Confession time, I’ve used ADRIFT for years but have never played any of the game produced by the creator himself, Campbell Wild. So, I picked The Haunted House from 1999 created with ADRIFT 3.8 as a start. Obviously from 1999 I was not expecting modern IF.
The intro sets the scene of a dare to visit a haunted house in search of a chest of gold. So it is a treasure hunt which is good, I like treasure hunts. The first thing I notice is that after I complete a few activities my score is going up. I know not everyone likes a scoring system but me, I like scoring points. And 1000 to go at as well.
The location descriptions are classic style so are very brief as in this example - “You are standing in the reception area of the house. To your west is the kitchen. The main hall is to your north. To the east, is the conservatory. The front door leads outside. High above your head is a fantastic chandelier.”
The only thing you can examine in the above example is the chandelier. Even the front door does not exist. Well, at least I know that the only thing of interest is the chandelier. But, as this is suppose to be a haunted house sparse location descriptions like this do nothing for the atmosphere of the place.
I do not remember running into any GTV particularly and looking back at the walkthru I created most the commands look fairly logical. Apart from magnetising an object, I got stuck on that one.
Game logic is the biggest issue I have with this game. A lot of the things you have to do, do not make any sense. Some of the puzzles are very random in nature and not very well clued, if at all. At one stage you find a candle holder and you start off the game carrying a candle so….. No, you can’t put the candle in the holder. The actually place to put the holder is simple enough but has little reason to be done.
If you like modern IF then this will not be the game for you as you will want it to go back to the 1980’s. If, like me, you adore old school adventure games (with all their old school faults) then you could do no worse than give this game a try.
Apparently it is based on an old game called Dope Wars in which you deal in drugs on the streets of New York. I'm not sure how faithful this ADRIFT rewrite is as I've never play the original. So about this game, well you can basically buy or sell one of six drugs trying to pay off a debt. The commands are buy, sell, take loan, pay back loan, next day, deposit and withdraw and that is it. The game includes a readme file which I like and various WAV files. I have played this type of game years ago but I'm not sure ADRIFT is the right platform for it. I played it a few times and not much seems to happen other than buying and selling at the right price. For its age it is harmless enough but not a game I will play again.
This game needs a lot more work before it can be considered finished.
This is a small, fun little game. No complexity to it and as reported in other reviews, no real depth to either the implementation or scenery. But, a joy to play and a nice little diversion.
I was looking for a game to play/review when I came across a competition I didn't remember and have never played any of the games from - The Challenge Comp in 2011. After tracking down the rules it become clear that a game was to be written in the Adrift Version 4.0 unregistered version or at least to its restrictions.
This game attracted my interest as I found the documentation and comments about it, well, off-putting.
Reading the preamble to the game I got the immediate impression the game was going to consist of random silliness. As I've said, something about the tone almost put me off playing the game with the talk of being "openly sarcastic" and a parody. But I agree that the Challenge Comp did seem to have very arbitrary rules. So, maybe an arbitrary game was the answer? Although thinking about it maybe I should write an arbitrary review? Hmmm.
So what did I find? Sparse location descriptions (in some cases none existent). Warnings of instant death that did not kill then a warning that actually did. An object I could take but was then still mentioned in the location description (could have been a bug but I didn't think so). Ability to score more than the maximum score. Little exploration needed and very little implemented. So, either it was badly written IF or a parody of badly written IF.
I played through a few times, finding the winning solution on my first go through (probably just luck). I was interested enough to play a few more times. But I think the thing I didn't like about the game was that everything about Whitterscap's Key seemed to draw my attention to the constraints it was created under. A fault of the game? or the fault of the rules under which it was written?
So, I've decided - I don't think I like this game but think the competition was alright. No, I've changed my mind (arbitrarily) I like this game but not the competition.
This game fits the rules of the original competition and I think it achieves what it set out to do. It has a humour and style which I liked and I ended the game thinking "That was okay I guess."
My recommendation? Give it a try.
Somehow I missed this game when it was released and only came across it when I spotted a reference to it on the forum. So I thought I would give it a try.
So what did I think? Well, the game is very linear in nature and is one of those story driven games rather than a puzzlefest. It does contain a few puzzles to be solved and most of these are very straightforward. The majority of the locations you find yourself in are really just fillers or used for background story. You can explore all the rooms and objects in them, everything I tried seemed to have been implemented. The plot carries you forward.
As with most revgiblet games I liked the writing and consider it set the tone well for the story. I'll not say anything about the actual story, I'll let you discover that for yourselves.
I liked the story and enjoyed the writing, it was just a little too linear for me. I was left wanting more but liked the game.
It is well worth a play and we really need to see more of Mr Webb's work.
I have not played anything by this author before and was intrigued by the title, so thought I’d give it a try. The game is set in a house which is usually a bad start but at least it didn’t start in the bedroom.
This is not a long game and to be honest there is not a lot to it. I have to admit I like the humour in the game, for example -
Boy, are you honest. You haven't kept anything.
Also a lot of variable text has been used for the objects and some of the locations. Nice touch.
