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Custard & Mustard's Big Adventure

by Christopher Merriner profile

Humor
2022

Web Site

(based on 10 ratings)
5 reviews

About the Story

Ordinary dogs? We're not ordinary dogs! We're Custard and Mustard - and we're looking for adventure!

It's fête day in Little Pottlington!

The sun is shining, the beer is flowing, and the streets are abuzz with the excitement of it all. Down at Hockbarrow Gardens, ferrets are being raced, homemade chutneys purchased and gigantic marrows judged - while in the local museum, priceless gold and silver Romano-British artefacts are being readied for display in Britain's least secure exhibition space.

But clouds are gathering on this most sunny of summer days, as a gang of crooks plan the most audacious robbery since the great marzipan heist of '85...

Join Custard & Mustard, the intrepid doggy duo, as they roam the streets of this sleepy town in search of adventure - and, perhaps, find more than they bargained for!


Game Details


Awards

Entrant, Main Festival - Spring Thing 2022

Winner, Most Sequel-Worthy Game of 2022 - Author's Choice - The 2022 IFDB Awards

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Number of Reviews: 5
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Off the Leash, March 31, 2024
by J. J. Guest (London, England)

This is one of the best Adventuron games I've played, from the author of last year's The Faeries of Haelstowne, which I also enjoyed. The first thing that struck me was the writing, which has the charming, well-mannered humour of British children's classics such as the Paddington Bear and Professor Branestawm books. It feels like it belongs to an earlier, simpler era, without the snark and endless pop culture references that characterise a lot of modern comedy. I'm not sure if the game was written with children in mind, but it's one I wouldn't hesitate to play with my young nephews, and I'm sure they'd enjoy it. That said, I don't think they'd solve it alone.

The game has a large map, and the central conceit is that you're playing two characters you can switch between. The two dogs have slightly different abilities and some tasks can only be completed by both dogs acting together. I was reminded a little of the old ZX Spectrum arcade adventure Head Over Heels. The pair get themselves into lots of amusing situations, but much of the comedy comes from the dog's-eye view of humans going about their daily lives. It is wry and very well-observed.

There are a lot of puzzles, some of which are very clever, such as (Spoiler - click to show)untangling Custard from the lamp post. Others are rather less than intuitive, and I often found myself turning to the excellent hint system. It's not always obvious what you're supposed to be doing, and I sometimes had to use the hints to give me a push in the right direction. Often the thing I was supposed to be doing was something I'd never have thought of, since it had no obvious connection to the main objective. In more than one way, the game reminded me of Untitled Goose Game, which has a checklist of things the goose (or geese) can try, and I came to rely on the hint system in much the same way, using it to steer me through the game. I don't think I'd have solved it otherwise. Once I'd accepted the necessity of using the hints, it didn't spoil my enjoyment a bit.

Implementation is very smooth and I encountered very few problems with my playthrough. It felt as though the author had provided plenty of synonyms and that the game had been thoroughly beta-tested. The Adventuron style of clearing the screen every time you move to a new room was a bit of a nuisance, because I couldn't scroll back and refer to past events, but it never became a major issue. If I had one, minor gripe with the game as a whole, it would be that (Spoiler - click to show)the river is too wide, crossing it became a bit tedious especially since I had to make several trips.

Despite these criticisms, Custard & Mustard's Big Adventure is beautifully written, very funny and a lot of fun to play. The highest compliment I can pay this game is that I didn't want to stop playing. I kept coming back to it even when I had much more urgent things to do. Highly recommended.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
An exuberant and amusing dog-team-up Adventuron game, April 13, 2022
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours

This game reminds me of what you'd get if you mixed the 'buddies' movies (like Space Buddies) with Secret Life of Pets and Sherlock Holmes but both characters are Watson.

You are a dog on a leash. You like you're owner, but don't want to be on a leash. You escape, and eventually find another dog.

Then the game opens up into a huge map, with I swear 30+ locations. Many farcical situations arise, including things like kick-flips, ollies, pretending to be a dog mannequin, wearing a dog bow-tie, and an enormous chunk at the end where you (Spoiler - click to show)stop a burglary of a museum.

