Mrs. Pepper's Nasty Secret

by Jim Aikin profile and Eric Eve profile

Children's
2008

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Member Reviews

5 star:
(3)
4 star:
(21)
3 star:
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2 star:
(1)
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Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 9
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Well-peppered; could use a bit more salt., June 25, 2022
by Rovarsson (Belgium)

The neighborhood-crazy-lady has taken your skateboard away! Your plan is to get it back. Preferably without falling into her claws yourself.

I have a thing for this kind of setting. The one creepy house in an otherwise friendly street where the children cross when they have to go by. Where the adults secretly want to cross too, were it not for the adult-voices telling them not to be ridiculous...
(I think this goes back to my reading The Dark Tower Pt.3 at a young and impressionable age. The scenes where Jake has to go through the House/Guardian to get to Roland on the other side haunted my dreams for weeks.)

Sometimes it's a long-abandoned ruin of a house. Sometimes there were people murdered in it and it's rumoured to be haunted.

In Mrs. Pepper's Nasty Secret it's the lone inhabitant that's scary. (Shhh... People whisper she's a witch...)

The introduction and the first part of the game do a very good job at establishing Mrs. Pepper as a child-hating, basketball-stabbing, skateboard-stealing hag. I wandered around on the sidewalk for some time before timidly setting foot on her driveway.

After the first big hurdle though, the game settles down a bit and leaves you to explore the house and its surroundings at your leisure.

Despite having a small map, Mrs Pepper makes very good use of the space. there are numerous locked-off locations to discover. In fact, most of the puzzles do exactly that: blocking parts of the house until you figure out some way to remove the obstacle (or simply find the keys...)

I liked chatting to the next-door NPC a lot. In between the gossip, there are clues and help.

A nifty and completely ridiculous (in a good way!) magic system is employed in the later stages of the game. It had me laughing when I visualized what my PC looked like while performing spells...

My hunger for a bit more salt has much to do with the game's context. It was entered in the 2008 IFBeginnersComp and as such is on the easy side. The important objects are basically right in front of your eyes, and in the one instance where they're not, the text nanny-clues you to the right command. There are pushy suggestions from the parser about what to type and a somewhat overzealous auto-correct feature. (These are nags from me taking the game away from its intended context and audience, not faults of the game or the authors.)

Good for beginners as well as more experienced players: the game sports an excellent gradual hint-system.

Actually, Mrs.Pepper's Nasty Secret accomplishes its goal admirably. It welcomes new players with all possible means. It has an engaging plot and interesting NPCs that both new and seasoned players can appreciate.

I just wish there was a "Hard" setting.

Well-written, smooth-playing creepy-house adventure entertainment, good to last you an hour or two/three. Recommended.


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Jim and Eric's Excellent Adventure , December 8, 2019

Mrs. Pepper's Nasty Secret is a fun and well-written, if lamentably short, text adventure. The puzzles are well-executed, and are not overly difficult. I was interested in the auto-correct feature (which took me by surprise with my first typo); though imperfect (it mistook my intentional “glove” for “love”), it is a vast improvement on the standard TADS reminder to use the OOPS command. The gentle nudges to input text when I had sat too long in thought were annoying to this seasoned player, but I was interested enough in the feature itself to leave it enabled to see what else it might nudge me about. And that is a really nice feature for brand new players.

Clever programming aside, the story was engaging and enjoyable. Ultimately I just wish that the game had been longer and that I had had more time to interact with a certain character.

As a beginning TADS programmer, I appreciate having access to the source code and will doubtless dig in to see the details I missed on my first run through.

My standard for what constitutes a good game is, Is it enjoyably replayable? MPNS is, and is also favorably memorable.


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Great IF for beginners, February 5, 2017

Mrs. Pepper is a great starting place for those getting into IF. It has a very generous hint system and fun puzzles that are just the right difficulty (for me, anyway!). I like cryptography, so I really like the inclusion of a cipher as part of the plot. I would recommend printing a map or drawing a map to keep track of all of the locations. After I did everything I needed to do for the main storyline, I got stuck as to what to do finish. I figured it out easily, but I thought the end was a little anti-climatic. (Spoiler - click to show)I was hoping that Mrs. Pepper would return home and maybe receive a little poetic justice! Next, I plan on having my middle school students work through this story as an intro to IF!


