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(Played on Windows - can run on Mac using Wine somehow)
This rather new game from 2020 is a very good old-school puzzlefest with minimal story and a good parser (Infocom-like, no undo).
Following a heated discussion with your old college professor, you are pushed into his "Time Manipulator" and sent to another time an place. You are told to find some evidence of where and when you are before you return. The first step is to figure out how to operate the Time Manipulator. After that, you can travel to many known more or less historical places.
All the puzzles are fair, though I needed a single hint from the author to complete the game. And I needed one more hint to get the best ending. However, the game has been updated recently, so that the best ending is better hinted. If you type AUTHOR while playing, you will get his contact information. Jim replied very fast in a friendly manner, so you don't need to worry about that there isn't a Walkthrough available in case you get stuck. Many of the puzzles are about handling different mechanisms, though more traditional puzzles are present too. From a logical point of view, you may sometimes wonder, how a clue for one time period is to be found in another time period. But that isn't really the purpose of this game. The purpose is an entertaining puzzlefest. Some might find some of the puzzles too easy but for me, they were just right.
The game has an inventory limit. As in many games with inventory limits, there is a remedy for that problem, though your inventory limit will not be infinite. While playing this is not a problem at all, as you can have your objects in a central place. Only when you reach the end of the game, which objects you bring might be important. However, in the newest version (February 1st 2021), It is pretty well hinted which objects you should bring (or at least how to figure it out). I encourage you to find the best ending (maximum points) as it is more fun than the easier ending.
Jim's style is such, that most location descriptions mention what was once in the location and that most of it is gone when you arrive. Thus, there will only be a few things necessary to examine in each room. Thus you don't need to examine countless of scenery objects. I like this approach. However, you may sometimes need to look behind or under objects too.
NPC's are extremely rare and it could have been fun with a few more NPCs, which could also be a little more active.
Nevertheless, this was an entertaining game I recommend if you like old-school puzzlefests.
(Spectrum version reviewed - legally available from http://www.zenobi.co.uk/ )
Jack Lockerby was one of the most prolific homegrown authors on the ZX Spectrum and c64. Luckily the ZX Spectrum versions have been made available by John Wilson, who owned Zenobi Software and the right to distribute these games.
The Mines of Lithiad is definitely one of the better ones. As it is made with PAW, it is often possible to use 4 words, similar to e.g. PUT BALL IN BOX or GET PEN FROM BASKET. However, whenever two words are sufficient to describe the action, you should stick to two words.
The plot: Cavilan, the last surviving dragon, has chosen you to rescue her egg from the clutches of the Master and his band of Orcs.
Once you are past the introduction location, the game starts out with a large area with mostly empty locations. Though several of these have the same location description, it is not at all a maze, as the map is very logically laid out. I guess the main purpose of this map layout is to make it a bit challenging to solve a specific puzzle within a time limit. Here, I should add, that there are a few real time elements. These real time elements are very rarely a problem, especially as you can save as often as you like quite quickly with a free ZX Spectrum emulator like Fuse. So even if you don't like real time elements in IF, I recommend that you try this one.
And if you dislike inventory limits, you should know, that you can find a solution to that quite early in the game, so that isn't a problem either.
Once you are past the big opening area, the map becomes more standard with lots of fun puzzles, some original as well as a few classic puzzles.
I never had serious guess-the-verb problems but I needed a hint for two puzzles. They weren't unfair, so with more patience, you might be able to solve it without hints.
Very entertaining, certainly one I can recommend.
(.z3 version reviewed - also available on vintage computers)
It has been 31 years since the classic ZX Spectrum game "Retarded Creatures and Caverns" arrived and now John Wilson has finally made a sequel, this time in Inform 6 using the PunyInform library so that it can be published as z-code for modern IF-players as well as the retro-community. There are still only a few PunyInform games out there, and I have only played a few before this. My impression is, that PunyInform maintains the "good parser feel" of Inform without sacrificing something crucial. The only "speciality" seems to be, that you cannot UNDO. However, in this game you are not told what is inside a container when you open it. You must SEARCH it (or LOOK IN it) if you want to know. This was the default behaviour of earlier PunyInform versions but could be changed by the author.
Back to the game:
Once again we follow Algy as he returns to the castle some 30 years later to gain gold and glory. There are several references to the first game but you do not need to have played it to play this. Still, I would recommend that you play the accessible Adventuron version of the previous game first, as it is a good game and it has a decent parser (not all Adventuron games have such a good parser - perhaps Adventuron has been improved significantly over the years). With this sequel, John Wilson has captured the feeling of returning to a place many years after, which adds something to the game.
Return to the Castle (RttC) is a relaxed comedy (fun but not hilarious) with some good puzzles of medium difficulty, which is what I prefer. Everything was well done and I enjoyed RttC very much.
The difficulty level has often a big impact on how much I enjoy a game and therefore also the rating. To me, the difficulty level was just right. Others may find it too easy or too hard. However, a walkthrough is now available so everyone should be able to finish this game. Recommended to all puzzle lovers.
This game can be played independently of the first two games. This is the first PunyInform game by John Wilson that I have played. I have tried other games by John Wilson, but this is clearly the game with the strongest parser. You are never in doubt if the game understands commands like LOOK BEHIND or LOOK UNDER 'object' and the game understands commands like GET ALL FROM BIN (fictive example).
This is the second PunyInform game I play, and as the first one (Tristam Island Demo) I rarely notice that I am playing a game with a library optimized for 8-bit machines. Well, if you go looking for unimplemented verbs you will find them, such as SING, PRAY, BLOW etc. though such verbs can easily be implemented if the author wants to. Fortunately, the game tells you whenever you try to apply a verb not known by the game.
EDIT: The previously mentioned bugs are not present in the newest version.
The game is fairly easy and can be completed without maximum points. Thus I played it twice to get the last points. Recommended.
(browser version - port made with Adventuron)
This is a fun little spoof of The Hobbit with some nice puzzles and humour. Some of the puzzles are "pun-based". However, the "genre" 'homegrown British text adventures from the 80s' is to some extend something you need to learn how to play, just as you need to learn how to play parser games in general. To some extend you need to be more accurate about which verbs you apply in these homegrown games from the 80s. Still, some verbs and phrases became a sort of standard within that "genre". Also, do not expect a lot of feedback if you try an incorrect command. You will never know if a verb is accepted by the game unless you find that it works.
Add to this, that this was the author's first effort (though the browser port I played was first made in 2018), you must expect a few guess-the-verb/phrase issues here and there. However, there is a sort of indirect limited "hint system" in the game, though it is not clear if it is intended to be used or only if you are really stuck. I used it whenever I could, and still, I needed to consult a walkthrough a few times.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed this quite a lot. If you are unfamiliar with British homegrown text adventures from the 80s, I propose that you see it as a learning curve. If you are stuck for a longer time, don't hesitate to consult a walkthrough. You will learn as you go along and you will get the hang of the style and probably solve most puzzles by yourself anyway.
After playing the demo in September, I was very much looking forward to this game. I wasn't disappointed.
The game starts as you have arrived on this apparently(?) deserted island after crashing your plane at sea. Since I don't want to spoil anything, I just want to say that the game can roughly be divided into four parts of different lengths, and that the demo only covers the first part.
The genre of this game is "Mystery". In case the exact genre of the game is important to you, you should know (Spoiler - click to show)that the game is not science fiction nor fantasy but purely realistic.
The game comes with some invisiclues and a post card. I am not sure if the post card is intended to be found inside the game, at least I did not find it, and it wasn't mentioned in the walkthrough available form CASA. So I first read it after completing the game.
I needed help with a single puzzle, and was later annoyed that I did not figure it out myself, so that puzzle was fair enough: (Spoiler - click to show)I did not realize that I would get a different response when trying to search the buckets while on the floor, instead of searching them while on the mezzanine.
However, the solution was NOT in the invisiclues. As a consequence, I read the clues for the wrong question by accident. I think the invisiclues could be improved here: (Spoiler - click to show)In the first room in the white house, there is a door to the north. It is not clear what it leads to, but I expected that there was clues for this door. Since there weren't any clues mentioning this door, I thought the door was actually "Major's office door" and read the clues for that, too late realizing that it had to be another door. I think the solution is to make some clues for the "contraption door" appear before "Major's office door", even if only giving vague hints if you don't want to give clues for it.
In the end, I had to look at the walkthrough on CASA to solve that puzzle.
Another problem was the final puzzle which had a (for me) Guess-the-verb/phrase/disambiguation problem: (Spoiler - click to show)X TRANSMITTER SAYS: "The dial of the transmitter...", which made me think that I should TURN DIAL, which works in other parts of the game. Then I tried X DIAL and was told about the geiger counter, so I left the geiger counter outside the COMMS room to avoid that disambiguation. Back in the COMMS room I once again tried TURN DIAL and got: "You'll have to specify if you want to turn it left or right." Thus I tried TURN DIAL LEFT and TURN DIAL RIGHT but that wasn't understood. I tried the same with "transmitter" and "radio". Looking at the walkthrough I realized that the answer was TURN KNOB RIGHT, i.e. the noun KNOB was required. Looking back at the X TRANSMITTER response, I see that the knob is mentioned. Still, I think the misleading responses to TURN DIAL/RADIO/TRANSMITTER should be avoided. I do acknowledge that many players will figure out the right noun as it is mentioned in the text. Still it would be good to get rid of the misleading response.
Despite my few problems, the parser is good and there were no really hard puzzles, so I think most experienced players will solve it without needing help with the puzzles. Some players prefer very challenging puzzles. Perhaps, they will find this game too easy. I can only say that I enjoyed the game a lot and recommend it very much.
Review of Demo:(Spoiler - click to show)
I just completed this free demo. I am not sure, but I think I used about 1.5 hours to complete it without hints(*). The full game should be 2-3 times bigger (I scored 34 out of 100 points). I am very much looking forward to the full game, which should arrive on the 20th of November. I have a feeling that the end of the game is going to be even better. If so, this might be changed to a 5-star review.
About this demo: The game starts as you have arrived on this apparently(?) deserted island after crashing your plane at sea. There are some fair not too hard puzzles, some more original than others, but all entertaining. Of course, the ending is a cliffhanger making you want to play the whole game.
(*):Only once did I feel stuck, and couldn't help looking at some of the screenshots. I got a single "hint" from one screenshot, but I more regard this "puzzle" as a bug. Since the full version hasn't been released yet, perhaps this might be fixed before the release. Except from this, the implementation is very good.
EDIT: This bug in the demo has been fixed.
