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Library Quest

by starflame149

2022

Web Site

(based on 2 ratings)
1 review

About the Story

Help a young wizard on his quest, and solve puzzles in this text adventure game suited for beginners.


Game Details

First Publication Date: May 2, 2022
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: Adventuron
IFID: Unknown
TUID: 6i8cu2eq57id35fy

Awards

13th Place - Text Adventure Literacy Jam - 2022

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Cute graphics, but be exact with nouns, May 15, 2022
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)
Related reviews: TALP 2022

The cheery graphics in Library Quest quickly help reassure you nobody is going to be shushing you as you move between locations, or telling you to finally sit down and stop adventuring, or whatever. There's no deep research as you look to repair your mother's favorite vase, but there is exploration and discovery. So it's pretty low-key, and the atmosphere is favorable for a TALP game.

There are tangles, and I'd like to get them out of the way so you know what you can enjoy. Stuff like having the player DROP VASE to find a new and important item once you start looking on the ground is generally effective, and it wasn't until I finished the tutorial that I realized it was more on rails than I expected. Which was okay. Things don't have to be perfectly realistic, but sometimes the tutorial has you do stuff you don't use again, as when things taught to the player are only used once (GIVE ITEM, for instance--this is important for text adventures in general, but it distracted me a bit.) Other times, it works a lot better. You learn spells from scrolls, and the tutorial offers shortcuts by saying CAST and then a number. So that works okay, though there's some fiddling to X SCROLL, which gives a disambiguation question, then GET SCROLL, which gives another.

I'm being a bit fussy here, but this sort of thing slows things down and makes the tutorial feel a bit remedial and may also give a player the experience that all parser games force you to fight the parser. It seems fixable, though, as I think Adventuron has "does the player mean"-style coding syntax. And it's hardly fatal. But it's there.

So you go through the library, generally using one scroll to find the next, sometimes asking the librarian at the front about things. I got stuck there as I didn't fully spell out an item I needed. I managed to ask about (Spoiler - click to show)STOREROOM, STOREROOM DOOR, DOOR and KEY, without asking for the right thing. One hint also seemed to be misplaced--there's a plant you need to get by to read something on the desk, but the clue as to what verb to use is in a note on the desk. Then later I assumed I had another action was implicit. So the game feels a bit pedantic with what you need to do, even for a tutorial jam.

It's still got its share of fun, though. Once I was done, I was left wishing there was more of it. The spellcasting mechanic is well done, and the puzzle in the restricted area was foreshadowed nicely. Once things clicked, they clicked. And while I noticed occasional bugs (blank responses to retrying things that pushed the game forward) and also one scroll that kept reappearing if you searched the bookshelf twice, the world was well-built enough that the author can and probably will fix that sort of thing quickly, rendering parts of this review obsolete. (I never did figure (Spoiler - click to show)what the bucket or the water spell was for, either.)

But this is one of those games where I found a lot of quibbles because I was glad to pay attention. I could definitely do with an expanded version featuring more of an emphasis on exploring a logically laid-out library (e.g. rooms/branches for different subjects or combining spells) and less on fiddling with the parser.





This is version 1 of this page, edited by nf on 2 May 2022 at 11:21pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item