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Not much at stake, April 11, 2021
Much like Lady Thalia and the Seraskier Sapphires, An Amical Bet is about a dashing lesbian thief committing crimes in a lavish setting, but unfortunately this one doesn’t rise to nearly the same heights. The premise bodes well – unwinding after a big score, the protagonist and her lover relax by seeing who can be the first to steal something shiny, something useful, and something unexpected while at a party in Rome. Unfortunately, the implementation doesn’t live up to the hook.
Partially this is because of the writing. There are a host of typos and strangely-written passages, including the title which I think is supposed to be “Amicable”, and some of these phrases are so tortured I can’t even tell what the mistake was – like the corridor that’s described as “fastuous” (that could be a typo for “fatuous”, but that still wouldn’t make any sense?) With that said, occasionally some humor gets through the tangled prose – this response to TAKE STATUE made me snort:
"'Yes and to do what exactly? My God, I really have to stop drinking wine.' you say, drinking wine." [all punctuation issues sic]
The major issue is that the scavenger hunt, such it is, doesn’t hold any interest. Unlike the locked-door puzzle in fellow Quest game A Strange Dream, it is possible to complete this one. But there aren’t actually any puzzles to solve – you just go from room to room looking for portable objects, and if you take something that satisfies one of the conditions, the game will tell you in bolded text that you’ve got one of the three necessary items. None of the objects are hidden or gated in any way – it’s just a matter of hoovering your way through the dozen-odd locations – and for the “unexpected” and “useful” objects, I have to confess I didn’t fully understand the logic behind their selection.
There is a small, fun twist at the ending, and the game definitely wouldn’t have been better if it took longer to get where it’s going. Still, An Amical Bet is a very small, very slight thing that serves to pass five minutes of time but not much else.