It's a very long Adventuron game, one of the most complex I've seen. It's charming and funny.

My biggest sticking point was just not knowing what to do. Different IF communities have different conventions on what's considered 'fair play'. Most games I spend a lot of time around with (like old IFComp games) tend to only use standard verbs or verbs directly mentioned in the text. In this game, I had to fiddle around for a while, especially with an embarrassingly long 20 minute session I had trying to solve the first puzzle. I didn't want to resort to hints, but after that, I used them copiously.

I especially used hints later on because the game often sets up and plays out hilariously funny scenes but with little motivation. As a hypothetical example (not in the game), it'd be like hearing an alien is attacking the city, and then you see a line of dominos leading into an alleyway. Pushing the dominoes would tumble them down, and then you'd discover there's a giant cannon in the alleyway which the dominos trigger, shooting and defeating the alien. This is an absurd example not in the game, but illustrates the kind of logic: it makes sense in hindsight, but otherwise it's kind of hard to guess that you need to do it.

This is a common issue with humor games, where you have to balance player participation with setting up good punchlines. For my part, I enjoyed the humor and am willing to sacrifice a little agency for it.

I did experience one difficult bug, near the end. When I had succeeded in the biggest task of the game, (Spoiler - click to show)foiling the robbery, I dragged the robber out of the water and tried to lead the police to the museum. I got lost though and accidentally re-triggered the water scene in an infinite loop. I got out of the infinite loop by reloading my browser window, which took me back to my previous turn, and going a different direction.

Overall, a fun romp, one of the most enjoyable long Adventuron games, and highly recommended.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Controlling two PCs (dogs), January 27, 2023
by Denk
Related reviews: Adventuron

This is the sort of game that Spring Thing was originally intended for: A large puzzly parser game that takes a lot more than 2 hours to complete (unless you follow the walkthrough from start to end).

In this Adventuron game you control two dogs in their search for adventure. The genre is comedy and it is well written with lots of good puzzles. Except for the beginning you can change between the two dogs whenever you want. The story is good, the puzzles are good, the writing is good and the implementation is good in most cases. The game contains adaptive hints and a walkthrough. I only have minor things to criticise and overall I enjoyed it a lot.

However, this is a difficult game, at least some of the puzzles are difficult but also fair. Difficulty is a very subjective thing but I liked the challenge.

Parser:
The parser is mostly a two word parser, or at least, often no more than two words are required. The game tells you upfront that you don't need to TALK TO anybody, just BARK and the game will take care of the rest. Stuff like that. The author has made more than two words required in a few logical places. However, as Adventuron started out as a verb noun parser (at least most Adventuron games were written like that) it seems that the parser can be a little misleading once in a while when more words are required. For instance, the game might tell you that something is not a container but if you put the right object on it, it might work anyway. But mostly a very helpful parser. I only encountered one serious guess-the-verb situation which isn't much in a long game like this.

Atmosphere:
The writing is very good and suits the game very well. The story also makes good sense. The writing is usually funny without being "too much".

Cruelty rating: Polite
I don't think this game can become unwinnable.

Puzzles:
There were a lot of good, meaningful puzzles. Again, this is a long game with lots of puzzles so I could give a few of them a bit of constructive criticism but overall, pretty good. However, some of them are difficult which may not be everyone's cup of tea.

Overall:
A very good game, quite polished with very few rough edges which may be addressed in a post-comp version(?). As it is, it is still worth playing.

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Custard & Mustard's Big Adventure on IFDB

Polls

The following polls include votes for Custard & Mustard's Big Adventure:

Outstanding Adventuron Game of 2022 - Author's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best Adventuron game of 2022. Voting is anonymous and open only to IFDB...

Multiple point-of-view characters by Joan
Interested in games where you swap between different characters' heads (whether at will or at specific points in the story), not games where a single main character possesses different bodies or games that play with different...

Outstanding Humor Game of 2022 - Author's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best humor game of 2022. Voting is anonymous and open only to IFDB members...

See all polls with votes for this game




This is version 9 of this page, edited by Denk on 3 February 2023 at 1:50am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page