I played the c64-version and it was surprisingly fast. I guess that is due to PunyInform and Ozmoo. I decided to play using the VICE-emulator and run it at 200% speed. However, you don't need to play around with emulators. You can just download the z3-file and play it with Gargoyle, Frotz etc. The implementation is thorough and the parser felt as good as any other Inform game - I never noticed that I was playing with a reduced Standard Library. So technically, this game is also very good.
The full game will only be $3.99 but try the free demo if you are in doubt. I am very much looking forward to the full game.
This game was written to illustrate the option in 'PunyInform' to change between the main characters. It is a fun little game, though its background shows. It is not especially well thought out and it can easily be made unwinnable. However, the player can quickly restart this short game or return to a previous save, so it isn't a big deal. However, as this game was made with PunyInform, there is no undo functionality, so save often. Besides that, the parser feels pretty much as most Inform games.
In this game we follow the two "boggits" Fuddo and Slam (many of John Wilson's games take place in a parody world based on Tolkien's universe). These characters had their first game in 1998, which simply was called "Fuddo & Slam". I haven't played that one, so I can't really comment on any similarities between the games.
In the present game, you can switch between these two characters at any time by typing "Become Fuddo" and "Become Slam". The primary difference is, that Slam is stronger and heavier.
Roughly speaking, this game is a treasure hunt. I don't want to reveal much, as part of the game is figuring out what the objective is from some subtle clues in various locations. You can get 230 points maximum, but not all points are required. Also, expect a few maze-like locations.
There really isn't a story, but there were a few fun puzzles and the parser is strong, as it is written with PunyInform. So if you are looking for a quick uncomplicated game, you might like this.
If you found this game difficult it is understandable. Much of the technical information and questions don't make sense. The author (one of them?) clearly has misunderstood one or more basic concepts, especially watts, which the author seems to think is a unit of energy, which it isn't. It is a unit of power, which is energy per time unit. Joule is a unit of energy and 1 watt means 1 joule per second.
The best example in the game to illustrate this is probably:
"Excess Discharge Error: The amount of energy required by the load, 33600 watts, was more than the batteries and inverter could supply, at 4302.7 watts and 90% inverter efficiency."
Here, it becomes clear that the author (one of them?) thinks that watts are energy ("The amount of energy required by the load, 33600 watts, was..."). That wasn't a big deal if watts did not play a big role in the game, but it does. It is at the core of the game, that you shouldn't run out of energy. Most tech questions concerning energy are completely wrong. This is a problem, since many may walk away thinking they learned something. But they learned something wrong, which will confuse them if they later need to learn about watts, joules, power and energy.
One more example:(Spoiler - click to show)"How many watts are required to run the loads of a kettle that uses 26880W per hour for 3 minutes?
-134.4W 1344W -13440W 8064W"
Again, the author thinks that watt is a unit of energy. If the kettle had used 26880 joules per hour, it would make sense to say it used 26880 joules / 20 = 1344 joules after 3 minutes of operation. Best case, this was a trick question (but it isn't), because, if a kettle uses 26880W, it uses 26880W whether you run it for 3 minutes or 10 hours, simply because watts means joules per second. But according to the game, the "right" answer was 1344W.
Most questions seem to hold this misconception. However, I get the impression that more authors might have been working on this game, as parts of the game seem correct, e.g. when looking into the solar panel: "The batteries currently have 1734.9WH of energy" (though it would normally be written Wh, not WH). Here, the author applies an energy unit for energy as she should.
I hope the author will be able to learn from the mistakes and update the game. I think it has the potential to be a good game for people interested in technical stuff, if all the incorrect technical stuff is corrected and the difficulty level is appropriate. Until then I recommend NOT to play it.
I'm not sure if "origin stories" is correct to apply on this game, since not all of the included stories result in how things really are, but that is part of the fun.
The content warning "Contains bad poetry" tells me that this game doesn't take itself too seriously - it is here to entertain. The title seemed at first a bit silly, but perhaps it was intended. But looking back, the title would actually be fitting for a bedtime story for a child, as it could have revealed what the story was about unlike most titles. So somehow the title makes sense anyway.
I haven't read the book "Just So Stories for Little Children" by Rudyard Kipling, which inspired this game, so I don't know how much the game has in common with that book. Anyway, I am glad Peter Eastman made this game.
I was positively surprised. The writing is really good and humorous. You do have choices but not puzzles. It is more like branching stories. I know that the number of branches can explode if a story keeps branching so it was understandable that the number of choices was a bit limited.
There didn't appear to be bad endings, just different paths to different endings. Thus I did not see any reason to try again, as I was perfectly happy with the path I took. But for as long as it took, I was entertained. A short but fun game.
I don't mind short games if they have something original and if they are interesting or ingenious or hilarious etc. But I didn't think this game has much of that, though you might find a few funny responses if you specifically try NOT to solve the puzzles.
This game is an implementation of the classical "Fox, chicken and sack of grain" puzzle where you must cross a river, except that the animals and sack of grain have been replaced with something similar. Besides that, there is an extremely simple puzzle.
Nevertheless, I briefly felt slightly entertained as I couldn't quite remember the solution from my childhood, only parts of it. Luckily, the implementation is fine. After finishing the game, there is a short list of "amusing" things you can try, which was again fine but nothing special.
I think this might be a good game for someone new to parser games, as the player will get a feel of inventory limits, examining stuff, enterable containers etc.
For anyone else, they might be briefly entertained if they have never heard of the "Fox, chicken and sack of grain" puzzle.
I liked the beginning of this game a lot. The story is on rails with a puzzle here and there, which increases immersion. After 1-2 hours (depends on how fast you are), the game turns into a puzzlefest very similar to the Bullhockey games. I have played both Bullhockey games for a while, but they couldn't hold my interest, in the long run, so I never finished those.
I think I played for four hours and got 155 points out of 400 while I tried not to peek too much on the walkthrough. So the game is definitely huge. I do like a good long puzzlefest, but for some reason, this part of the game is not for me.
Perhaps because too many similar standard objects (chairs, tables etc in most rooms) must be searched and examined, too many locked doors must be attempted to be unlocked with each key (confusing, as the game, in the beginning, can figure out which key to use) and there are too many keys to keep track of. All this becomes rather tedious with only a few clever puzzles (maybe there are some deeper into the game). Perhaps just a combination of all these things.
I think the game would be more fun if the tedious puzzles were removed and only the good ones were kept. A lot of locations could also be removed, as they seem to be there mainly for realism, which isn't necessary.
Still, the beginning is truly excellent and I wanted to see the end, so I copied the very long walkthrough into the command line (had to cut it into 25 pieces) to see the ending, as I didn't feel like playing through the whole game to see the ending.
If BF Lindsay ever makes a game with the same gameplay style throughout as the beginning of this game, I would love to play it. Also, if he is able to improve his puzzlefests, I would like to play those too. Still, if you liked the Bullhockey games, you will probably like the entire game.
This is a very well implemented game, old-school in the sense that you need to examine and search a lot. But modern when it comes to the number of endings and how much you actually can ask the NPCs about.
In this game you get to talk to a lot of people and you can ask them about lots of stuff. You might get some proposals on what to ask about if you TALK TO the NPCs, though these proposals are not exhaustive. When I first finished the game, it was without hints, and I got 35 out of 50 possible points. The ending tells you a lot about the fate of the many NPCs, so you might want ot play again to get all the 50 points. I tried to replay it once. This time I understood much more, but didn't get any more points. Then I decided to stop.
For what it is trying to be, I think this game succeeds. If you don't mind examining and searching a lot in addition to "standard puzzles" I think you will like this one.
This game is a pretty good puzzlefest, where you have to escape from the Duke's castle, otherwise, something terrible will happen to you. The author warns you that the Duke wants to rape you, in case you find that too disturbing to carry on. I did carry on. After all, this will only happen if you don't manage to escape.
So besides the above terrible act, which isn't supposed to happen, the writing is good and whimsical in a standard fantasy setting. The puzzles were quite good too and not too difficult. I needed to peek at the walkthrough twice:
1. First, because of an uncritical but confusing bug(Spoiler - click to show) - After following Ulia to the Chapel I couldn't leave but had to follow her back and forth from the chapel until she finally settled in the chapel (at least this seems like a bug to me...)
2. The second time I needed to peek at the walkthrough was because something I wanted to do in a logical place apparently didn't work, so I was thinking that might be one more implementation bug, but it wasn't: (Spoiler - click to show)I thought I could burn the spell ingredients in the fireplace but that wasn't possible. It had to be done in the brazier. At least an explanation of why it couldn't be done in the fireplace would have been good.
Perhaps these things might be fixed in a post-comp release. Anyway, they did not affect my rating. It was certainly a good, fun game, which took me a little more than two hours to complete. Recommended.
This game seems to be a test game for someone who is just starting to learn Inform. It doesn't appear very bugged, but there is almost no story, a few puzzles and then a huge maze. I mapped more than 60 rooms in the maze before I gave up. What there is before the maze isn't horrible, but nothing special either. Feels like someone just wanted to create a game real quick though.
The maze is not a classical IF maze (no need to drop objects to distinguish the locations) but it is more logical, i.e. if you go east you can get back by going west etc. Still, the location descriptions are identical so it may make it slightly easier if you drop objects at certain locations. However, the real problem with the maze is, that it does not mention which directions you can go, so you have to try by trial and error to figure out which directions you can go in each location. And I wasn't sure if it is only N/S/E/W in all locations or if I should also try NW/NE/SE/SW and up/down. It appears as if N/S/E/W is sufficient though.
If you like mapping big mazes, you might like this one.
This time travel puzzle game has some original mechanics and nice puzzles. You have to save the world from the Order of the Fiery Doom. There are several endings, though some of them are not accessible depending on what you did earlier in the game. Most puzzles were good, some easy, some a bit tricky. Except for a few uncritical bugs, the implementation was good. The writing was good too, though some of the comedic solutions did not fit so well with the writing which didn't feel like it was supposed to be funny. Still, a good atmospheric puzzle parser game.
When I first tried this game, I played it online. At that time the game kept freezing and I had to restart each time. I then found that I could download the game instead, and that worked flawlessly (you must first install Quest - Windows only). Later I have tried to play it online without problems. I am just mentioning this, as some might get a very bad impression of the game if they play the online version at the wrong time.
I think the game starts out by giving standard parser players a really bad impression. In the first room, I can see a torch and thus the following attempts are probably fairly standard:
You pick it up.
You don't have a torch.
