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Visit Skuga Lake - Masterpiece Edition

by Ryan Veeder profile

Part of Tales from Castle Balderstone
2023

Web Site

(based on 11 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

An unpaid intern learns to cast over forty spells as she skulks around a small town, looking for her boss.

"Visit Skuga Lake" originally appeared in Even Some More Tales from Castle Balderstone. This Masterpiece Edition includes alternate endings, production notes, a commentary track, a little extra sidequest, and an interview with author Leah Naidu.


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Totemally magic, August 26, 2023

I haven't played the Balderstone game from which Skuga Lake has been upgraded, so I can say that this definitely shines as a standalone piece. There is a nice vignette at the start of the new edition interviewing the fictional author Leah Naidu which whets the appetite by introducing a few of the main themes and characters in the game...

The protagonist Charybdis has travelled to Skuga Lake to track down her boss Kyth who has disappeared while researching a story for the travel magazine at which they both work. The reason that they both share such funky names is the game's main premise: this is an alternate modern world in which magic works and witches rule the roost. Charybdis explores the town tracking down clues about what's happened and what needs to be done next. In the meantime, she accesses a very elegantly implemented magic system which works through totems found around the town. By combining two elements together (Spoiler - click to show)(various eyestones in various amulets), Charybdis can unlock a great variety of powers which enable her to unlock areas, new items (and further powers) while smoothly pushing forward the plot towards a big finale.

I found this game a total pleasure to play. It's written with Ryan Veeder's trademark wit and attention to detail so each section unlocked delivers rewards in the prose. I'm usually a poor puzzle solver but I didn't really get stuck for any length of time. There are always things to be trying and plenty of alternative solutions too. Much of the magic feels very cool to use. Ironically, spending a few hours at spooky Skuga Lake does make for a perfect holiday - and it deserves the extra publicity this new edition should give it.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
One of the richest magic systems in IF games, packed into a compact map, December 23, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

This large and multi-faceted game has you start off trapped in a closet in a motel room--not an auspicious beginning for a game of great mystical power.

The idea here is that you are someone possessed of magical powers. This power can be exercised through the use of amulets representing different animals; however, the amulets are not enough. You also need gemstones to power them.

And that's where the game really opens up. There are a lot of amulets; there are a lot of gemstones. Each combination gives you different powers, and each power can be used in different places. This gives essentially cubic complexity to the game!

Which means you may want to experiment a lot and take notes. The game is kind, giving you a lot of leeway and plenty of optional paths.

I first played this as part of Castle Balderstone, and then played the newer version. While it was probably in the original, I didn't realize the first time that you can (spoilers for very end) (Spoiler - click to show)open portals to tons of different dimensions. I thought it was pretty cool, to be honest. Really loved this game.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A Joy to Play, September 30, 2023

I had a lot of fun playing this game! The magic system is well implemented (although I do recommend keeping track of which amulet does what with each gem - Ryan Veeder has a chart on his hints page, and there's a guide in the walkthrough as well) and it was really just a joy to explore the game and push the limits of the player's capabilities. The puzzles were clever and rewarded experimentation, which I prefer to clever and needing a very specific solution in order to solve. Cute spooky story, probably took me around two hours to complete, although I didn't quiteee get to do everything that was possible - accidentally started the last chapter before I was done exploring, not realizing that I wouldn't get to come back, which is probably on me.

The writing is phenomenal, I ran into no bugs or typos other than one instance of "place" being misspelled as "plae." great for a fall afternoon <3

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Visit Skuga Lake - Masterpiece Edition on IFDB

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Visit Skuga Lake - Masterpiece Edition appears in the following Recommended Lists:

2024 Alternative Top 25 (formerly 100) by Denk
(Created 03-Feb-2024) This is a snapshot of the 25 games on IFDB with the highest average star rating, though excluding games with less than 5 ratings. The purpose is to allow for games with few ratings so people can check out the less...

New walkthroughs for September 2023 by David Welbourn
On Friday, September 29, 2023, I published new walkthroughs for the games and stories listed below! Some of these were paid for by my wonderful patrons at Patreon. Please consider supporting me to make even more new walkthroughs for...

Polls

The following polls include votes for Visit Skuga Lake - Masterpiece Edition:

Outstanding Underappreciated Game of 2023 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 most underappreciated game of 2023. Voting is open to all IFDB members....

Outstanding Use of Interactivity in 2023 by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2023 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 an outstanding game of 2023 that felt truly interactive. Voting is open to...

Outstanding Fantasy Game of 2023 by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2023 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 fantasy game of 2023. Voting is open to all IFDB members. Suggested...

See all polls with votes for this game




This is version 3 of this page, edited by David Welbourn on 29 September 2023 at 3:14pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page