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Polished in its own way, January 28, 2014
Candy Quest 3 is a text-based RPG, reminiscent of the bizarrely addictive Candy Box but, in this case, implemented in rainbow-colored Twine.
You belong to a world where combat and magic-like powers are accomplished using candy. Monsters drop rock candy as loot. NPCs require lollipops to do you certain favors.
Descriptions are simple and spare, so as not to get in the way of the numbers involved in combat. The mechanics replicate a lot of standard RPG features, but with a very deft touch.
Take combat: each time you go up against a monster you can choose to attack or to consume some of your candy in order to strengthen your armor or attack abilities. There's no randomness at work here, and even so, it's possible to undo an unsatisfactory move by using the browser back button. Winning combat is typically about figuring out a good way to stack the multiplicative properties of your candies: some candies double the effect of the next candy you eat, for instance, or double an existing stat rather than simply adding a number to it. While you never level up, you do find more and more types of candy that can contribute to your stats, creating absurdly heightened powers.
There's a tiny bit of object-collection grind, but really only a taster amount: enough to make the process of collection interesting, not enough to make the player really sick of trooping back to the village store.
There are one or two other fun surprises, including a puzzle or two. Taken together, it's an amusing and extremely well-balanced piece -- unsurprisingly, considering the respect Brough commands for the ingenuity of his other indie games.
The only part that confused me came at the very end. (Spoiler - click to show)I'd reached 99% doom averted when I encountered a state where my only option was to "wake up", accompanied by a broken image link. Clicking "wake up" brought me back to the same state over and over. I suppose I could see this as an end (of sorts) to the game, but the fact that the image link was broken made me wonder whether it wasn't a bug instead.
This is a good example piece for people who are interested in Twine games that push the traditional boundaries of Twine, and also for those who are interested in IF combat options that go beyond randomness and UNDO-prevention.
Besides, it's just fun -- if in a very different style from a classic text adventure.