Download



Story file
For all systems. To play, you'll need a Z-Machine Interpreter with Blorb support - visit Brass Lantern for download links.
Play online
Play this game in your Web browser.
Walkthrough and map
by David Welbourn

Have you played this game?

You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.

Playlists and Wishlists

RSS Feeds

New member reviews
Updates to downloadable files
All updates to this page

The Impossible Bottle

by Linus Ňkesson profile

2020

(based on 42 ratings)
11 member reviews

About the Story

Housework is only as dull as your imagination. Join Emma, six years old, on a playful adventure of peculiar proportions.

Merciful puzzlefest. Parser or point-and-click, as you please. Web (including mobile) or Z-machine.


Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2020
Current Version: 1
License: Freeware
Development System: Dialog
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
IFID: 3825366A-0565-4D7D-A127-8FC261F2962F
TUID: 41cr9x95gu6tlfeu

Awards

1st Place (tie) - 26th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2020)

Tags

- View the most common tags (What's a tag?)

(Log in to add your own tags)

Member Reviews

5 star:
(24)
4 star:
(17)
3 star:
(1)
2 star:
(0)
1 star:
(0)
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 11
Write a review


Most Helpful Member Reviews


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Cute, clever, and impressively polished, June 7, 2021
by Wynter (UK)

I came to this game with high expectations, having previously played Tethered by the same author. The Impossible Bottle is diametrically different in atmosphere and setting - the only thing they have in common is that, in both games, objects aren't what they seem to be at first glance - but this is another excellent game by Linus Ňkesson.

This game is based on one single, very strong and very thoughtfully worked-out idea: (Spoiler - click to show)a dollhouse which allows you to change the size and nature of items inside the actual house, and vice versa. This reminded me somewhat of a similar mechanic in (Spoiler - click to show)Emily Short's Metamorphoses, except in that game the solutions felt a bit more arbitrary and random, perhaps due to the more mystical atmosphere, whereas in The Impossible Bottle they were more logical and easier to figure out.

After having struggled through a couple of fiendish (but deeply, deeply enjoyable) games by Graham Nelson (both of which, if I'm not mistaken, are referenced in this game: try chatting to Nolan at different points in your progress), I appreciated the 'merciful' rating of this one, not to mention the hint system, which gave out tips without giving too much too quickly.

The child-centred view of the world ("this room is the best, because it's yours") was sweet and funny, and once I had figured out how to make the game 'work' it was great fun to (Spoiler - click to show)move different objects and change them from one thing to another. And there is a cuddly capybara in it.


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Simply magical, December 8, 2020
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2020

(I beta tested this game)

As modern video games get more and more complex, and the hardware gets more and more powerful, AAA games are capable of overwhelming feats Ė I gasped in wonder the first time I saw the crowded streets of Assassinís Creed Unityís revolutionary Paris, for example, and thatís more than five years old! But for whatever reason, when I run through the times when a game has just bowled me over with amazement, a disproportionate number are things from IF, like the power-fantasy of Hadean Lands, where I cackled with glee at the way I could type ďWĒ and see the game visibly pause before spitting out the results of the twelve different sub-puzzles Iíd automatically solved with that single key press. Perhaps itís that the flexibility of text means itís always capable of surprising you, whereas once you understand the systems at play in something like an Assassinís Creed game, youíve pretty much got the whole thing figured out. Or maybe thereís something to the old saw about imagination, and picturing what the text is describing, being more evocative than just seeing.

Anyway, add the Impossible Bottle to the list. Iíve seen a number of reviews that bounced out of this one early, before getting to what makes the game so amazing, so while Iíll be putting the rest of this under a spoiler block to preserve the surprise, I do want to clearly say for those who havenít played yet that there is something amazing here and itís not just a game about a six-year old picking up a mess, so stick with it through those first ten minutes.

Okay, with that out of the way, letís get spoilery:(Spoiler - click to show) when I first realized what the gimmick here was, it made me smile Ė the idea of a magic dollhouse that lets you change whatís happening in the real house is a clever one, and the initial puzzle where you figure that out leads to a lovely aha moment that made me feel smart. But oh man I had no idea how deep the rabbit hole goes. You can move things around, sure, makes sense. Putting a small thing in the dollhouse turns it into a normal-sized, real thing in the real house, OK. Putting a big thing into the dollhouse to shrink it, now weíre starting to get more complicated. Then add on that you can sometimes blow things up twice, or shrink them twice, and that changing their size might make them come to life or otherwise slightly shift? It stops feeling like a gimmick and starts feeling like magic, especially once your dad makes a fateful decision, and you figure out how to get into the titular bottleÖ

The dollhouse opens up a huge possibility space, but TIB does a masterful job of helping you stay on top of what youíre doing. Thereís a handy GOALS command that lists what you could be working on at any given time, and a progressive hint system to keep you on track. More than these external crutches, the game also provides solid direction via suggested verbs and cueing from other characters, and while the magic of the dollhouse is very versatile, you generally have a good understanding of what kinds of things you can accomplish so youíre rarely left floundering. And itís all implemented incredibly smoothly, so that itís easy to do anything you can think of. Iíve only played a few Dialog games, but it really shows its strength and versatility here Ė I mostly played by typing in commands, but a few times when I ran into disambiguation issues (primarily when I was trying to mess around stacking furniture to see if I could break the game), the ability to click links made it incredibly robust to mischief and player screwing-around.

