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About the Story
Friends, for ends, or mends (more).
Sixth in my Prime Pro-Rhyme Row series, though it is fully independent of the others.
Option to skip one room with an off-color name and bonus puzzle.
36th Place - 29th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2023)
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Number of Reviews: 2
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This is definitely one of the heftier IFComp games; I took a whole evening to look at it, spending two hours playing it and then speeding through with the walkthrough and thinking about it for a while after.
This is the 6th in a series of games that are all based on the same concept: rhyming pairs of words. Progress in the game consists of walking around/exploring and taking the names of rooms or objects and finding another pair of words that rhymes with them (like the name of the game itself).
Andrew Schultz has written many wordplay games over time (more than 40!) but I think this concept has proven the most productive, given the number of games that have been produced with the rhyming pairs.
Iíd like to describe what this game has in common with the earlier games and whatís unique to it.
First, in common: This game is set in a kind of abstract land, reminding me a lot of The Phantom Tollbooth, where abstract concepts are taken literally. By removing the need for all items to be concrete or to fit into a unified setting (like a fantasy world or spaceship), it opens up the opportunity to include a ton more of the rhyming pairs.
Another thing in common is that the game is centered on an emotional journey of sorts. with a lot of focus on emotions and experiences. I said earlier that the game doesnít have a unified setting, and while thatís true physically, each game has a unique emotional setting, a journey of self actualization that changes from game to game. Most games have an enemy that represent negative social traits such as bullying, peer pressure, cruelty, lying, pandering, or other bad traits, which the protagonist can only defeat after a great deal of personal growth. Not every game has these exact ingredients, because there is a lot of variety.
So that brings us to the unique parts of this game. First, its personal journey is quite a bit different from the others; rather than the hero alone reading books or psyching themself up, they help others. You can grab a whole lot of friends to walk around with you, each of which can help you in different ways. You can also find some people who have been wronged that you can bolster and lift up. Your friendsí journey becomes your journey, in a way. Overall, I liked the positive atmosphere.
Youíre also provided with a list of items to get, which I found helpful as a way to track my progress in game.
Itís also pretty hard; while you can just go through the alphabet plus some letter combinations, it can be tricky to come up with solutions. Iíd recommend one of two different play styles:
1-Taking a long time on the game, with breaks between sessions, to let yourself find everything.
2-Explore for a while to get as many answers as you can before getting stumped, then using the walkthrough to get to a new area and repeating.
This is definitely one of those games that you can figure out early on if you like it or not. The puzzle types and themes are very consistent, so you can try out the first few rooms to see if you feel like playing more or not. Iím glad I saw the end, even if I needed some help to get there.
I hadnít played any of Andrewís Prime Pro Rhyme Row games when I tested this one, but as soon as I got into it I loved it, and after finishing I immediately played through the rest in the series. As a lover of rhymes, alliteration, and wordplay in general, I found it delightful to be tasked with coming up with my own alliterative rhymes as the central mechanic of gameplay. Comparisons to Dr. Seuss are apt, as this is a wacky wordplay-ful world that defies logic, and is all the more fun for it.
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