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Things that Happened in Houghtonbridge

by Dee Cooke profile

Mystery, Surreal
2022

Web Site

(based on 14 ratings)
4 reviews

About the Story

On a hot summer weekend, all Olivia Raines wants to do is get on with her studies for her upcoming exams. But her unreliable aunt, Beverly, has gone missing, and Olivia finds herself unwillingly dragged into a mystery that will forever change her perception of Houghtonbridge, the stuffy little town where she lives.

Explore places around the town, a mysterious old family home and a forbidden field in your quest to find out where Beverly has gone - and why.


Game Details


Awards

3rd Place - ParserComp 2022

Winner, Outstanding Mystery Game of 2022 - Playerís Choice; Winner, Outstanding Mystery Game of 2022 - Authorís Choice; Winner, Outstanding Adventuron Game of 2022 - Playerís Choice and Authorís Choice - The 2022 IFDB Awards

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Member Reviews

5 star:
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4 star:
(7)
3 star:
(2)
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Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
A long and rich mystery game with wide variety of locations, January 21, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours

I don't know why I forgot to review this one when it came out.

This is one of the best Adventuron games I've played and also one of the most complex and rich mystery parser games in the last few years. You play as a young high school student whose aunt has gone mysteriously missing, and you have to check out her house.

The first half or so of the game is a mystery/drama as you investigate both your aunt's disappearance and a deadly party held at a farm, which is being investigated by your high school friend. Your sister is acting bizarre, as well.

Later on, as others have noted in their reviews, the game takes some decided twists, and becomes both more deadly and more surreal.

I found the overall plot to be the strongest point of the game, as well as the satisfying classic-style parser gameplay. I got frustrated a few times trying to figure out the right action, but overall I'd say this is a very successful and fun game.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A very strange, very British mystery, August 8, 2022
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: ParserComp 2022

(I beta tested this game, so this is more a short series of impressions than a full review)

One of my favorite games of last year was Christopher Merrinerís ParserComp entry The Faeries of Haelstowne, and Adventuron game set in an English backwater where supernatural doings are transpiring. Comes now Things that Happened in Houghtonbridge, and Iím happy to report that IFís hottest mini-trend, ďgreat ParserComp entries in Adventuron with an implausibly-named British village in their titleĒ has continued into its second year.

Okay, the resemblance is mostly superficial, and plotwise the two games donít actually have much in common Ė this is set in the present day, with an appealing teenage protagonist whoís investigating some strange goings-on that have a family connection. If anything, though, THH goes even further than Haelstowne did to make the sometimes-finicky Adventuron parser feel just about as smooth as the far more mature Inform or TADS ones, and it boasts engaging prose thatís incredibly clean (even in the version I beta tested, I didnít detect a single errant typo in this largish game).

Much of what I enjoyed about the game was delving into the mystery of what exactly was going on with the disappearance of the protagonistís aunt Ė thatís a stereotypical setup, but the truth of whatís going on boasts some creative zigs and zags, and the game does a great job of presenting different pieces of the puzzle through varying means, including but not limited to well-written letters and diaries. The structure is well judged to support this slow unlayering of the onion, too: much of the game revolves around unlocking different rooms in your auntís kinda-spooky house, but you also travel to a handful of other locations which helps change of the vibe, and time passes as significant plot points are reached, giving the story time to breathe. The puzzles are likewise there more to help pace things out and provide a sense of engagement than to melt the brain Ė youíll have seen most of them before Ė but theyíre generally well done, solidly clued, and satisfying to solve; the release version also has integrated hints.

Thereís a late-game turn thatís not exactly a plot twist, nor even a shift in genre Ė I guess Iíd call it a tweak to the vibe? (For those whoíve played the game: ). I could see it being somewhat polarizing since it isnít especially heavily telegraphed in the first two-thirds of the game. Still, I enjoyed it; the early parts of the game clearly establish that thereís some unexplained strangeness thatís been hovering over the town and the protagonistís family, and itís satisfying to encounter said strangeness and instead of it just being ghosts of Cthulhu or whatever, itís actually still really strange!

Regardless, THH is a really fun time, with good writing, characters, story, puzzles, and implementation; I have a hard time picturing the IF fan who wouldnít dig this one. Definitely recommended, and Iíll be keeping my eyes peeled next ParserComp for any game set in like Chipping Sodbury, or some Welsh town without vowels, in hopes of a three-peat.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Atmospheric mystery, January 27, 2023
by Denk
Related reviews: Adventuron

This is a very well done game and one of the longer ones in ParserComp 2022, where you take the role of a studying teenager who is unravelling a mystery in the small, English town Houghton Bridge while you really should be studying. There will be indications of something supernatural (no more spoilers!). The story is overall pretty good.

Parser:
I never had a problem with the parser. Either the Adventuron parser is often improved or the author's programming skills play a significant role.

Atmosphere:
In some areas the atmosphere is decent whereas it is even better in others, e.g. creepy. Overall, a fitting atmosphere.

Cruelty rating: Merciful
There are multiple endings but you can apparently always reach some of them. I don't know if being locked out from some of the endings increases cruelty(?).

Puzzles:
All puzzles are fair and meaningful. The difficulty is around "medium", some a bit easier some a bit harder.

Overall (Rating: 9/10)
The story plays very well with the puzzles and the implementation is close to flawless. As a consequence, the resulting game is better than the individual parts. Very much recommended.

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See All 4 Member Reviews

Things that Happened in Houghtonbridge on IFDB

Recommended Lists

Things that Happened in Houghtonbridge appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Favorite semi-linear games by MathBrush
These are games like Anchorhead where you have a large amount of freedom, but you can't always return to the beginning. Generally these games are divided into chapters or days, with each one like its own mini game.

Polls

The following polls include votes for Things that Happened in Houghtonbridge:

Outstanding Worldbuilding of 2022 - Author's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the game with the best worldbuilding of 2022. Voting is anonymous and open only...

Outstanding Mystery Game of 2022 - Author's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best mystery game of 2022. Voting is anonymous and open only to IFDB...

Outstanding Adventuron Game of 2022 - Author's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best Adventuron game of 2022. Voting is anonymous and open only to IFDB...

See all polls with votes for this game




This is version 4 of this page, edited by Denk on 31 January 2023 at 11:44pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page