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9 people found the following review helpful:
Much Potential in need of Polish, October 29, 2010
First of all, to be fair, I played the competition entry at Jay is games .com, and it appears there is a version 4, which MAY have fixed some of the issues with this game.
First of all, I had some issues taking objects (which I assume was bugs, but magic is involved, so who knows). For example, If i try putting something (Which i'm carrying) into something (like the chest), it tells me I need to be holding the object before it put it into something else. (But I am!) I was also able to drop carried objects, but not pick them back up (because they were too large?).
Another frustration was spells. I went some time before I realized I even HAD any (the about section references this- yes, you're a wizard, but it implies throughout the game that wizard's are more like potion-making alchemists than spellcasters).
Next there's the directions. It's a kind of one-room game, with a central area, and a north, west, and east side of the room. It would have been nice if going N from any room took you to the north end. But if you're in the west area, North gives an error about the magical barrier around you, which NE does not.
Frustrated about the chest, I tried putting all in the chest. The ALL list apparently includes everythign i can interact with, including myself, light, shadows, etc. These items don't show up under GET ALL.
Then there's how some verbs are programmed. [spoiler] I tried griniding the cork with the pestle, where it tells me that the cork is too strong to grind. Likewise when you try to smash a wine bottle with a hammer. The walkthrough tells me I'm supposed to both hit and grind rocks with the hammer and the pestle, which was bothersome. Why would I hit rocks if a glass wine bottle was too hard for me to break with a hammer?[/spoiler]
Despite all this, the writing was a saving grace for this. I am a fan of the fantasy genre, and I like the premise, very zorkian style humor: the other wizards will yank your spellcasting license if you don't make some new wizardry advances, and they're timing you to make sure you do it. I think the timer could have gone without (we won't be able to beat the game without making the potion).
I'm giving this 3 stars. The writing is 5 star material, as far as I'm concerned. The implementation was probably 1 star, but I'm granting the author the benefit of the doubt that s/he went back and fixed many of these issues for version 4.