While the puzzles, and the size-changing mechanics, are the real stars of the show, thereís plenty to like about the narrative side of things too. The other members of your family donít rise much above stereotypes, but theyíre lovingly drawn and appealing nonetheless. TIB is another game that references the pandemic, but instead of using it as a tool of horror or isolation, instead it focuses on the way people and families can come together and support each other through a tough time, which is always a lovely message but is especially so right now.

Is TIB a perfect game? No, probably not Ė the solution to the dinosaur puzzle feels a little too unintuitive to me, for one Ė but it is a delightful one (you can get all the way through to the end and never realize that you can play the-floor-is-lava!), and, as I keep repeating, really just magic.


This was my favorite game of the 2020 Comp.


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Amazing concept with near perfect execution, October 23, 2020
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)

What initially appears to be a charming slice-of-life about a six year-old girl helping her dad get ready for a dinner party turns into a old-school puzzlefest with an extraordinary mechanic that I'm embarrassed to admit I needed the in-game hints to even discover. For those that don't mind knowing ahead of time, the mechanic is (Spoiler - click to show) that your bedroom has a dollhouse which is a replica of the actual house, and putting items in and taking them out of their respective rooms changes their relative size in reality. For example (not in the game), if you were to put a toy sword in the dollhouse's kitchen, and then go to the actual kitchen, you'd find a regular sized sword.

The coding for this puzzlefest is damn impressive, as there are so many things you can do that aren't required that the game allows you to do, and even some potential alternate solutions to puzzles are at least acknowledged even if unsuccessful.

I badly wanted to give this five stars, but the more I played the game the more I found myself exhausted. Some of the puzzles enhance the charm of this universe and the way your family reacts (or doesn't react) to some of things you do is great. I actually adore the whole sequence with (Spoiler - click to show) the stegosaurus and the way Dad reacts to it. But there are also several puzzles that seem to be there simply for puzzle's sake, (for example the (Spoiler - click to show)rope/anchor puzzle inside the impossible bottle), and I found myself going to the hints quite often just to get a jumpstart on what to do next. There are also so many items you can carry or manipulate and a lot of them are irrelevant to progressing in the game, so I found myself easily getting overwhelmed and resorting to the hints for that reason as well. For their own sake, the progressive hints were really well done and I rarely needed the final hint to progress; I mainly just needed a nudge on where to focus my efforts.

A must play for puzzle enthusiasts and I would be surprised if The Impossible Bottle doesn't win an XYZZY award or three.


See All 11 Member Reviews

If you enjoyed The Impossible Bottle...

Related Games

People who like The Impossible Bottle also gave high ratings to these games:

Toadstools, by Bitter Karella
Average member rating: (4 ratings)
Greetings, fellow mushroom enthusiast! If you're reading these words, it's because you too have decided to join the exciting and rewarding world of mushroom hunting. The Pamogo Forest is well known throughout the mycology world as the...

Ishmael, by Jordan Magnuson
Average member rating: (6 ratings)
A short game about displacement.

Fingertips: I Hear the Wind Blow, by Jacqueline A. Lott
Average member rating: (17 ratings)

Suggest a game

Recommended Lists

The Impossible Bottle appears in the following Recommended Lists:

My new walkthroughs for June 2021 by David Welbourn
On Thursday June 24, 2021, 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 works of...

mara's swag recommended list by meadowmower
the hottest games I've played. in progress (I will make changes). all these games are special to me in one way or another. have fun besties :^)

Favourite Games by Isaac Buckley

See all lists mentioning this game

Polls

The following polls include votes for The Impossible Bottle:

For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Best Individual Puzzle of 2020 by Sobol
This is for suggesting games released in 2020 which you think might be worth considering for Best Individual PUzzle in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. This is not an official list. The point of poll is partly to...

Games featuring a central evolving puzzle mechanism by Lance Campbell
Looking for any games that feature a core puzzle mechanism that the player masters and expands upon throughout the game. The puzzle mechanism should start out simple, and evolve and expand in an organic way, supporting the game and story...

Best parser games since 2017 by Rovarsson
When browsing for good recent games, I'm overwhelmed by the amount of Twine and Choice games. Add to that a great number of games with five stars and only one rating, many of which are also, yes, Twine and Choice games, it gets difficult...

See all polls with votes for this game

Links




This is version 8 of this page, edited by David Welbourn on 24 June 2021 at 4:02pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item