Tower of Plargh

by caranmegil

2022

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A "my first game" in Inform with some charm, November 21, 2022
by Andrew Schultz (Chicago)
Related reviews: IFComp 2022

The Tower of Plargh is a short puzzle game where you must do stuff and then push a big button in a center room to advance, once youíve done what you needed. There are jokey bits in here, too. The room names made me laugh a bit but also wonder if there was a fifth room, since the initial 4 rooms differed by which vowel was in the 3rd position. I spent time wondering if there was some head-fake ending where I'd missed a clever detail, though disassembling the gblorb changes nothing.

Also thereís a bit of trickery with the game map--the tower is bigger than it seems at first glance. The jokes may be a bit flippant to stick in your memory, but on the other hand, there are no mind-reading puzzles. There are a few items and you can figure what to do just because the author didnít try to overwhelm you with details. Apparently the author wrote it for his daughter, so there were serious limits on how complex he wanted to make it, but then these limits ran up against IFComp expectations.

The puzzles feel relatively straightforward, though the final bit in level 4 was kind of tricky, and a "why" is missing beyond "because it is there." In level 4 it took me a while to realize an NPC left right after you saw them, even though they pretty clearly were a jumpy sort, so there was a lack of description. With minimal verb-guessing, I figured what to do. Thereís a small bug where the NPC from level 4 is wandering around in level 5, so I chased a red herring there. Perhaps ToP was simple enough I was sort of hoping for one.

The rooms didn't change names as I went up the tower, I suspect as an attempt to reuse code. However, the end result is that it feels like a programming exercise more than a game. So although thereís no walkthrough, youíre probably not going to get stuck if you resort to trial and error, likely the sort that needs only minimal knowledge of parsers. This made Plargh a nice whimsical diversion before playing far darker games with content warnings, although since its focus is simple-to-trivial puzzles, it doesn't establish a super-strong identity. So it sunk to the lower end of IFComp. But as a first work it is nothing to be ashamed of.