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A well-crafted, short game about a witch; appropriate for children, February 3, 2016

Mrs. Pepper's Nasty Secret is about a woman in your neighborhood who stole your skateboard and is pretty mean.

You investigate her, and discover quite a bit about her past. You meet some interesting NPC's, and have to work out some really very clever puzzles.

The game lasts not very long; it took me 508 moves the first time I played it. It really feels like investigating the home of the antagonist in Wishbringer.

I recommend this game; it is short and entertaining.


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
This was my first IF game, and I LOVED it!, February 1, 2016

Ok, I gave this game five stars. Why? On its own it is more of a four star game. However, this was my first IF game. I played text adventures back in the 80's, but I wanted to see how they were presented today. I saw this game won some competitions and it seemed to be newb-friendly so I gave it a shot. I loved it. I loved it so much it inspired me to try more Interactive Fiction and even to start learning Inform 7 so I can try my hand at my own stories. So overall it is a four star game, but I gave it five as not only was the game fun, it opened a new world for me. Thanks Jim and Eric!

As a side note, one thing I found fun with Interactive Fiction is not only completing the game without the use of hints, but to go back and find the least amount of steps needed to complete the game with a full score. My record for Mrs. Pepper's Nasty Secret is 88 steps to complete the game with the max score. Can you beat it?


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
Ideal beginner's game, September 21, 2012
by NiMuSi (London, UK)

This is an ideal game for beginners, serving as a gentle introduction to IF. It has examples of most of the standard puzzles found in IF (using magical items, repairing machinery etc).

I thought all the puzzles were fairly straightforward for a beginner, apart from the very first one - how to get into the house. This may possibly deter newcomers from persevering with the game, which would be a great shame.

The player has a definite goal at each stage of the game, which means that they have something to concentrate on without any distractions following up red herrings (although the game also has those!)

The only minor niggle I have is the ending, (Spoiler - click to show)I was hoping for the eponymous Mrs Pepper to get her come-uppance.


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Not just for beginners..., January 4, 2012

Initially I was put off by the fact that this game was labeled as a children's game. Seeing that the reviews emphasized it's appropriateness for beginners, I wasn't all that interested in playing it. However, the title had intrigued me enough that one day I decided to give it a try anyway. I'm glad I did! I liked this game. It was fun to play and very well implemented. The descriptions of rooms & objects and outdoor scenery made me feel like I was right there in the story. (It's actually been a few months since I played the game & I can still picture every room. This is also helped by the fact that, in it's entirety, the area to explore was limited to a house and yard... a fact which I thoroughly enjoyed. No getting lost in this game!) Playing & experimenting with objects was fun... it's clear that the authors paid much attention to detail when implementing the game. I also enjoyed the fantasy/magic aspect. While, in an actual fantasy game, the events in Mrs. Pepper's Nasty Secret would be quite commonplace & possibly even blasé, when placed within a modern-day neighborhood setting, the odd magical elements are mysterious & rather exciting. I recommend this game to beginners & advanced players alike. It may not be challenging for everyone, but it's worth a play anyway, if simply for the sake of the story and the fun interactions within it's setting.


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Fun!, June 8, 2011

My dad and I played this game and had a great time! We couldn't originally find out how to get into the garage, but eventually did. We didn't even try (Spoiler - click to show)giving tap water to the elf, we were just carrying a glass of the rain water. after we got the skateboard, we still thought we were going to need the wheelchair to get the elf outside, but my dad figured it out. Overall, this game is awesome!


16 of 16 people found the following review helpful:
10 year olds review Mrs. Pepper's Nasty Secret, October 19, 2008
by Mike Sousa (Massachusetts)

Mrs. Pepper's Nasty Secret had very challenging puzzles that made us think. It took us 2 days to finish. The puzzle of getting in the house was very difficult and took us a lot of time to figure out what to do.

The garden elf was really cool. We liked that instead of feet he had roots. We really liked that you had to put on (Spoiler - click to show)different colored wigs to do different things.

The elevator was a creative idea even though we had trouble using it at the end of the game.

We never figured out what Mrs. Pepper's Nasty Secret was, it never told us. We didn't like that. (Spoiler - click to show)We were really hoping that she wouldn't come back and catch us in her house and we were glad she didn't!

The water puzzle was really cool, we were stuck for a while and had to use the hints.

This was a very interesting and challenging game.

Raquel & Liza
Age 10



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