(This is an edited version of a review I originally blogged during the 2014 IFComp.)
Sigmund's Quest is the visually colourful point-and-click introduction to an incomplete CYOA style adventure based on a tale from Norse mythology. It runs in a web browser, and its deliberately magnified, pixelated colour graphics fill the screen. Unfortunately this is way too short (I reached the end in about five minutes) to sell or indicate much about the game-to-be except that it will have some charming graphics.
The blurb mentions werewolves and incest; none of either were in evidence in my playthrough. The tip of the story didn't hook me, as the content demonstrated up until the endpoint was too generic a tale of medieval royalty. The prose is simple and a bit workmanlike, with an earnestness which does little to riff off the playfulness that the graphics suggest as an aesthetic possibility.
The author cites the inspiration of King's Quest. This is writ large in the visuals, but the aggressive attitude of the King's Quest games (which I really, really don't miss - both the games and the attitude) is not. Yet I feel there needs to be some kind of attitude here to something. That's what's missing.
Sigmund's Quest competed in IFComp 2014. There was no rule against entering incomplete works, but historically they've faired poorly. The context is 99% of the reason why. If I'm given scores of games to play, why would I want to play one which isn't finished? Or in this case, barely begun? In IFComp, receptivity to a demo can plummet at the moment the player realises it's a demo.
To put an Introcomp spin on what I experienced of Sigmund's Quest, I wouldn't be interested in playing the rest of it if it were to continue in the fashion already demonstrated, and thatís primarily because I'm not trusting the prose or writing to become interesting if they continue in the fashion already demonstrated. Such a perception all comes down to the smallness of the sample space presented by this intro, one way or another.
Bug-ridden, incomplete, and unintentionally very funny.
The opening line is: "This text based game puts you inside a modern American with the intent to steal a very desirable item..." Presumably a kidney.
Room descriptions are definitely from the couldn't-be-bothered school: "There is a single window here but nothing else, really. Some grass I guess."
And for a game which is about breaking into a house to steal something valuable, the burglar protagonist has set some pretty low bars. My favourite response came when I entered GET TOWEL while scoping out the house's swimming pool:
"You pick up the towel. Nice."
If I'm this admiring of my completely unimpeded theft of a used towel from a suburban back yard at 12:34 AM, and apparently also of the towel itself, I don't think I really need to be heisting jewels to satisfy my will to power. Some much simpler and infinitely less dangerous activity is in order for me!
The Library is too elementary and underdeveloped to be able to interest anyone looking for a complete game to play. It's clear that the author is in the very early learning stages of how to program these games and is still grappling with the basics. The PC is stuck in a library for reasons which aren't clear, leaving the player to try to fiddle with all of the available objects in a handful of rooms. Some objects are gettable or have descriptions, but too many don't. Nearly all of them have the wrong indefinite articles, and the coding omissions are in significant areas. EG You can pick up A Christmas Carol but you can't READ it.
Playing this game online, I did notice that Quest's habit of making any and all interactive objects clickable can prove to be a distraction in a game when most of them are really just unimportant scenery. When I see the glowing blue links, I tend to compulsively check each object, but I realised I should have been relying more on my adventure game instincts and not investigating every chair, table and lounge (of which there are plenty in this game). I suppose this is a mental shift you may need to make when Questing.
I can't verify how large The Library is because I was unable to interact in any way with the code reader securing the door which blocked further progress, but many aspects of it are obviously not up to standards that will satisfy strange players. I wish the author the best in her progress; my one star rating for this game reflects that I can't recommend it to anyone as is. Apart from the wealth of technical problems, players need a motivation to play. The mystery of the situation should be played up. Without that element present in the writing, the player is really just randomly searching a bunch of samey furniture for no apparent reason, which is boring.
Based on the title of this game and its synopsis, I was expecting to play a badass jungle cat in an adventure of comedic nature. It turns out that the PC is actually a rap music braggart named Tiger. This was disappointing, at least in light of my expectations, and I don't think they were insane expectations because it feels kind of clumsy to both suggest that a character called Tiger is also a 'tiger' (metaphorically speaking) and then to dwell on this point in the title of the game.
Anyway, having shifted my existential gearstick from 'great cat' to 'rapper', I got a smile or two out of this game which sees you rising as Tiger after a night of rap star partying. Tiger is a dim, spoiled fool with a Titanic sized ego, and the game was clearly going to be at his expense. I say 'going to be' because it turns out that this is just a one room demo, but it must be said that it definitely feels like the start of an actual game rather than just a mechanical test. Various story points are set up, like the fact that you have a piece of music overdue for delivery and that various family members and girlfriends are angry with you. There are a bunch of stats ready to go, too, like 'Booze Level' and 'Oontz Completion'. But the first room is already underimplemented and there is no second room or continuation. So probably the only reason to try this is if you suspect that you might like the material enough to go and browbeat the author into expanding it. I wasn't as motivated as that.