So even though I just took the torch, I am told I don't have it. This gave me the initial impression that the game is not very well coded. So I got sceptical and looked at the beginning of the video-walkthrough the author had made. The author played very much using hyperlinks, which reveals many of the verbs the game understands. Thus the guess-the-verb problem I had with "light torch" was quickly solved.
After that, everything ran smoothly. The game has real-time elements, but you quickly get the hang of it and it actually fits the game quite well. Some of the best puzzles are not mandatory and only necessary to solve if you get yourself in trouble.
A few things here and there could have been implemented to give a better impression. Still, this is a clever and original game I recommend.
This game starts out when you arrive on your first day as an IT intern at McKenzie & Lloyds. The game is quite original. I would spoil it if I say much more. I managed to find two different endings. Not sure if there are more, but I don't think so.
In the time of writing, there is a sort of "bug" if I play the included zblorb-file with Windows Frotz: When the game begins there is a quote. You then press a key to continue but then the first three sentences of the introduction are not displayed. However, all I had to do was to start the online version, read the first three lines there and then continue playing using Frotz. Thus it did not affect my rating. (EDIT: later I have found this to happen with other games too when using Windows Frotz. I have switched to Lectrote, which doesn't seem to have that problem)
Also, the online version has a very cool presentation: An apparent DOS-screen where you can click on seven different files, with some related but not required information and a nice demo in the style of old commodore 64/Amiga demos.
The puzzles and game mechanics are fine. This game is quite short, but enjoyable as long as it lasts. If you don't mind short games, I can recommend this one.
PS: A note on my ratings: (Spoiler - click to show)On IFDB I rate games by how much I enjoy them, not for how long I am enjoying them. Thus short games can get 5 stars if I am highly entertained as long as it lasts. This is in contrast to how I rate games in IFComp, where the longer games get higher ratings if I am equally entertained (based on the two first hours).
In this game you play the role of Sir Rodney Playfair, a gentleman thief also known as the Magpie. The Magpie first appeared in the IFComp winning "Alias 'The Magpie'" which I have played but not completed. Having solved this excellent one-room game, I feel tempted to return to "Alias 'The Magpie'", which I probably will.
This game is fairly easy but highly entertaining. If you prefer very dificult puzzles, this game is probably too easy for you, but if you enjoy easy puzzles as well, you will most likely enjoy this game.
You cannot have a Magpie game without disguises, so of course there are several possible disguises. This is mixed with Mathbrush's own conversation system, similar to his "Color the Truth" and other games by Mathbrush. Thus, the game keeps track of relevant topics and it is sufficient to simply type the topic, no need to "SAY topic TO character" so the gameplay is very smooth.
The puzzles are fun and the writing is whimsical, though I didn't experience any laugh-out-loud moments (well, except for one "easter egg"). Still, it was a very rewarding game, which I highly recommend.
This game is based on some standard apocalyptic tropes but it is done very very well. I don't want to ruin any surprises in the game, so I will only say that the game starts right after you run out of gas on the highway.
The implementation is quite good. The game is not very difficult, though a few of the more clever puzzles had me thinking for a while. The game is a horror game, though not a very scary one. However, it is possible to trigger some turn-based events, which increases the suspense.
The story is well written, though it is definitely more a game than a verbose story. So it is mainly the introduction and the endings which are verbose. The location descriptions are well written too, but some might find them too short. I found them fitting for their purpose.
Talking about endings, there are more than one ending, but only one optimal ending. It will be obvious if you reached the optimal ending. It took me 2.5 hours to reach the optimal ending without hints.
Even though the story is not highly original, the game contains some rather clever puzzles and everything is very well done. If you like parser games with many puzzles, I highly recommend this one.
In this game, you play the role of Dr. Ego, an adventurous archaeologist looking for the golden egg of Man-Toomba in the jungle. It is a fairly standard puzzle adventure with a few bugs and a few places where the descriptions could have described more thoroughly what was going on. Still, most of the puzzles were easy.
Besides examining things, remember also to "search" things. If the game had been a bit more polished and/or a little more effort had been put into the writing to make it more exciting, I would gladly have given one more star. For instance, the ending is very short. I prefer when the ending is a little longer, to give the player some sort of award for completing the game. Despite the few problems mentioned above, it was still a fun game.
This game starts out right after the player character has been fired as the village idiot. He must now find something else to do...
Lance Campbell certainly has a talent for comedy writing. More over, he has come up with a funny story and some good puzzles which are well implemented. This is quite a good game.
I did loose patience with a few of the puzzles and resorted to the built-in hints, but looking back they were probably fair. However, I would never had completed the game without help from google. I wonder if English had been my first language, would I still have trouble knowing all the different (Spoiler - click to show)horse and cat sounds?
My favourite funny quote is probably this:
(Spoiler - click to show)"Regardless, you are in a conversation with an animal now, and she is clearly waiting for you to speak to her:"
1) "Moo. Moo."
2) "MOO! MOO!"
3) "Moooooo. Moooooo."
4) End the discussion.
Anyway, this is a really funny game with good puzzles, which I certainly recommend.
This game is quite interesting. It takes place in Japan and introduces a little bit of the language and some objects. It is sometimes serious and at other times a comedy. The comp version I played in the beginning of IFComp 2020 had a few bugs. One of them was game-breaking, so I had to revert to an older save-file. But most of the bugs I could work around. Thus, my rating does not consider these bugs, as I guess the author will fix them in a post-comp version(?)
I liked most of this game a lot, both its story, puzzles and the humor. This game has several endings. However, it is clear whenever a better ending can be obtained, so the player will probably "undo" when reaching one of these less good endings. Unfortunately, the final ending was a bit confusing, and I couldn't help thinking that this game might have been a sequel to the author's other games. At least I noticed that the author has made another game set in Japan (Gotomomi). Thus "Putrid Sea" may be excellent if you have played that game first, I don't know. I have rated it without having played Gotomomi.
Perhaps if I had read all messages thoroughly several times, I could have analyzed the text to figure out what was going on with the final ending. Personally, I don't think that should be necessary and thus I rated it even though I didn't get the final ending. Still, I can recommend this game, as most of the game is easy to understand and well done (except the few bugs I hope the author will fix). You can just stop at one of the earlier endings, if you don't like the final ending.
This game made in Ink has a short but well-written fun story. It is definitely a game, not just a story since there are many ways to die. There is a sort of Undo feature ("Try again") if you die. Once you complete the game you are told how many times you died and how many people you saved. A nice touch I think. In theory, it should be possible to save 4 people it seems. However, I only managed to save 2 people. So there is definitely a game element.
Unfortunately, it has several bugs. Sometimes a choice made the game freeze. At other times I ended up in a situation with no choices so I couldn't proceed. I got the impression that the game was more stable if I closed the window each time I wanted to restart the game. A drawback of this approach is that the game then cannot count how many times I died. Perhaps it was just certain choices that made the game freeze.
Another problem is the choice-based equivalent to "Guess-the-verb" in parser games, which I call "Guess-the-solution". That is, to complete the game you just must guess the right choices when there is no way you can predict what is the right choice. And then you must memorize your previous choices so you know what to do and what not to do next time you play.
That isn't necessarily bad, it is just that choice-based games have come a long way since the early days with choices such as "Do you want to go left or right?", which is only a matter of guessing and remembering your previous playthrough. This game gives more interesting choices than "Left or Right?" but roughly, it is the same thing as the old CYOA books.
Still, if the bugs were fixed I might have given one or two more stars, depending on how well the parts of the story I couldn't get to were written. I hope the author makes a bug-fixed post-comp version. Then I would probably play again.
In this game, you play as Emma, six years old, as she tries to help her parents with some housework. Boring? Not at all. There is much more to this game than it at first appears to be. I don't want to give anything away, just want to say that this game is a serious contender for the "Best implementation" XYZZY-award next year, as well as other XYZZY categories. Very impressive!
If you intend to play puzzlefests without hints or only with a few hints, there are lots of hours of entertainment in this game (EDIT: I read that a reviewer only used a little more than two hours to solve this, so I am probably a very slow puzzle solver!). It took me more than seven hours to complete this game without hints. I see myself as a medium parser player and I did get stuck many times. But when I did, I put the game on hold and tried it the next day. Every time I did this, I managed to get a little bit further. Eventually, I managed to complete the game this way. So the puzzles are certainly fair. Most of the puzzles are also very clever and rewarding and there were no "bad" puzzles.
The writing is good and whimsical. And if you need it, there are built-in hints. The ending was fine too, though the second last paragraph felt a bit far-fetched. But that didn't ruin anything.
I regard this game as a modern classic up there with "The Wand" and other excellent puzzlefests. A "must-play" if you love puzzles!
This sci-fi game is fundamentally a glulx game and you can decide to play the gblorb-file in a normal interpreter. However, if you play the online version, Vorple is applied resulting in a beautiful and practical interface with graphics and music. Especially, the music is quite cool, though after some time you will hear the same tunes again. A drawback about the online version is, that it is sometimes a bit slow. If you think this is a problem, you can play the gblorb-file in an interpreter and the responses will be close to instantaneous.
A bigger problem with Online play is (at least in the time of writing) when you restore a saved game. The longer you get into the game (? - or the more save-files you have?), the longer it takes to restore a game. It seems to grow almost exponentially. On Chrome it took more than 5 minutes and thus I gave up and started to play the Online version through the Windows Edge browser instead. Here the delays were also significant but at least the save-games were restored eventually (perhaps a coincidence?). I understand that the author is looking into this.
The atmosphere is great, the writing is good and so is the puzzles without being extraordinary. There is also a lot of humour here and there, which fits well into the game. I regard the difficulty level as medium since I only needed a single hint. Recommended.
(Adventuron version reviewed)
Briefly explained, on behalf of his friend Bulbo, Algernon accepts a challenge in Castle Toidi. He must locate as much treasure as he can and slay as many creatures as possible, including a dragon.
This comedy is the longest game by John Wilson I have played so far (most have been short) and also the most entertaining. It doesn't have a lot of locations, but it is still crammed with puzzles. You score points for most of the puzzles and if you complete the game, you can get up to 250 points, though there is a less optimal ending with fewer points. Out of the 250 points, I only regard two puzzles of 15 point each, as unfair, as they require some hard verb-guessing and phrase guessing: (Spoiler - click to show)The verb "unravel" and the phrase "feel 'direction'" (e.g. "feel south"). And if the player types help, the former is given in a coded message.
I was stuck in a few more situations than the two mentioned above and consulted a walkthrough some more. But looking back, the puzzles were all fair except those two. With more patience, I think most experienced players could solve most of the puzzles. Though I try to avoid looking at walkthroughs, I usually end up consulting a walkthrough a few times (more if the game is really hard) when I play puzzlefests anyway, so to me it wasn't a big deal. What I do find important is, that I get to solve most of the puzzles without hints, which I did.