For some reason you can ask the game about capital cities. Try asking “What is the capital” of a country. No idea why.
After exploring the house you need to then fire up the old Xbox and TV to play Rock Band. Playing the game just consists of pressing coloured buttons when requested, 10 times. I had hoped for more and up to this point I was enjoying playing.
At this point you need to save the world from Gigantor. This involves a timed puzzle revolving around turning off the tv.
I played through once and was interested enough to have a play again. Nice little diversion.
This is the second of Campbell Wild's games I've played, the first being The Haunted House.
My general impression is that Cave of Wonders is an improvement and a much better game. Once again it is still in the classic style of briefer location descriptions and simpler game play. But, unlike Haunted House more of the scenery items can be examined. It is basically a treasure hunt with most of the objects that are needed scattered around or fairly easy to find.
The characters you come across during the game are little more than scenery with limited conversation and only one purpose.
I didn't run into any real GTV during play. The only real problem I have is with the plot and some of the solutions to the puzzles. (Spoiler - click to show)For example, to get into the graveyard you need to be wearing a flower. Why is never explained, or at least not to me. On the other hand to get into a garden you have to crash through the wall with a vehicle. Now that puzzle I liked. So, a bit hit and miss with many of the puzzles poorly clued or not clued at all.
If you like the more traditional adventure game then Cave of Wonders is worth playing. It entertained me for a couple of plays.
I did not get a very good feeling about this game when the ADRIFT download page proclaimed it is an "exploration of a 70 Room Home" and an "introductory adventure". Hmmmm.
Still I'm a seasoned adventurer and not easy to put off. I open the game and I'm presented with game objectives of "collect the gold, silver, and bronze medals and place them in the trophy case." Doesn't say why, whether they are lost or stolen or what happens when I find them. My feelings about this game do not get any better.
So onto the first location which simply says -
"You are standing in front of the entrance to your house."
Oh dear, I think it is going to be one of those games. What does the house look like? smell like? feel like? Have I been here before? Never? Am I happy, sad, afraid? Actually I'm bored, bored with this game already.
Right, onto the second location -
You have stepped beside a picnic table and gas grille. Also here is a shovel. You can move north and west.
x picnic table
Paint is peeling from the picnic table.
There is no gas in the canister."
Well, at least I can examining the items listed in the location description (even though it only contains two!).
A third location -
"There are a multitude of shoes on the floor and coats on their hangers. You search diligently and find nothing."
It is not getting any better. I progress -
You are in the command center of the house. All the heating and cooling is handled here. You are especially fascinated by the automatic sprinkler system. You search the sprinkler system and your fascination quickly evaporates into futility. Nothing ineresting here."
So, every time I return to this location I'm going to be "fascinated by the sprinkler system" am I and search it? If the location has "Nothing ineresting here" [sic] then why is it in the game? At this point I stopped playing. The thought of 70 locations all like this hold absolutely no interest for me at all. The game appears to have no real plot other than locating some objects and putting them in another. The house has no logic in its layout, the locations are poorly implemented and randomly tacked together.
My advice to the author (or any author) is to "read" the "Adventure Creation Tips for Newcomers" on the ADRIFT forum - http://forum.adrift.co/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=5490#p66606.
Now, lets be honest usually everyone's first game is not very good. Like this one. So what should a new author do? Listen to advice on the forum, read the above and play some IF. Then come back with a winner.
I open the game and get the feeling I'm going to like what I find. I'm at the bottom of a well and with the pictures and sound oh it reminds me of Monkey Island.
First location, first bug discovered. GET ALL has not been disabled so it is possible to get things I can't see without changing the image, and then possible to get them again. GET ALL, gets the bone. Then GET BONE gets the bone again. Generally the game has a problem not treating TAKE and GET the same. Still, I've taken the skeletons arm. Great!
But Mike please include proper descriptions of things you are likely to carry as a minimum. The old bone is described as "You see nothing special about the old bone." It is a bone from an old skeleton or a gross bone, at least say that.
x red brick doesn't work, x red stone works.
Lets see how I do in the second location, a Hidden Passage. Spent ages trying to work out what the yellow blob is. GET ALL tells me it is a nugget. Then I can GET NUGGET. Technically it is the same bug I all ready found. But, hey I'm a reviewer. Can't examine the ladder at this location. Hmmm.
I find myself in a backyard next. This is better I can at least examine everything seen and mentioned.
Next I find a kennel although the game calls it a "doghouse". The British normally prefer the term "kennel" so both should be used. Still like the dogs name - Snarl! Brill, I'm carrying a magic bone! I give it to Snarl and yet I'm still carrying it. Oh dear.
Ah, now a door puzzle. If you are carrying the key it is always better to automatically unlock the door if you try to open it. Remember modern IF players are lazy.
In the Living Room, more odd behaviour. I get a book by examining it and not by taking it. "x sofa" doesn't work but "x couch" does. Anyway you probably get the idea by now.
The ideas behind the game are good and it is a fun little game. It just needed a little testing to fix the issues especially the GTV problems. That said I like this game and enjoyed playing it. I look forward to playing other titles from this author.