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About the Story
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...
39th Place - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)
Number of Reviews: 4
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The Mouse Who Woke Up For Christmas is a parser game written with the Quest design system. It starts off really cute: Youíre a mouse, and itís Christmas Eve. You have a few more things to do to get ready for Christmas, including finding a present for your young daughter (endearingly represented on the cover art). It turns out that all she wants is (Spoiler - click to show)to have her mother back. Mom went out to the garden months ago and never returned. Nobody knows where she is.
I had fun playing as a mouse. Actions that a human wouldnít think twice of performing arenít so easy for a mouse, some of which the author has turned into features of the game. For example, (Spoiler - click to show)you canít take the spade in the garden; itís too heavy. Also, you canít carry anything else if you pick up the cricket ball.
I do think the size aspect of the PC could have been exploited for a few more interesting puzzles, though.
My critiques of The Mouse Who Woke Up For Christmas are the same issues that so often bedevil us parser authors: a few underclued puzzles, like (Spoiler - click to show)wetting the rock to create a "whetstone" (it's a nice pun, but really hard to come up with on your own) and knocking out the weasel with the cricket ball; some guess-the-verb problems like (Spoiler - click to show)FILL BUCKET, when PUT WATER IN BUCKET and GET WATER don't work, LIGHT/BURN something isn't understood when you clearly need a fire for something, and THROW HOOK to get in the pet shop; as well as not enough feedback when you try something close to the solution, like (Spoiler - click to show)how the text says, "You canít use it that way" when you try to use the match on the lump of charcoal before pouring lighter fluid on it. It would clue the player that theyíre on the right track if the text response was something like, "You try, but the lump of charcoal wonít catch fire. Itís too dry."
My ten-year-old son played through the endgame with me. He really liked (Spoiler - click to show)the ninja outfit, as did I.
The story is sweet in a way thatís endearing rather than annoying (as opposed to certain childrenís television programs). The ending is (Spoiler - click to show)predictable but still moving. Meeting Santa Claus and having his elves help save the day was a nice touch as well, storywise.
Overall, a cute Christmas-themed game.
This was the only IFComp 2018 game I had never finished. I finally finished it today. There was no walkthrough at the time of the comp, and the one in there now doesn't work for the last area.
But I finished it today, and that last area wasn't too bad!
The reason I had so much trouble is because Quest has synonym trouble, and the author didn't implement very many synonyms. Quest also has context-sensitive commands, which is great except when it makes commands seem wrong when you're just using them out of order. So for instance, "USE MATCH ON LUMP" gives an error unless you've done everything else completely right.
Other issues are unguessable puzzles, leaps of intuition, etc.
But the characters are fun, and it's all very imaginative. I remember Steph Cherrywell made the switch from Quest to Inform and ended up winning IFComp. I think almost all the issues here are with the Quest engine, and that the author has great ideas that may possibly be expressed in a different format.
In this game, we get to play as Gerald Mouse, who has appeared in a few of Jones's previous games.
This short work is a lot like the author's other Christmas games (trading items we acquire for items on our list), except this game has a bit of adventure at the end.
As another reviewer has noted, there are a few typographical errors, but not so many that it detracted from the fun.