I enjoyed both the whimsical writing and the varied puzzles, which ranged from easy to harder and more clever. Overall, a fun game, and I am very much looking forward to playing the brand new sequel "Return to the Castle" written with Inform (more specifically PunyInform).
(Reviewing Adventuron version - other versions may be different)
This game is bigger (more locations and puzzles) than the first three episodes. There are some fun puzzles but also a few problems. Most puzzles were not problematic and overall I enjoyed it.
Regarding the problems:
* There was a verb I have never seen in a text adventure and I would never have found it without the walkthrough: (Spoiler - click to show)COMPLAIN
* Another situation where I had to guess the phrase: (Spoiler - click to show)INSERT HAND. This one isn't completely unfair but synonyms should have worked too, such as FEEL HOLE, REACH INTO HOLE, SEARCH HOLE.
* The parser is often misleading. It tells you to apply different phrases than it actually understands. Example: If you try to give something without success, the game says: "Give WHAT to WHOM?". But when it finally is the right place and object, it is sufficient to write GIVE 'object'.
* A similar problem with LOOK BEHIND. You will need to look behind objects, but if you do it somewhere it isn't needed, the game says: "Please type either 'LOOK' or 'LOOK INSIDE ..." (Even if you type LOOK INSIDE BIN you get that message) And I never needed to type LOOK INSIDE...
Despite these problems, I enjoyed this as there were some clever puzzles to solve besides the problematic puzzles.
(Reviewing Adventuron version)
I have enjoyed previous episodes but this game is far too hard for me. I enjoyed it briefly, but I quickly got stuck and took a look at the walkthrough. I got one step further, then I got stuck for a long time again, and looked at the walkthrough again and so on. The solutions to these sub-puzzles (both actions and exact verbs) are way beyond what I would be able to figure out without a walkthrough.
Add to this:
* The game can be unwinnable even if the player does nothing wrong (random element)
* The verb USE is normally not understood but suddenly required in one situation.
* The game has a two-word parser but it turns out that in specific situations, the game accepts a four word sentence to be split into two commands:
(fictive example below is not in the game and doesn't happen when using the verb PUT)
>ON SHELF (SHELF wouldn't have worked, ON SHELF required)
Some might see these "problems" as challenges. For me, this isn't what I am looking for when I play older text adventures. Still, I intend to try more episodes in the series, since I liked the first episodes.
EDIT: Gareth Pitchford informed me that the important command WORN was given in the instructions with the original game, so my criticism that you are never told what you are wearing isn't really valid. Moreover, if you play several of the games in the series, it will become apparent that the command type LOOK 'direction' (e.g. LOOK SOUTH or LOOK DOWN) is often required. Thus, this might not be a problem if you played another episode in the series first.
Note that this is a review of the original game, not "The Cats Choice-Cuts Edition" which is slightly longer. I played the Adventuron version. The version you choose to play may influence the commands you can use. Here, the game understands both L (redescribe location) and X (examine).
This game has a few gameplay issues:
1. You cannot examine yourself. EDIT: If you are aware of the command WORN, this isn't a problem
2. You are supposed to: (Spoiler - click to show)LOOK UP but as you are not given any reason to do so, it is quite unlikely the player will try that. EDIT: If you have played other games in the series first, You have probably learned that LOOK 'direction' (e.g. LOOK EAST or DOWN) might be a good idea.
At first, I wasn't aware of the points above, so I found the game to be a bit unfair after having looked at the walkthrough. So perhaps the puzzles are perfectly fair (hard to estimate after I completed the game by looking at the walkthrough). Anyway, it has entertaining parts even if you need to look at a walkthrough. With the information given at the top of this review, you will probably be able to enjoy this game.
Before you read on, here are a few facts:
1. Location graphics for all rooms (8-bit quality)
2. Brief location descriptions
3. Two-word parser (but fast)
4. Inventory limit (9 objects, hardly a problem)
This game was really fun. You are exploring an abandoned alien research centre which has been taken over by various grotesque creatures. Though the location descriptions are brief, the atmosphere is good due to the graphics and sound effects. And if something significant changes in a location, the location graphics change too. And if there is something you can interact with, it is mentioned in the location descriptions.
The game is a puzzlefest and there isn't much of a story. But the puzzles are good and there are lots of them. You will need to guess a few verbs, but you will most likely get them right either the first or the second time around as they are usually quite obvious. In my opinion, only one puzzle required an unexpected command: (Spoiler - click to show)The command "kick floor" isn't obvious to me, even though we are told that the floor is partly eaten away by some substance. You might kick a wall or door but not a floor. I would have expected Jump, Stomp or Break Floor to work but only "kick floor" seems to work. Anyway, how difficult a game should be is always a matter of taste. I found the difficulty level just right. I did peek at a walkthrough a few times as I was eager to get on with the game, but I usually regretted it as the puzzles are all fair.
Though there are plenty of ways to die, you will rarely die unexpectedly. Whenever you encounter an alien you have one turn to leave if you don't know how to deal with that alien. Still, you should save often. I played with the Fuse emulator and here saving a snapshot was only a click away.
It is my impression that the game can be made unwinnable in at least one way, but then it will be obvious that a part of the game isn't accessible anymore, so if you have been saving often, it isn't a big deal. Only one puzzle seemed to contain a random element, but that made sense for this particular puzzle and didn't prevent me from winning if I didn't get it right the first time.
Everything considered I think this a great game. As I never had a ZX Spectrum, I hadn't heard about this game until recently, but now that I tried it, I wouldn't mind calling it a classic worth playing today. Recommended.
This is a quick one-room escape game where you are a balrog (who seems to be a fun little fellow) locked inside the loo. It is a comedy with a few mandatory puzzles and a few optional puzzles. I managed to complete it almost without hints except for one guess-the-verb puzzle, so I consulted a walkthrough on CASA Solution Archive for that. Looking back, I should have been able to figure out the verb by paying attention to my inventory: (Spoiler - click to show)The verb "unfold"
There are many versions available, including the ADVENTURON version, which should be playable in most browsers (html-file). There might be a few differences between the versions. In old British games, typing R was the standard for redescribing the location description, not LOOK or L. Besides that, just keep in mind that it is a two-word parser, just as the popular Scott Adams games. And in some versions you might have to type EXAM or EXAMINE instead of just X.
It was a quick but fun little game, so I intend to try the sequel too.
This game is inspired by the optimization games "Captain Verdeterre's Plunder" and "Sugarlawn". I agree those are good. This is however my favourite optimization game so far. Except for a few locations, this game takes place in an Egyptian tomb. Your task is to find a certain object and then find as many valuables you can. When you complete the game, you will automatically sell everything. The money you earn is your high score. The author encourages you to send him a transcript if you get a high score, which always gives even more incentive to keep playing.
This game is a lot of fun. It has excellent puzzles and thorough implementation. However, it does have some "old school features" but that makes sense for an optimization game: Time limit (read: turn limit) for parts of the game, inventory limit and the game can be put in an unwinnable state. However, these are what makes this game fun and challenging. The game is not very big location-wise and most locations can be reached when the game begins. You will probably have one playthrough to solve puzzle A, then another playthrough to experiment with puzzle B etc. After that, you can try to optimize your playthrough so that you will earn as much as possible.
Regarding the time limit, note that you can exploit the parser, obviously intended, for instance, GET ALL would only take one turn, whereas if you get the objects one by one, it takes more turns. Such parser exploitation is not exactly realistic but I think it adds a positive extra layer to the optimization.
The game engine appears to be made by the author, which was probably a good choice as the implementation is very good and suits the game. Even when you restore a saved game you can undo as many times you like, and after multiple sessions, it accumulates a list of all the treasures you found and the number of undiscovered treasures. Those actions, which shouldn't take time in the game, don't. For instance, examining things only takes time if something happens. My only nitpick with the parser was (Spoiler - click to show)I wasn't sure about the syntax for wishing. E.g. it could have understood [wish that 'something'] but that didn't work. I am now under the impression that the only way to wish is to type [wish for 'something'].
As an Ectocomp game, this is not particularly scary to play, though it does contain violent deaths, unnatural phenomenons etc. Still, I think it is suited for Ectocomp but would probably do very well in other competitions too. Anyway, I think this is an excellent game I highly recommend.
This is a fun little game, which takes place in Sherlock Holmes' apartment. Professor Moriarty is out to get you, Sherlock. The game only has four locations. Still, it took me somewhere between 1 and 2 hours to complete it without hints, including a few guess the verb issues.
In the spirit of Sherlock Holmes, you will have to pay attention to details if you want to complete this game. I played the DAAD version using a c64-emulator. If you like Sherlock Holmes and parser games, I think you will like this. Quite fun!
In this Twine game you play the role of Sadie, age 15, who investigates the disappearance of your grandmother's diamond ring during Christmas. You will need to question the entire family to figure out what happened. The pacing is fine. There isn't any "real" puzzles, as you are more or less guided through the game by a very user-friendly interface, which includes the ability to check your notes, which includes several clues on what to do. Still, most things can be done in any order.
The writing is good and I was curious to find the truth behind the mystery. And technically everything worked as expected. There were also some funny moments. To sum up, this is a good game, which I recommend.
Recently I have experienced the great graphical skills which are present in the Adventuron community, after playing the games in "The Next Adventure Jam", a competition held in summer 2020. Thus I got curious when I heard that this game is a XYZZY awards nominee in the category "Best Use of Multimedia".
The location graphics are really great adding to the atmosphere. The writing and descriptions are also very good. The gameplay is a bit limited though.
There are a few real puzzles, but most of the puzzles are about examining things, and then examining things mentioned in the descriptions etc. There is nothing wrong with this since it can be fun for a while, but once I had found three non-toxic mushrooms, which was the minimum requirement to finish the game, I decided to quit, even though there is a sort of point system counting how many mushrooms you found. I just wasn't motivated enough to continue playing. Perhaps if there had been a little more story, it could have kept my interest. Still, I enjoyed the game until I reached an ending and decided to quit.
Technically, the game is very fine. It tells you upfront that it uses only two words (some Adventuron games allows for more than two words, e.g. "Charlie the Chimp") so that isn't a problem when you know it. It didn't have much of a story, which some Adventuron games have like "Dawn of The Soviet Ladybirds". Still, the game was okay.
I do recommend that you try it, since you can always decide to quit without reaching the maximum of points (i.e. the number of mushrooms you found).
