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assembly.zip *
Contains assembly-r231022/index.html
End-of-IFComp version. ZIP contains browser-playable version (with some custom styling, recommended) and .gblorb
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Assembly.zip *
Contains Assembly/Release/index.html
As originally submitted to IFComp. ZIP contains browser-playable version (with some custom styling, recommended) and .gblorb
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Walkthrough and map
by David Welbourn
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by Ben Kirwin

Fantasy , slice of life

(based on 16 ratings)
8 reviews

About the Story

Today has been an extraordinarily long day. You picked up the keys to your new apartment in the morning, you went shopping for furniture in the afternoon, and you've spent the evening putting it together.

And you're almost finished -- there's one box left.

ASSEMBLY is a story of magic and adventure. Can you assemble a small table? Can you save the world from the vengeance of ancient gods?

Content warning: supernatural themes and mild peril

Game Details


9th Place - 29th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2023)


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Number of Reviews: 8
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Follow the manual, November 30, 2023
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)

There’s an old chestnut in adventure games: the recipe. You’ve got to make a magic potion, and you have a recipe, and now you have to first collect the ingredients and then follow the steps of the recipe exactly… and you’ll get the potion. I’m pretty sure King’s Quest has that kind of stuff. Or maybe it’s a real recipe that you’re trying to make, as in Savoir-Faire. It’s not very engaging – usually the real gameplay is getting the ingredients, or getting things ready, and then actually following the recipe is more a little task you need to get out of the way before you get the reward. You don’t want too many of such tasks in your game. It bogs things down.

So it’s bold to build a game that is all about following instructions! Assembly is such a game, although its not recipes we’re following, but IKEA instruction manuals. It’s like having little walkthroughs in the game, telling you how to construct, and also deconstruct, many of the objects you meet. Our protagonist is good at following such rules. Indeed, they’re incredibly bad at not following rules, being unable to unscrew a light bulb without an instruction manual showing them how to do it.

This could have been very boring, but Assembly keeps the instructions short, gives us frequent rewards for successful assembly and disassembly, and, especially, gives us a series of nice puzzles around these mechanics. This is no doubt the only game where finding an IKEA instruction manual feels good – although, come to think of it, All the Troubles Come My Way has this too, so scrap that. The puzzles are good, starting with some simple ones, moving on to slightly more difficult (Spoiler - click to show)(such as the lamp puzzle), and ending with one that is both simple and over-the-top and yet completely logical, applying IKEA logic to IKEA itself, giving us the comic reward we deserved.

Well, I guess it ends with one that went the least smoothly for me, (Spoiler - click to show)because I didn’t realise there was a flatpack box in my location, and it felt a little bit like a regression after the great scene with the collapsing stacks… but that’s a nitpick. This game is fun and light-hearted. There are some Elder Gods involved, but it never goes to dark places… at least, not to dark places you can’t illuminate with a good STRÅLA.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
IFComp 2023: Assembly, October 9, 2023
by Kastel
Related reviews: ifcomp2023

This game is a box of good ideas.

All of the puzzles revolve around following IKEA instruction manuals in interesting ways. They don't test your general puzzle-solving skills but rather how well you understand the logic of the world. If you're able to internalize it, solving the puzzles feels effortless.

Every eureka moment I had deepened my appreciation of this game. It understood and exploited the greatest strength of text-only games: the ability to conjure up truly strange images. The fact it was all my doing made it better. And I also thought the gimmick didn't wear out its welcome either; it was explored just enough to feel satisfying and to keep the narrative moving forward.

While the game was never going to focus on the story, the writing and the action were quite engaging. I was curious about the world and the tantalizing little details we got seem to evoke a larger cosmology.

Assembly is a humble work of genius. For such a simple conceit, the game unfolds in so many surprising ways and I can't stress enough how clever the game is. It's a clean and refined game that's easy to get into unlike the furniture it's inspired by.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Dark Worship through DIY-furniture., December 6, 2023
by Rovarsson (Belgium)

It’s been a long day, but you might as well assemble this last little table. Even though you don’t remember picking it from the racks of a certain furniture store that will not be mentioned by name…

All this DIY furniture has funny names, and this particular table is called “Dölmen”. Hmmm… It looks a bit like a one too. Upon looking a bit closer, you’re sucked in and transported to…

The protagonist has no idea yet, but the player has read the intro. The Old Norse Gods want to return, and they found the ritualistic nature of kneeling down in the living room, slavishly following instructions from a poorly printed booklet to map quite organically onto religious service to Them. In short, each desk or cabinet strengthens them and widens the archway into our universe.

Fortunately, in a way that reminds me of Pratchett’s Colour of Magic, the universe has a strong sense of self-preservation. Why that means exactly you must be the saviour of reality, no one knows. Maybe you’re an offshoot of an ancient royal bloodline or something. Anyway, save the world!

By assembling and disassembling furniture.

Apart from a few problems finding the appropriate verb caused by the fact that for much of the time you’re reading the instruction booklets backwards, meaning that you need the antonyms of the verbs used in the instructions, the (dis)assembly work went smoothly. (Not even one missing screw. Assembly does not follow the realistic simulationist path here.)

Actually, the booklets almost serve as a magic tome would in a fantasy game. A series of incantations that, when properly intoned, change the physical reality around you.
The real puzzles therefore are where to find the booklets, and where to practice the magic contained therein. One of these had me perplexed for a good time ((Spoiler - click to show)bringing the wardrobe to the lamp, instead of the other way round.)
The map is small but very effective. I loved the (Spoiler - click to show)"twisty little passages" in the description of the showroom.

After a spectacular large-scale endgame puzzle, it was unclear to me how to actually WIN the game. There are two options (I stumbled into one before I had a chance to try the other, which was a good/bad thing, depending on personal priorities.) One of them wins by (Spoiler - click to show)getting the hell out of there and letting the store burn. The other loses by (Spoiler - click to show)trying to do the heroic thing and confronting the Old Gods in their Cairn. Being a hero isn’t always the right thing, ask Susan Sto-Lat.

I was hungry for some backstory on the Old God’s cultists, maybe in a sort of “Meanwhile…” non-interactive intermezzos?

Good fun game, some tricky puzzles. Big show piece of a final disassembly!

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New walkthroughs for October 2023 by David Welbourn
On Sunday, October 29, 2023, 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...

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