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(based on 33 ratings)
About the Story
Violence is the answer to this one.
Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: April 27, 2016
Current Version: 1
Development System: Inform 7
Forgiveness Rating: Anatomically Modern
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Number of Reviews: 5
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... this is actually a classic puzzle-based text adventure with a great sense of humour. You play a prehistoric man on a Quest For Bark... slowly making profound realizations about the world around him. It reminded me of the book "The Evolution Man, Or How I Ate My Father" by Roy Lewis, both in terms of tone and content.
It's a Ryan Veeder joint, so of course the writing is funny as hell. If you haven't played Taco Fiction, The Horrible Pyramid, or Captain Verdeterre's Plunder yet, why not? Go do it, then come back. Some of the descriptions are side-splitting: the first time you examine the cave wall, for example, is perfect comedy. There is only one real "puzzle", but the solution is totally logical and makes perfect sense. Its very satisfying.
It's too short though - the ending is hyper-abrupt (in fact, I'm not even sure if I got the definitive "win"), and there are some mysterious loose ends: does (Spoiler - click to show)the river changing its direction of flow mean something, or is it just a gag about you (Spoiler - click to show)turning around and not understanding what that means? Also, why are there (Spoiler - click to show)tyrannosaurs living alongside humans? They were millions of years apart!
This clever little piece offers a take on the development of language and tools, casting the reader as a cave-dwelling early man, with a simple task: get some medicinal bark to help your mate with her headache.
The writing is consistently funny and witty. Historicity is wisely sacrificed in service to the narrative--a dinosaur is featured in the final act--and it makes for an entertaining piece.
On a deeper level, the piece examines art, map-making, language, and human relationships, all in a short, relatively constrained piece hinging on one single puzzle.
It took me several replays to figure out what to do; every location is important, and with the possible exception of one reference I didn't get (the direction of the creek), relevant to that single puzzle.
Ryan Veeder is known for making polished, smooth, amusing games, and has made another great example here.
You are a caveman with an unusually intelligent wife and surrounded by a variety of animal life.
The game is fairly short, with only 2 or 3 small puzzles, but the setting is charming and the game feels cohesive. It is an interesting counterpoint to the Edifice, a long, difficult, serious game treating some of the same material.
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