This is the first ChoiceScript game I have purchased, so parts of this review may be obvious to seasoned Choice of Games players.
You start out being a servant for your employer Rory Wintermint. You will then experience a series of eventful days where you will have to choose who to help (sometimes yourself), how to help and sometimes you also get to decide which direction the story will take.
Since this game is a comedy, of course, there are lots of misunderstandings and embarrassing situations. The writing is excellent and funny though it is never hilarious, but humor is of course very subjective.
The game is quite long and it feels as if most of your choices matter. It doesn't seem like it is possible to lose, which would have been annoying, forcing the player to restart and replay the same parts over and over. Instead, it seems as if there are many different paths through mostly the same series of events, so apparently you cannot lose but you can have quite different experiences each playthrough and reach different endings and unlock 79 possible achievements. I only had one playthrough, which took several hours and I got only 10 achievements corresponding to 120 points, so I doubt you can get all in one playthrough. So the achievement system provides som motivation to play again to get them all.
The game has a stats system, and for a while, it was fun to see how my choices affected those stats. But in the long run, I didn't pay much attention to them, though it might be necessary if you want to unlock all achievements.
I haven't tried to play again, but I enjoyed my first playthrough a lot, so if you like a choice-based comedy, this game is highly recommended.
This is a puzzle fest in the Scott Adams tradition with super-brief location descriptions, a list of objects you can interact with, a list of visible exits and pictures for all locations. However, in this game the pixelated graphics are taken to the extreme: Each picture is 32x10 pixels. Nevertheless, they are quite beautiful and colourful and it is clear what it is supposed to look like (just look at the cover art). The location pictures may change depending on what objects etc. are present and according to the author there are 148 different pictures. In addition, the text is colourful too, which all adds to the atmosphere.
This game is full of puzzles. Your job is to help the ghosts escape before a yellow bulldozer destroys everything. I have played this game for several hours but so far I have only managed to help 8 out of 12 ghosts. In addition, you can get a maximum of 7 trophies. At least some of them (all?) are not needed to complete the game but it is a fun extra challenge.
I don't know why I like this game so much - it is probably a combination of hard and easy puzzles combined with the colourful atmosphere and the extra challenge to obtain the 7 trophies. The parser accepts no more than two words and it is consistent, unlike some Adventuron games that sometimes accept four-word inputs, which can be fine if the player knows this. The author has also provided a list of necessary verbs, so you don't really need to guess any verbs.
In the time of writing, there are 14 hours left of The Next Adventure Jam. I've played all seven entries and I liked them all more or less, but this is my favourite. Recommended.
You are the IT manager of Ven-Tec and you have uncovered hints of criminal activity within your company. You only have this night to uncover the evidence. This is a small but fun Adventuron jam game with a few guess-the-verb problems. Location descriptions are pretty short but some decent location graphics add to the atmosphere. It is pretty standard parser puzzles, though for a single puzzle I needed to google something before I could guess the needed verbs.
A few other places a little verb guessing were needed too, but if you are experienced in parser games it isn't a big problem. It does have a tutorial mode for the first few steps of the game, so the beginning is fine for new players. However, they will most likely have problems guessing the right verbs later on.
Still, it was fun.
This game was part of the jam/competition "The Next Adventure Jam". It is fairly short but it has some nice puzzles and illustrations. Unlike some Adventuron games, this game understands up to four words such as PUT BALL IN BOX. I had no problems with the parser. You might think that Adventuron games require a nostalgic interest in retro-computing, but I don't think so, though they are usually puzzly parser games. The graphics are pixelated and the fonts are retro but otherwise, it is a fun short quality game, which I recommend.
This is the second and last game in the Adrian Mole series. This time Adrian is about one year older. Technically, the game is pretty much identical to the first: It is a Slice of Life CYOA where you follow the teenager Adrian Mole for a little more than a year through his diary and often you are given three choices on how Adrian should deal with a situation. Your aim is to be as popular as possible, but for fun, you can try to make him unpopular as well and see the consequences of the more unwise decisions.
Though the game is very much like the first game in style, Adrian experience new situations which are once again humorously described. So even though there is nothing groundbreaking about this game, it is quite entertaining. The game can certainly be played without playing the first game, though it is recommended to play the first game before this.
This seems to be one of the first commercial CYOA computer games. Furthermore, it was the best selling game for Level 9. It is based on the book with the same name.
In the game we follow the teenager Adrian Mole for a year through his diary, starting on the 1st of January where he lists his new year resolutions. The aim of the game is to make Adrian as popular as possible. Thus, you are now and then told your score, starting around 40%. The score may go up as well as down, depending on how well you are doing. So you might try to maximize your score, but it might be just as fun to try to get as low a score as possible. The score goes along with a description, e.g. "I, Adrian Mole, score 59 percent, which makes me a superior kind of youth." etc.
The graphics are quite useless but can be turned off. Many of the diary entries come with three numbered choices. The order of the three choices have been randomized though, so it isn't sufficient to write down the chosen number if you want to reproduce a game session.
The writing is good and humorous and manages to capture some ups and downs of being a teenager. Most choices seem to matter, some short term, others long term. I played twice. Each playthrough took me about 2 hours.
To sum up, this is an entertaining CYOA, which I recommend.
PS: Some technical details (Spoiler - click to show)- Originally, this game was available for Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Atari 8-bit and the BBC Micro. It is now furthermore possible to play the game on Mac, Windows and Linux using Gargoyle or the standalone Level9.Net interpreter. However, I couldn't get Gargoyle to pass the score from e.g. the first part to part II (there are four parts in total) but with Level9.Net there were no problems. However, if you get hold of a well-working commodore 64 version, you can run it with the VICE emulator and set the speed to No limit. The game then runs very smoothly and you can disable pictures if you like.
Finally, I got around playing Tethered on a real Commodore 64. However, this review isn't really about playing the game on a retro-machine but the fact that I enjoyed playing the game again almost two years later and decided to make a review. I enjoyed the original z-machine version during IFcomp 2018. The only comment I have about the C64 version is that it was fast enough to be just as enjoyable.
I did remember several of the puzzles so it did not take me much time to complete it the second time around. I don't want to give away any details about the game as that would spoil the game. The story is strong and well told and as far as I remember from my first playthrough, all the puzzles are fair. I highly recommend this game.
Alien Diver is a very untraditional IF game, which combines some standard IF conventions with a card/dice game. Thus many things are randomized and thus different each time you play.
The backstory is fairly simple: On a scouting mission you crash-land on an ocean planet. Even though your spaceship can travel underwater, it must first be repaired. Before you can do that you must first find your ship, which you floated away from while you were unconscious. You must also collect four coloured fragments before you can repair your ship.
You must do all this within some time limits. Your ship is slowly being destroyed by the ocean if you don't repair it soon, and you may run out of oxygen soon too. There are ways to get more oxygen, but to my knowledge, there is nothing to prevent the ship from being destroyed, unless you manage to repair it.
So the gameplay consists of you racing around the ocean, trying to find your ship and trying to obtain these coloured fragments, while avoiding deadly sea creatures.
The coloured fragments can be obtained from the many alien cubes scattered around the ocean. A cube can only be used once. You can "roll dice" to try to and match the power number of a cube. If you fail you get a single crafting fragment (different from the coloured fragments). If you succeed you get three crafting fragments and you can then extract a blank card from the cube. The cube is then inactive and cannot be used again. Whenever you extract a blank card, the extracted blank card has a sea creature symbol. If you encounter a sea creature you can play this card to help you, though you can also attack it in a more traditional way.
But you might want to save your blank cards for something more important. If you find an active cube and you have a blank card, you can craft a card. The crafted card will then have the same power number as the cube you crafted it on. Again the cube becomes inactive.
You can then play a crafted card next time you find an active cube, though the power number of the card must match the power number of the active cube. If it does, you obtain a coloured fragment with the same colour as the cube. You must collect four different coloured fragments before you can repair your ship.
The built-in map feature of ADRIFT 5 is crucial for this game, since the map would be a pain to map because of the many curved connections. Thus it is highly recommended to download the game if you have a Windows computer (the map of the online runner is not very flexible and on Android you cannot display the map). However, the map is not randomized, so it should be possible to map it if you want to.
It is hard to explain but this game is a lot of fun. The difficulty level is not high, but you may need to restart a few times until you have settled on a good strategy.
If you don't mind strategy elements in IF games, I can highly recommed this one.
If you ever saw the movie Big from 1988, you might remember that the main character was playing an IF game with graphics. This wasn't a real game, just one location made for the movie. Then in 2009, BoMToons created a game with only that location.
Then, in 2020, MontieMongoose created this game, with several locations and original puzzles and the final location is that, which is shown in the movie.
The graphics style matches that of the original movie, which is fine. However, the movie was published in 1988 and there were many games with decent parsers at that time. It couldn't be seen in the movie if the parser was good or bad.
This game has a homebrew parser and the parser is very bad. Still, the game is fun, since you are told to use verbs like GET, THROW, OPEN, EAT, USE. Most of the game you use these verbs, except you also need LOOK (EXAMINE is not understood) and NORTH, SOUTH, EAST and WEST and in the final scene, you need to use a series of commands which I believe no one could guess without seeing the movie (there are videos on Youtube showing how to beat the final scene).
Thus I would recommend the author to implement the game in an IF-engine so the game would have a much better parser. Especially the end scene should accept more commands than it currently does. I am sure that the game would then be more fun to play.
Still I had fun playing it.
This game is not a typical piece of IF. You are sitting by your computer, checking your e-mails, contacting a few contacts, decoding secret messages and controlling drones. The game takes place in the year 2120. I won't reveal the story since it is slowly revealed why you play. The game takes place over several days. Each day you stay at the computer until all the things on your checklist have been fixed. Then you log out and come back the following day.
All the text is displayed within a picture containing a computer screen and a few other things including a window. Each day there is light coming through the window until it gets late, then it gets dark and you may see something moving outside. All this adds to a cool atmosphere.
If you don't know which commands you can use, type HELP. Once you get the hang of the game, it is pretty straightforward so you probably won't get stuck at all.
I enjoyed this a lot and highly recommend it.
Edit: Since a serious bug in this game has been identified, the bug can easily be avoided, which is why I have revised my review completely. The bug is triggered if you type "SCRIPT ON", so don't do that. Further more, version 4.0 of the game has been released, which is the version I am reviewing. In the time of writing, version 3 is on the Spring Thing site, whereas version 4.0 can be found on www.textadventures.co.uk (there is a link to the newest version from this IFDB page)
This IF fantasy RPG made with quest is fun for a while, though it could use some more polish, which makes it a bit frustrating at times.
