Number of Reviews: 5
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Unique Puzzles, Compelling Story, December 6, 2020
Wonder and whimsy. Political intrigue and murder. Detective work, bureaucracy, and the simple human pleasure of wearing a scarf. A Murder in Fairyland has it all!
This game is a joy to play. The writing is on-point. The graphic design is bright and gaudy in the best possible way. Thereís a diverse variety of puzzles to solve: word searches; filling out forms; a card game; as well as more classic IF staples involving clue-hunting, using the right action on the right thing, etc. Itís all implemented very well. The variety of different things to do made gameplay feel fresh throughout.
The world is mysterious and compelling: a realm of thought and emotion, powered by memories and videogames, ruled over (at least locally) by Machiavellian nobility at the helm of a byzantine machinery of state that you navigate via a literal labyrinth of contracts and forms. It seems that the setting is pre-established in the authorís other works. I havenít read them yet, so some details were no doubt lost on me, but thatís fine. I feel like, if anything, my unfamiliarity with the setting only added to the sense of wonder and intrigue.
The high point of the experience for me was reading the beautifully-written memories of the protagonistís scarf.
Solving the murder is a well-designed puzzle with many facets and several possible outcomes. Itís easy to come up with an acceptable solution, but it takes serious exploration and a keen eye for detail to reach the best solution.
Overall, A Murder in Fairyland is among my favorite IFComp 2020 games. Would recommend.