, as I don't know many blue or red mushrooms, and you wind up picking a polkadot mushroom, but it's rather a relief you don't need any detailed taxonomy, here.
The presentation is very attractive, with colorful ASCII art for the room graphics, and the game's nicely set out in a square (with the cave off to the side)--Granny's house is in the center, and you walk around and examine the scenery. Unlike most Adventuron games, critical stuff isn't highlighted, because mushroom hunts are meant to be a search. It's not a standard adventure, and there's a nice sense of surprise when something does turn up.
As Brian Rushton mentioned in his review, I too found a bottleneck with one item that opens up a whole bunch of other areas. I had a feeling there was an unusual lot of scenery I could cut away, and this proved right--my first story ended in just picking three mushrooms and making a soup that left Granny and me sick all night. So there's some "you need to look at A so that B reveals C." But it makes sense--it's a relatively commonplace item, but it's hinted at, and it's something you as a kid might be intimidated to have to handle. Once I got through it, though, it opened up a lot. Having that mystery fit in well with the game story, where you had a grandmother you maybe didn't know well.
There are ten total mushrooms out there, and five are safe. (That's a 1/12 chance of winning by accident if you found all the mushrooms.) The game offers no hints of if you have put the right mushroom in the pot, leading to some anxiety even if you're pretty sure you read the book carefully. I sort of wish I'd saved before giving the mushrooms so I could see if there was a particularly horrible end for the maximum toxicity (the author assures you you won't die) but I was surprised how well the ending worked when I just stopped by having gotten three mushrooms, not caring if they were poisoned, just wanting to see the end. It certainly captured some of my fear and excitement of seeing mushrooms in the forest and knowing my own great-grandmother knew which ones to pick, but I had no clue.
The attractive graphics are hardly the only nice bit about Mushroom Hunt. The descriptions make it interesting to sort out what you need to look for, but it's not so confusing you throw your hands up at looking around. And while it is, to some degree, "just keep examining until you get to the end of the road," it's a well-chosen subject, well-executed, and I'm not surprised it had broad appeal.
Escape the Cave of Magic is a fairly straightforward and fun game written for the Adventuron Cave Jam. The title is a misnomer, as not only do you escape the cave but the planet it's on. You've just found the crystals that will provide energy for your spaceship to leave, and now you just have to get back. This is not so easy. My nitpicking self wondered why didn't these barriers stop me from getting to the cave, where I wound up in the bottom.
But nevertheless, I enjoyed slugging past a troll and a dark knight, finding that certain treasure was worthwhile and other stuff wasn't. There were some fights with the parser (ROW BOAT versus ROW) and odd error messages, and for another critical item, I used the wrong verb, (Spoiler - click to show)CLIMB TREES instead of (Spoiler - click to show)X TREES. But the game is simple enough you don't have to sweat that too often, and the variety in graphics gives it a nice Sierra-like retro feel.
Looking back, there were definite inconsistencies and holes in the storyline (an early instadeath is clued, but something should have been mentioned in the introduction,) and the parser was finicky. But it's a fun jaunt through a bunch of landscapes, and there's a neat non-mapping solution to a maze, which has a nonreciprocal direction, but fortunately it's only 8 rooms.
This game felt middle of the pack more than top 3 and I suspect the neat graphics and relatively easy puzzles (once you bounce off the parser, it's clear what to do) swung in its favor. I'm being a bit harsh here, especially since it seems English is not the author's first language (which accounts for some wonky phrasing,) but nonetheless, if you want something quick to play, there's some fun interaction with NPCs neutral, opposed and friendly.
Having enjoyed the bottom half of the 2019 Adventuron Treasure Jam, I had high hopes for the top half. And I quickly saw why A Troll's Revenge belonged there. It's in the same vein as Wongalot's Dungeon Detective series: the world of everyday mythical beings trying to clean up the mess made by adventurers after gold and experience points. I enjoyed them and hoped for more. Of course there's always a worry that this humor is overdone or too meta or whatever. But when it works, it works, and in A Troll's Revenge, it does. The revenge itself is pretty PG-13. The puzzles are clever. I felt sympathy for the trolls--for all their being, well, bigger than humans, they're the little guys when it comes to wins and losses, aren't they?
It's the humans that strike first, though. Your older brother, who is bigger but not as smart as you, was suckered by an apple that put himself to sleep. When you wake him up (this is a fun introductory puzzle in itself, suggesting you get some righteous revenge for various sibling fights) you remember how dad said, never take gifts from strangers. But now's not the time to point fingers! If you don't get the gold your brother guarded back, there'll be a very, very mad wizard, and not the "create small three-headed beasts for the fun of it" kind.
There's some tutorial work here telling you to look and search everywhere, which isn't too taxing, because there aren't many locations. You must visit the apple tree that put your brother to sleep, and what you use an apple for is kind of ingenious. Well, to me. There's no violence perpetrated on the other adventurers, save for the one who gets greedy and walks into a trap that knocks him out for a bit. Mo' knockouts, mo' recovered treasure. The innkeeper, despite being human, turns a deliberate blind eye to your acts, remarking the adventurers were kind of obnoxious anyway.
But then there's a problem once you have all the treasure! You can't carry it all at once from the inn, and if you take too long, the adventurers will be on your tail. Just being able to schlep stuff back home would be too tedious, and then there's the worry about puzzles for puzzling's sake, but the final puzzle hit the spot for me.
There's a lot of "hooray for the underdog" stuff here, from the trolls the adventurers robbed to you against your older brother. It nicely subverts the whole "TROLLS HAVE LOW INTELLIGENCE AND HIGH STRENGTH" line your average RPG helpfully offers when you are going to create a party. And the adventurers, maybe, learn a lesson. If they want to. The revenge isn't especially cruel. And, oh yeah, the graphics are pretty good too.
This game has no reviews yet, and while it's done well with average stars, I'd like to do what I can to encourage people to play it. Maybe Adventuron got overlooked when it was starting out, but the more I see, the clearer it is that it was just what some people were waiting for, to write that neat small game people could enjoy down the line. I did, four years later.