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About the Story
Your quest is to cure the Fisher King of his illness. When he fell ill, the once fertile land became barren. You must collect the four legendary flowers of Mysteria and make from them a herbal remedy.
56th Place - 24th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2018)
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Number of Reviews: 2
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The subtitle of Flowers of Mysteria is "an old-fashioned text adventure," and that is very much the truth. For example, the title page features ASCII graphics, and after each command you are asked "What now?" followed by the prompt. It was also written with what looks like a homebrew parser.
The plot is that you are tasked with finding four mystical flowers in order to brew a remedy for the ill king. Finding the flowers isn't too hard; the puzzles are mostly straightforward and logical, in keeping with the game's old-fashioned text adventure sensibility. I did go to the walkthrough for help once, but that was the only place where I was stuck for a while. (And the solution made sense once I knew what it was.)
One solid design choice in particular helps Flowers of Mysteria avoid some of the problems often found in older text games: It tells you exactly which verbs are understood, so there are no guess-the-verb issues. (I went back to this list several times - it was quite helpful.)
If you like old-fashioned text adventures, I'd recommend this.
This game is a homebrew parser game. It seems expansive at first, intimidatingly so, but it soon settles down to a fairly small, nice-sized map.
Unfortunately, the possibility space of commands is fairly high. In most modern parser games, Inform or TADS take care of common synonyms (LOOK AT vs. X vs. EXAMINE, TAKE vs. GET, etc.), and new verbs are generally hinted at in the text or provided by using items where only one word works (a shovel leads to DIG, for instance), and extensive beta-testing finds all synonyms a general player might use. This fails at times, frequently even, but it is a standard that is widespread among Inform/TADS authors.
Games written in other engines tend not to have this flexibility (with Robin Johnson's Versificator parser games being a notable exception). The standard synonyms in Inform and TADS are the results of hundreds of hours of work and playtesting, and even well-established rival engines like Quest and Adrift fail to come close to their standards. And personally written parsers tend to have even more trouble.
This is a long-winded way of saying that there are a lot of commands I wouldn't have guessed on my own without the walkthrough. Besides that, I adored this game. Crossing the chasm reminded me of The Neverending Story for some reason, finding the island reminded me of the first Zelda game. A fun slice of enjoyment.