The game is a sequel to the movie "Hawk the Slayer" and most of the text is well written. Once in a while, I was in doubt if I had missed something or the game simply was referring to something which happened in the movie. I think it would be good to provide a bit more backstory for those who haven't seen the movie.
I also think that the player should be told from the beginning that they should type HELP since the HELP contains some information the player couldn't know, e.g. type INCREASE STRENGTH to increase you strength etc.
The game has stats and a combat system which is for the most part well implemented. However, if you killed a character (let's call him John), the game simply says "You can see John". It would be better if the game told us somehow that John was dead, e.g. "you see the body of John" or something like that.
Other examples of lack of polish:
1. You might not be able to pick up an object because you are carrying some other object. But if you drop the object you are carrying and pick up the objects in the right order, you can carry them anyway.
2. An NPC has an object you want and encourages you to trade, e.g. rare weapons. I tried to type several weapons I had, I tried typing GIVE <object> TO <npc>, and I tried to type SAY <object> and I tried to type a meaningless command. No matter what I type, I am given the same answer: "Just move along then. Got work to do!" As a consequence, you do not know if you are writing the command incorrectly or if it is the object he doesn't like. Since he is asking for weapons, there should at least be some explanation why he does not like the weapon you want to trade.
3. At some point I enter a certain location and are attacked by a very strong enemy. An error-message occurs:
"You are dead!
Error running script: Only one wait can be in progress at a time."
I enjoyed playing for a while but I did not manage to get many points on my own (30 points out of 360). There are some hints on textadventures.co.uk which may bring you further. In the long run the game couldn't hold my interest, since I quickly got stuck. For instance, I never found a torch so I couldn't really visit all the dark locations.
Difficulty level is of course a matter of taste. I regard myself as a medium IF player and I think I should not get stuck so early in a game. If I get the feeling that I will have to rely on a walkthrough for most of the game, I usually quit.
To sum up, this is a decent game, which could use some more polish. It is a bit too difficult for my taste but some of you might like the challenge. But be prepared to save and restore often.
Probably inspired by the game Sugarlawn(?), Arthur DiBianca has made a fun treasure Hunt set in a house. Similar to Sugarlawn, you must find as many valuables as you can within a time limit. The story is different but not so important to the game. Still, it is nice to have a story: You are a member of the local Thieves' Society and you are given your first real assignment. You're to enter the home of the wealthy Prongleman and steal ten valuables...
So already here, the game begins to deviate from Sugarlawn since we know there are ten valuables and that it should be possible to get them all. Well, I haven't collected them all, only (Spoiler - click to show)eight and I'm pretty sure where the two missing ones are but I don't know how to get them so I cannot be 100% sure since no walkthrough has been released.
Another significant difference is that the game is verbless. To examine and/or interact with an object you should simply type the object of interest. The only other commands you can type are N, W, E, S, Look(L), Inventory(I) and Leave. You can choose to leave the house before Prongleman gets home if you think you are not going to find any more valuables. Alternatively, you could just pass the time until Prongleman gets back, then you will flee out of a window. In any case, you are given a rank, e.g. Slight Thief if you only got one valuable.
The game is certainly smaller and less complicated than Sugarlawn but for as long as it lasts, it is just as enjoyable with its own original feel. It is a nice contribution to the list of IF optimization games like Sugarlawn and Captain Verdeterre's Plunder.
I have been looking forward to this game since I played the IntroComp version in 2018. I wasn't disappointed, except that I was hoping for a longer game since I was having such a good time! But I guess no matter how long a game is, you would like it to be longer if it is great.
This game is both short and easy but what there is, is well written and I was constantly excited to see the next scene. There were no ingenious puzzles, but they fit well into the story. The ending was a bit tame, but otherwise, it was a great game. And I cannot guarantee that there isn't a better ending and that I just didn't find it.
Anyway, I am glad I played it.
This game contains:
* 304 locations
* randomized combat
* hunger timer
* thirst timer
* tiredness timer
* a light source with limited fuel
* a maze-like area
* Eamon parser (limited verb-set but how to use commands is explained)
* NB: Online version cannot SAVE and RESTORE. Download the game instead.
If you can cope with all this, this is a very fun and rewarding game with some fun puzzles too.
In this fantasy game, you are leading a party who is to find and defeat the powerful wizard Zorag. However, not everything is as it seems...
You quickly learn how to handle hunger and thirst so that is not a big challenge.
Tiredness is not critical but reduces your abilities in combat. Thus it is a good thing to CAMP once you get tired. While you camp, you and your friends take turns looking out for enemies. You and your team might get assaulted while you are camping, which starts a combat scene.
The light source is quite limited, so make sure you save the game before venturing into a dark area since there is not enough fuel to map and examine everything in one try.
The swamp is slightly maze-like, so you might want to save your game before going there, and then you can distinguish the locations by dropping your objects in the locations temporarily.
The parser is similar to other Eamon games: If you type a verb the game doesn't understand, you are given a list of verbs understood by the game. Thus you rarely have to guess verbs. If you are to use an object you should normally apply the verb USE, e.g. USE SHOVEL rather than DIG, USE BUTTON rather than PUSH BUTTON etc. The TALK command is a bit strange though: It requires the syntax "TALK <character> ABOUT <topic>". It would have been more appropriate if the command was named ASK instead of TALK.
The HINTS command gives only general hints on how the Eamon parser behaves, e.g. if you are to take an object from a container you must REMOVE the object. Stuff like that.
The difficulty of the randomized combat is medium. I think it will be possible to complete with a brand new character. However, Eamon Deluxe contains some predefined characters in case you don't want to build up a character from scratch, but just want to play this one game.
It is highly recommended to play the download-version since the online version cannot SAVE and RESTORE. Furthermore, the online version runs slower and you cannot bring your own character into the online version.
I can only say that I enjoyed this game a lot. It is the biggest Eamon game available and among the best. The random elements might not suit everyone's taste. But if you like Eamon games I think you will enjoy this too.
The Heart of Gold (THoG) is highly inspired by the first two books in the “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” series but twists the story, so that the planet Eamon was in the way of a new 'hyperspace bypass' and would promptly be destroyed. Your friend Ford Prefect helps you escape by hitching a ride with The Heart of Gold spaceship, where you will meet all the familiar characters from the first novel. From here, you will go through four well-known but modified scenes from the series before you reach the end.
Some of the puzzles will be easier if you have read the books and played the Infocom game “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” but there are still some good original puzzles in it. The puzzles are certainly easier than the Infocom game but the forgiveness rating of THoG is more cruel: If you feel stuck in some of the last three scenes, it is most likely because you didn't find everything there was to find in the first scene. However, the game is quite short once you know what to do, so it isn't that time consuming to start over. There is a built in hint-system. I only needed a couple of hints (which I regretted) but if you haven't played the Infocom game or read the books you might need more. Overall, I regard the puzzles as fair.
The author (Frank Kunze later known as Frank Black) chose to write the game with the Eamon system, which is normally used for combat-heavy IF games, where you can bring character stats, weapons and armor from other Eamon games. However, ThoG doesn't contain combat at all and it is a standalone-game, which means that you cannot bring any stats, weapons or armor into the game.
Furthermore, the game understands seven new verbs compared to a standard Eamon game, whereas commands which doesn't make sense in this game, such as the four standard spells, have been removed. It can be argued that the game is an IF with a restricted verb set, and if you type a word the game doesn't understand, all verbs understood by the game are listed. If you never played an Eamon adventure before, you might want to check out the first option in the HINTS menu (General Help), which doesn't reveal anything about the puzzles in the game. Instead it tells you about how the Eamon parser behaves, which is a little different than modern IF games. Most importantly, you can INVENTORY characters to see what they are carrying and if you want objects inside other objects you must REMOVE them. The parser is primarily a two-word parser, e.g. TALK ARTHUR, though it does also understand phrases like GIVE KNIFE TO ARTHUR etc. However, the Eamon parser has the advantage that you don't need to write whole words, e.g. you may type EX WA instead of EXAMINE WALKIE-TALKIE.
The humor is more or less stolen from the books, which I regard as a good thing since I regard THoG as a tribute game with some original puzzles, and since many authors have attempted to be as funny as Douglas Adams without success.
So if you enjoyed The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in any form, and you don't mind the alternative Eamon parser, you will probably enjoy this small puzzlefest.
Finally, some practical info for Linux, Mac and Windows users:(Spoiler - click to show)Unless you want to run an APPLE II emulator to play, you must download and run PC Eamon Museum for your machine. When it starts up, select "Visit Eamon Deluxe 4.5 (2007)". Then choose 1.Enter the Main Hall. When you are asked if you go over to the desk, hit "D". Then choose any of the predefined characters. It doesn't matter which one, since character stats, weapons and armor are not used in the adventure. After selecting a character, you will see a graphical view of the Main Hall. Your character is placed in the top-middle. All you have to do is go one step up using the arrow keys. You will then be asked whether you want to go on a (A)dventure or (L)eave the universe. Type 'A'. Now you get to choose which adventure set to play. Frank Kunze changed his name to Frank Black, so select "The Frank Black Adventures". Answer the questions, select "Play an adventure" and pick "The Heart of Gold". The game is now running.
First, I should tell you that this game is a standalone Eamon game. If you are familiar with Eamon games, you know that they normally allow the player to bring their own character with improved stats, effective weapons and armour etc. and there will usually be a lot of combat.
However, in this game, you do not bring your own character (if you play the game through Eamon Deluxe, you have to bring a character on this adventure, but the stats, weapons etc. of that character will not be transferred to this game). You start off unarmed without armour and you cannot see your stats. And when you complete the game you do not get to keep your weapons. In that sense, it is similar to the popular "Leadlight".
Some randomized turn-based combat is unavoidable, though there is not a lot of combat, and as usual with Eamon games, it is a very simple combat system, not anything like say "Kerkerkruip". However, combat is quickly executed. Let's say you meet three pirates, it is sufficient to type e.g. "A PIR" (though you may type "ATTACK PIRATE" if you like). Subsequently, you just hit enter, which will repeat your previous command, and so you will quickly see if you have a chance to beat the enemies or if you are currently too injured or if you have too little armour or are in need of a better weapon.
Since combat is executed quickly, it becomes a sort of a puzzle, which enemies to attack and what weapons and armour you should buy first. You might have to solve some puzzles first to gain money or equipment before you will have a chance against certain enemies. For instance, it may pay off to attack a difficult enemy even though you will get mortally wounded since you might find some treasure you can sell and then you can pay someone to heal you. I personally enjoy such a combination of puzzles and turn-based combat.
