Trick or Treat or Trick or Treat or Trick

by Stewart C Baker profile

Seasonal, Science Fiction

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A fun time loop and an unfortunate number of bugs, November 21, 2022
by Draconis
Related reviews: Ectocomp 2022

From the description, this one seems to be a parser puzzlefest written in Inform 7. You’re a 12-year-old trick-or-treating on your own for the first time, and perhaps inadvisably decided to knock on Old Man McGuffin’s door. He chose “trick” and left you with a strange device that traps you in a time loop: after seventeen turns, you’re reset to the start of the game.

Unfortunately, I think this is the first Petite Mort I can’t solve on my own. I like the idea a lot, but the implementation just confuses me too deeply. I started making a map, and ended up finding a loop that I can’t reconcile: going north, west, south, west, west from the front yard brings you back to it again. I found a way to leave the device behind (put it in the box, close the box, drop the box) but it keeps being described as in my hand. “Fields of rustling corn” are an impassible barrier, while “an impenetrable line of trees” is an exit you can use.

With hints, I managed to solve it. I like the puzzle, but the implementation gets in the way frustratingly often. Some important actions persist across time loops, like (Spoiler - click to show)PULL ROPE, and give confusing error messages if you try them after already doing them on a previous loop. McGuffin expects you to say “trick or treat” when you find him later, and prints the same text as at the beginning, but doesn’t reset the loop. Using commands that are slightly off, like (Spoiler - click to show)SHOW BOX instead of GIVE BOX, does nothing. I like the game, but the implementation issues keep me from really recommending it.

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Stewart C Baker, November 21, 2022 - Reply
Thanks for this comment!

I did just release an update which I think fixes the n-w-s-w-w loop. (I got my directions mixed up and put the vacant lot entrance from the street on the west when it should have been on the east.)

I'll take a look at those other issues—this is my first parser game so I'm not surprised that it's kind of a mess.

ETA: The other issues should now also be fixed.
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