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About the Story
"A Difficult Puzzle is inspired by two quite different games, i.e. Junior Arithmancer by Mike Spivey and the Hard Puzzle series by Ade McT. Beta-tested by Larry Horsfield." from Adrift game page.
1st Place - P/o Prune's mini comp
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Number of Reviews: 2
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This game was directly inspired by the Hard Puzzle games in its difficulty level and clarity and by Junior Arithmancer in its actual puzzles.
Hard Puzzle was mainly known for being intentionally poorly-clued, with numerous red herrings and puzzles that aren't quite fair. The idea was to have a kind of game you can beat your head against for a long time before finding a solution.
This game is similar. You find yourself in 4 rooms with a helpful fairy. Each room has a number on the floor and some other object of interest in the room (either a door or a clue). There is a recess that is common to all the rooms (essentially in the center of the circle) with a book.
Puzzles involve the book and the numbers and the clues (which makes sense, since that's all there is) and is similar to Junior Arithmancer a bit.
I found the game very unfair and very confusing, but that is the intent. I got a lot of help from the fairy (enough to solve one of the clues) but looked on the adrift forums for the other 2.
I wish I were able to type and execute a list of commands on one line, separated by punctuation. Once you know the answers to the puzzle, it can be pretty tedious to enter.
+Descriptiveness: It's effective for the style it's going for
+Interactivity: I didn't like the tediousness, but the game was trying to be frustrating and hard, and it was
-Emotional impact: I saw this entirely as a puzzler, removed from emotional ties
+Polish: I encountered no bugs.
-Would I play again?: The value's all in the surprise, and there's not much replay value.
This game has approximately three and a half puzzles, but only two of them are good, IMO.
I can't imagine that anybody will solve it without using the game's built-in hint system (Melinda) and asking her about everything.
Even then, IMO, the silver key puzzle is too hard/unfair. (I was unable to solve it without reading the author's hints posted on the ADRIFT forum.)
On the silver key puzzle: (Spoiler - click to show)I thought the poster rhyme was telling me to turn to page 6 and stand in the western room; that made at least as much sense as the correct answer, and is compatible with Melinda's suggestion to think about numbers.
The game is also annoying to operate, but it's hard to talk about that without spoiling the game's central mechanic.
(Spoiler - click to show)The game's central mechanic is that moving clockwise increases the book's page number; moving counterclockwise decreases the page number. Leaving the book in the recess allows you to switch rooms without changing the page number, allowing you to "dial" the book to a number of your choice.
Two out of the three puzzles are entirely about guessing a page number for the book and navigating to it.
But you can't "turn to page 624," noooo… you have to laboriously put the book in the recess, go to the right room, get the book, move clockwise, put the book back in the recess, go clockwise, put the book back in the recess, go to a smaller numbered room, move counterclockwise, etc.
It's even worse if you play it in the ADRIFT online web player, where each command can take a second or two.