The genre is classical fantasy with dragons, magic etc. You will need to talk a lot to people and ask about things to complete this game. I estimate that I used about 4-5 hours to complete the game without hints. However, there are in-game hints if you need that. The parser is a two-word parser with prompts, e.g. if you type "PUT SWORD", you will be asked "Put it in what?", If you type a verb which is not understood, you will get a list of all the verbs, which are understood. If you are to use an object, the command is normally USE <object>. Verbs can usually be abbreviated, e.g. "EX" for "EXAMINE". I had no problems with the parser, but it might be because I have played several Eamon games.
The locations are simple to map, as long as you have a separate map for the wilderness and separate maps for the cities. This you are told when the game begins along with some other information, which is good to keep in mind. So I recommend that you take notes while you play. It is also recommended to save often (you have 5 save slots), especially if you defeat a strong enemy.
The game is well written with typical Eamon quirks, which do not bother me, e.g. if you examine an object you will usually get the same message as you got when the object first appeared. If you don't have a problem with such old fashioned issues and if you don't have a problem with simple randomized combat, you might enjoy this game as much as I did.
In this game you play the role of a young associate at a law firm. Your task is to find a will in the Bradford Mansion. The story is minimal but sufficient for a good puzzlefest. The homebrew parser was pretty good. However, I think the author should have chosen some different verbs for some of the problems. However, by experimenting I found out that if I couldn't guess a verb, I should often use "USE", e.g. "use hook with fishing rod" (fictive example).
It took me only a little more than two hours to complete the game without hints. However, I did not have maximum points, so if you like to improve your score, there is more entertainment in this game. The ending was a bit disapointing though.
The game is quite classical with some typical NPC's (butler, gardener and maid). Some of the puzzles I had more or less seen before, but that does not necessarily mean that the author didn't come up with the idea himself. It is just hard to think up a puzzle, which hasn't been used before in some form or another. Still this was a very entertaining game. Four stars.
This game is kind of a spy thriller set in a city where magic and technology exist side by side. You, an innocent tourist, is aboard a train when the train suddenly breaks down. You will thus have to stay for a while in this city you never intended to visit. Quickly you will get involved in a plot.
The game starts of very well with some events happening, which makes the story progress smoothly. After this, you get to explore the city, have lots of conversations and you get to solve some puzzles along the way. More events will occur later after you have played for awhile, progressing the story further, even if you haven't solved that many puzzles.
It turns out that you do not need to solve all puzzles to complete the game. At one point I got stuck, so I searched the internet for a walkthrough. Apparently no one has made one, so when I finally managed to complete the game, I decided to write a walkthrough. Some events occur simply after a number of turns after something has happened. As a consequence, following the walkthrough you will at some point have to wait 90(!) turns as you wait for something to happen. However, the first time you play the game you will be using even more turns exploring the city and so it will feel natural that something suddenly happens. Only if you replay the game and you are trying to figure out how to trigger a certain event, you will realize that it will occur simply after many turns have passed.
It is my impression that this game cannot be made unwinnable, though I am not completely sure. It may also have more than one winning ending(?), though I only managed to find one. So, unless you are looking for alternative endings, you shouldn't need to restart the game. Should you die, you can always undo.
To complete this game you do not need to solve a lot of puzzles. However, there will be lots of conversations. The conversation system takes a little getting used to, but then it is quite convenient.
To sum up, this is a very well written story-driven game with a few puzzles and lots of conversation, which I can certainly recommend.
This game is a short puzzlefest set in the present. You inherit a convienience store from your uncle. However, there is more to it than that. I don't want to spoil anything, so I will not say anything more about the plot. The puzzles are quite easy. I did however, have to consult the walkthrough once, which I regretted since the action I needed to do was an action I usually try if I am stuck, but forgot to try here. So the puzzles were certainly fair. The story is not original at all but serves the purpose for a good but fairly easy puzzlefest. Recommended, especially to people new to parser IF.
This is a quite good game with a few issues here and there but nothing serious. The story is simple but sufficient for a small entertaining puzzlefest. There was one puzzle, which made me look at the walkthrough since I was impatient to get on with the story. I immediately regretted it, since it was a fair puzzle. The rest of the puzzles were fairly easy, despite technical issues here and there and so I managed to complete it within 90 minutes. I enjoyed it.
This game is something I have never seen in interactive fiction before. The only game I can think of being slightly similar is "Superluminal Vagrant Twin", in the sense that you need to save up money and that you gain access to new locations as you progress. However, besides money you must gain "floatrons" in Skies Above, which determines how high up in the sky your airship can go. There are several "mini-games" where you can earn money, floatrons or both.
I must say that when I first started playing the game, one of the first "mini-games" seemed a bit repetitive. However, the game quickly opens up with very varied gameplay and you gain routine so that you can quickly finish the repetitive jobs. So even if the game may not impress you to begin with, carry on. This game is really good!
Even though there is a sort of ending, the game can apparently continue forever it seems with a list of achievements and some mysterious objects you can obtain if you keep playing. You can never die and the the game has a limited parser, so guess-the-verb is never an issue.
I played for about 4 hours before I was satisfied, but I could have continued for a long time without seeing everything there is to see. I highly recommend this game.
In this game, you are participating in a reality TV show on the Sugarlawn Plantation. Your objective is to earn as much money you can within 30 minutes. You earn money by finding valuables and return with them to the foyer. Even better, if you can find out what the target location is of a valuable and put it there, you will get a bonus. In addition, you get a bonus if you manage to escape from the house. There is also mentioned a secret bonus. Bonuses will be doubled if you do not bring the sack to carry stuff. In other words, if you accept an inventory limit, your bonuses will be doubled. So this is a rare example of a game, where it makes good sense to have an inventory limit, since it makes the game harder but you earn more points.
This game has a lot of original puzzles it seems. The fundamental gameplay is quite similar to Ryan Veeder's "Captain Verdeterre's Plunder", which isn't a bad thing. This game is however bigger and some of the puzzles are harder. In both games you need to optimize your playthrough to earn as much money you can, which is hard, since there isn't time to get all valuables and bonuses. I like both games very much.
This game has a lot of humor in it, and it is very well implemented. Within the two hour limit I kept increasing my score, and I feel quite addicted. I hope there will be an online high score list at some point, which is the case for "Captain Verdeterre's Plunder". Such competition would give the player an incentive to keep improving. As it is now, you are mainly playing against yourself, which is also fun but could be even more fun with a high score list. Anyway, this is a very fun game I highly recommend.
This is a little straightforward story-driven parser game. You play the role of Jon Doe, probably the best MI5 agent. You are given an assignment: Investigate the death of an informant employed at a tech company. There are puzzles but they are mostly easy. The game takes place in small areas, which you never return to, so you don't really need to make a map.
I found the writing to be good and sufficient for this kind of game. The implementation was usually good, though a few places, there could have been more responses to the things you can try, especially conversation. However, I managed to complete the game without hints, so it never became a big issue. Overall, I found this to be a very good game.
This game was written by best-selling novelist Michael Crichton in 1983 and published by Telarium in 1984. Luckily the quality of this very old game is high. It is a two-word parser but I never felt that I had to guess-the-verb. However, the manual, which can be found online, contains a verb list which shows what verbs are accepted. It is recommended to read the manual before playing. More over, the game comes with a so-called N.S.R.T.Field map which is required to complete the game. This map can also be found online.
Since there are no modern interpreters for Telariums games, you will need to download an emulator. The game is available for Apple II, Apple Macintosh, Atari ST, Commodore 64 and MS-DOS. I chose to play with a commodore 64 emulator. The other machines are probably faster but I just ran the emulator at approximately 5 times normal speed and so, the game ran at a decent speed.
As the title implies, you are going to the Amazon jungle. The purpose is to find treasure within the lost city of Chak. All puzzles were fair and you quickly stumble upon a humorous sidekick NPC, which helps you on your way. The game has some primitive but still atmospheric graphics and sound effects. Some people may find the game too easy. There are however 3 difficulty levels. I am not the strongest player so I took the easiest difficulty level (novice). As a consequence, I only needed to consult a walkthrough once and I completed the game in about 5-6 hours.
This is the first Telarium game I have played and it was a very positive experience so I am looking forward to try the other seven Telarium games.
In this sci-fi parser adventure you are the last person aboard an abandoned space station. Your objective is to get away from the space station. The game comes with 3 feelies: A map, an antenna calibration guide and a Getting Started manual for an utility scanner.
The map is very convenient and so there is no need to draw a map yourself. The space station is spinning and so the directions Spinward and Antispinward are introduced in addition to port, starboard, up, down, in and out.
The game is very well implemented. There was a single puzzle that required a bit of guessing the verb, but besides that everything worked well. The puzzles were all fair, mostly easy and a few ones harder. Some of the puzzles are a bit technical but none of them requires special knowledge.
Some people might find the minimalistic descriptions too short. I personally found them sufficient to create a good atmosphere and to describe what's going on. This is definitely a game more than a story and so, too much text would disturb the playing experience. However, I would have liked the ending to be more verbose and interesting.
To sum up, the game is atmospheric with some nice puzzles and solid implementation. The ending could have been more interesting but still it was great fun. Try it.
This was my favorite 2018 Ifcomp game. I can imagine that this game is not for everyone, since it is basically a logic/math game. However, it does not require a lot of mathematical knowledge. I would say that you can complete the game using basic math, though to get a perfect score, you should have heard about complex numbers.
In this game you are given the role of a candidate in something called Arithmancy, which is some sort of magic concerning numbers. You need to pass the exam in Arithmancy. To do this, you have to cast spells in the right order, to produce the digits of pi, e, etc. I don't know if this sound like a lot of fun, but it is, if you like logic and math puzzles. In addition, you can get extra points. Some points require that you produce the digits with very few spells, while other points can be gained by finding the numbers with a given color. Yes, in this game all the numbers have a color, though some numbers have the same color. Figuring out the color system, at least to some extent, is needed to obtain a perfect score. I didn't understand the color system completely, but still I managed to get a perfect score, though not within the two hour limit of IFcomp. Thus there are several hours of entertainment in this game.
The game starts out easy but slowly gets harder. Whenever you achieve something in the game, you overhear conversations from the examining committee, which are quite fun. The real fun for me was however figuring out the puzzles.
So if you are into logic puzzles involving math, I can highly recommend this game.
