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About the Story
Your name is Susan. You are 14 years old and you have ambitions of becoming a witch. You have just completed two years of study at the Spooksville Academy of Witchcraft. You reckon you know all the theory and now it's time to put that theory into practice.
Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 31, 2019
Current Version: 1.1.0
Development System: Adventuron
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
1st Place - Adventuron Halloween Jam 2019
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Number of Reviews: 2
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The Witch's Apprentice is a short, easy and humorous bite-sized little parser game.
(Caution: "bite-sized" should not lure you into tasting any of the substances mentioned. Doing so may result in bodily deformities, demonic possession, boiling of bodily fluids, spontaneous combustion, excrutiatingly painful bowel movements, burnt-out eyeballs, death and /or hiccups.) (EDIT: This caution is directed at the player as a “do not try this at home”-warning. The PC can try eating or drinkind anything without ill effects. The game is very kid-friendly.)
As the new apprentice, the boss witch sends you out to get groceries. Ahem, ingredients for her witch's brew. There's a handy list of things you should gather in and around the house.
Although the map is fairly small, there is a nice variety of locations. The house itself is mostly surprisingly homey, albeit rather empty and with a scary surprise here and there. In contrast, the outdoors have a scary-yet-endearing horror B-movie feel to them.
Most of the obstacles are simple search-and-fetch tasks, with a few slightly more complicated two-or-three step puzzles.
The most challenging (and fun) part of The Witch's Apprentice is the amount of funny and distracting red herrings sprinkled all over the map. They all fit well with the puzzles, so they feel like they could be part of a solution. It was hilarious at times to experience how determined a seasoned adventurer's mind is to come up with the most complicated and convoluted answers to simple problems.
A charming short and easy puzzler.
I played Santa's Trainee Elf recently before playing WA, so my cynical first reaction was "Wait! Garry's already done this before, but for a different holiday." But of course WA was released in 2019, STE in 2020. And, well, it's a very good thing they're similar. Both have neat graphics and are really sensible and entertaining fetch quests that fit the season. If you forced me to decide, I'd say STE is a bit richer and handles the whole "find stuff to make something special for kids" a bit better. But I liked them both a lot.
In WA, you are an apprentice who must find eight ingredients for the witch, for a potion to keep kids safe this Halloween. Some require more creativity than others. One even requires you to remove a cat's bell collar so they can (Spoiler - click to show)catch a rat. It's well-timed and paced, too, with the run-up to entering the Witch's mansion being just a bit spooky. There's no response when you knock, and the author deserves full credit for the joke/minor puzzle therein.
The mansion has a lot of off-limit areas that help it feel big without the game being overwhelming, and pretty much every sort of spooky location is covered. It's a three-story affair with a backyard, too. The ingredients aren't anything too novel. They don't need to be, though I laughed at needing rotten fruit. But there are amusing explanations for alternate names for mustard seed and buttercups. WA has a lot of small subversions of general witch tropes, and I particularly enjoyed poking at the scenery you couldn't use yet, or didn't know how to, as if to reinforce that you're an apprentice without belaboring the point.
WA just feels like the sort of game Adventuron was made for. You couldn't quite write it in Inform, and the parser bits feel like they'd lose something in Twine. I enjoy Garry's Inform games, but his writing seems to have a bit more character in Adventuron. There seems to be some nice synergy with the graphics.
Which leaves just one question. When's that Adventuron Valentine's Day jam coming? I'd love to see a trilogy from the author, if they had the inspiration.
(edited 1/29/23 5 PM, originally posted 1/28/23 5 PM)
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