The Fortress of Fear (FoF) is the 4th episode of The Adventures of Alaric Blacmoon. On the other hand, it was the first Alaric Blackmoon game to be written with ADRIFT, so I was quite curious if it had the same quality as the previous episodes. I think it has and overall FoF is a very fine game.
Without going into too much detail, Alaric must get to the bell tower of a big fortress, which is under siege of an evil sorcerer. The sorcerer has slaughtered most of the good staff of the fortress so there are ghosts everywhere requiring objects to let you pass. In addition, they might help you, if you help them. You will also meet a few people who are still alive, and in the end, you will of course face the evil sorcerer.
The game has the same appearance and feel as previous episodes, which is good. As usual, it is necessary to search, look under and look behind objects whenever it makes sense, to ensure you do not miss an object. The puzzles range from easy to difficult but always logical.
The player should be aware of the command "timeoff" though. This is a command used to turn off real time elements. I don't like real time elements in IF-games but since they can be turned off it is not a problem at all.
If you become stuck, the first place to look for inspiration is the VOCAB command, which gives you a list of verbs understood by the game. Typing help gives you the e-mail address of the author, which I did use more than once since the game is very big and I believe most people will become stuck at some point. I encourage everyone playing Larry Horsfield's games to ask for help in this way instead of just giving up, since his games have a lot to offer. This game is no exception.
It has been 5 years since David Whyld last made an ADRIFT game. But it was worth the wait. Trick or Treat was made with ADRIFT 4, which means that it is playable with Fabularium, Gargoyle etc. It starts out with you and your friends trying to "trick or treat" at an old man's house. Unfortunately the old man is crazy, lopping off your friend's head and capturing you and your other friend Emmie.
The game is filled with crazy humor and puzzles as you try to rescue yourself and Emmie and there are more than one ending, depending on how well you do inside the crazy old man's house.
The initial puzzles are quite easy but the game gradually gets harder.
Fun – try it out!
In this game you play the role as Loralang, a famed knight, which has to travel back in time and retrieve the golden sceptre and kill the undead lord, Morac.
So much for the story. The game is oldschool and is a combination of puzzles, a bit of random combat and unfortunately also random deaths. I haven't completed the game, but from what I have seen so far, there are some decent puzzles. The random combat I have seen was far too easy, so it was quite pointless.
Even though I like oldschool games, random combat and don't care too much about the Player's Bill of Rights, I feel this game could have been a lot better if it weren't for the very common random deaths caused by the dragon. It is practically impossible to avoid it for long and according to the built-in hints, the only thing you can do is to avoid the dragon. So even though I came across some decent puzzles, I find it hard to recommend this game.
In this parser game, you play the role of a student, who is by accident sucked into another world of magic where you become a wizard's apprentice. The wizard quickly gets in trouble and you have to help him out.
The writing is full of humor and there are many fine puzzles, though a few of them were a bit unfair to my liking. Luckily there are built-in hints so you can get through the game with some help. I doubt many will solve the game completely without hints. The implementation is very good though.
I prefer the sequel Illuminismo Iniziato over this one, since I regard the puzzles as better in the sequel. Still this was an entertaining game with a good story. I can certainly recommend this to anyone who can accept the need to consult the hints once in a while.
This game is the sequel to Risorgimento Represso. Though I have never played Risorgimento Represso, I enjoyed this game immensely.
In this game you play the role of a wizard's apprentice who has been given an apparently simple task by the wizard. Without spoiling the story, lets just say that the plot will develop as you play.
This is a rather long game with an impressive amount of detail and excellent implementation. The game contains an auto-mapping feature and a newspaper, where you can click to turn the pages.
There are a lot of ingenious puzzles in the game, some easy, others more tricky, but except from one puzzle ((Spoiler - click to show)how to use the hoop) I was able to solve them all without the use of the built-in hint system, where you can ask NPCs for help. So I regard the puzzles as very fair and well clued.
The writing is good and witty, and did a great job in communicating the surroundings. There are several references to Risorgimento Represso, but they are all understandable to those who haven't played it.
This is the best game I have played this year so far, so I highly recommend it.
This is a horror game with rpg elements including random combat. And it is a good one. There are lots of puzzles but they are all sensible, and the atmosphere is scary. The game comes with a very detailed user manual and hint sheet so you should be able to get through. Regarding combat, the game was fair, though I had to die a lot before choosing the right strategy. I did have some trouble near the end though, where multiple enemies were present at the same time. As a result I ended up with very few hitpoints left for the final battle, and so I had to save and restore a lot during that final battle. Despite that, it was a very good game with scary horror sequences.
About running the game:(Spoiler - click to show) I had feared that I would have to play around with emulator settings etc. to get the game working, but all I had to do was to download the windows version and double-click on an icon. Then the game was up and running. I can imagine that the mac-version is just as easy to run.
I played this game online at Eamon Remastered where you can either play with your own character or a demo character.
This RPG is quite original in the sense that you are cursed with the sword Hellsblade, so that you attack all beings on your path with the sword, whether they are friends or foes. First you need to find a way to control the blade and later get rid of it, so that the world will be a safe place once again.
The game is a classic Eamon adventure, so there will be lots of interesting treasures and weapons to pick up, which you can then sell or use in other Eamon adventures. The game is very much about combat and exploring, finding keys, secret rooms and tunnels but there are also a few real puzzles included. Hints are included in case you get stuck.
The writing is good and the game is well designed. I have played a lot of Eamon games lately and this is one of the best I have tried so far. I can certainly recommend this.
The story of this game is minimal:
You are under siege by the Guild of Bandits, who are looking for an artifact called the 'Runcible Cargo'. You must either locate it and deliver it to the bandits, or else find a means of defeating them.
This is the first time I have played an Eamon adventure so I was expecting a rather outdated parser. Though it is not Inform, the parser was a lot better than I expected. Yes, the game runs in a little DOS-window but except from that, the game mechanics work rather well. Guess-the-verb is not an issue since a list of all recognized commands pops up if you type a word the game doesn't understand. I had one parser issue though to begin with, which relates to the way Eamon works: (Spoiler - click to show)If objects or NPCs are inside a container, e.g. a sword inside a locker, you must REMOVE SWORD to get it. Alternatively you can ATTACK LOCKER and subsequently pick everything up with GET ALL. After learning that, I had no parser problems at all.
The game is an RPG with puzzles. Thus expect some random combat. However, to begin with I picked a predefined character called Floyd the Barber (included in Eamon Deluxe which you need to install to play the game), so the fights were never a problem. And you will find food around to restore you health. More over you may find some NPCs who will assist you in your battles. The puzzles are quite easy too, except for the final puzzle which is a little tricky but optional unless you want the ideal ending.
After completing the game, I tried to create my own character from scratch. This resulted in a much tougher challenge where you have to be much more strategic, so you better use those five save slots carefully if you attempt this. Still I managed to complete the game again, though I died several times before I succeeded. Thus the difficulty level is very much dependent on which character you bring into the game. I am glad I started out with a predefined character so I could learn the game mechanics before attempting with my own weaker character. Note that characters can be transferred between Eamon adventures and so it is possible to improve a character and gain better weapons by playing some of the easier games first. I am glad though, that the game could be completed with a new character, which shows that the game is well designed.
To summarize, this is a very enjoyable game, especially due to the atmospheric descriptions, so I can certainly recommend this.
Though I have never played The Lurking Horror, playing this unofficial sequel was really really fun. To my knowledge the concept is quite original: You have 9 moves to finish the game, before something bad happens. However, you need to play the game over and over to obtain the necessary knowledge needed to succeed.
The puzzles are great and are solved by casting spells. To begin with they are quite easy but later on they get a bit tricky. For my taste the difficulty level was just right.
The implementation seemed flawless and the atmosphere was fitting. I can't really say anything bad about this game, so I higly recommend this one.
This was my favorite 2017 Ifcomp game. I don't see how to make a meaningful review of this one, without touching on the hidden content, which is more than half the game. If you cannot find the hidden content, check out David Welbourn's excellent walkthrough.
The Wand is a very polished puzzle-based text adventure, where the player seeks out a challenge at Bartholloco's secluded castle. The player is not allowed to touch anything in the castle, except from the wand, he/she is given at the beginning of the game. Luckily the wand is magical and can be set to 1000 different color combinations. The wand has different abilities depending on the chosen color combination. Unfortunately you do not know which combinations are useful, but clues to this are placed around the castle.
The apparent challenge of the game has a very nice level of difficulty and can be completed in approximately 2 hours. However, (Spoiler - click to show)if you restart and approach the game with your knowledge from your first play-through, you may find a much deeper and more involved challenge.
It is during this deeper challenge you will come to realize how well thought out the magic system actually is. Also, the ending of this deeper challenge is much better than that of the first challenge.
I don't think a pure puzzle game comes much better than this.
The Spectre of Castle Coris is the sequel to the Axe of Kolt, and just as its predecessor it is a modern improvement of an old spectrum adventure. This time Alaric Blackmoon has to solve the mystery of a spectre, which terrorizes the town surrounding the castle Coris. The game can roughly be divided into two parts: First Alaric must gather whatever he needs in his quest outside the castle. Afterwards he must enter the castle and free the town of the evil spectre.
The game is rather big but contains a built-in map, which is well-structured and very convenient (except when playing online – download the game instead). There is a nice use of text colors, which gives life to the overall fine descriptions. The implementation is very good and rarely if ever is guess-the-verb an issue. Anyway a vocabulary command is implemented.
The puzzles range from easy to hard and the player must remember to examine and search everything as well as ask the right questions. Note that the game distinguishes between “ASK [person] ABOUT [topic]” and “ASK [person] FOR [object]”.
Overall, this is a highly enjoyable game, which just reaches the five-star mark.
The Axe of Kolt is what text adventures is all about. Set in a standard fantasy setting with wizards, dwarfs, witches etc., the game is huge but divided into four parts so that it never become unmanageable. Though the built-in map cannot be attributed to the author (it is a standard feature of ADRIFT games), it adds significantly to the playability of such a large game, which boasts a little more than 200 locations. (NB: The online game does not provide the same map functionality as the downloadable versions.)
The writing does the job, creating an exciting atmosphere. The systematic use of text colors adds to this. The game is tough though. Everything should be examined and searched. The puzzles range from easy to hard, and most puzzles are fair, though there were one or two puzzles, which were a bit farfetched near the end. Luckily the implementation is good and there is a VOCAB command for each part, inspiring the player when stuck with a list of relevant verbs. If everything fails the player can send an e-mail to the author (provided when typing help). All in all, this game is a very rewarding experience and reaches the five star rating.
For anyone who likes puzzle-heavy old-school text adventures, this is highly recommended.
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