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About the Story
Your friend has invited you over for stew. He has not bothered to procure most of the ingredients.
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Number of Reviews: 7
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The premise: you're a rat trying to gather ingredients for a stew, since your friend has put together the broth but is too lazy to assemble anything else.
In gameplay, this is essentially a treasure hunt for food items, but the tiny, ratly world is entertainingly realized, complete with suggestions of internal rodent politics and their attitudes towards the world of humans. The narration breaks the fourth wall quite a few times, sometimes to give the player direct advice about how to play, sometimes just for amusement's sake. It works, though.
Overall, "You've Got a Stew Going!" is short and easy -- I don't think it took me more than fifteen minutes to win the first time -- but what's there is solid and reasonably polished, with snappy retorts to a number of odd attempted actions. It's possible to win with 5/6 points, and played that way, it's a lightweight charmer suitable for kids.
Getting the last point of the game changes the complexion of the whole experience a bit. (Spoiler - click to show)To get full points, you have to first rescue your friend Fran's pet cockroach, and then "borrow" it back... and stew it. So much for warm fuzzy happy fetch quests! Fran is broken-hearted, but your stew is de-licious. It's kind of genius the way this makes the game a sappy, frilly kids' game unless or until it occurs to you to act horrible. And then it rewards that horribleness. Considering that the piece contains a reference to 9:05, I think that's probably the real point of the thing. But you don't have to go there if you don't want to.
Some games put you in the role of a shining knight, rescuing princesses and kingdoms, defeating evil forces and powerful monsters. And in some games you're just a dirty, smelling rat. The latter is the case in You've got a Stew going by Ryan Veeder.
On your quest for ingredients to put in the namesake stew, you explore a small set of tunnels and openings to the surface. There are a few NPCs that can be interacted with, but conversation isn't too important or interesting. (Spoiler - click to show)I was trying my best to woo Fran, the female rat, but to no avail. There are some funny custom responses, but also some meta-references I could have done without. Puzzles are solvable though I would have wished for a less mono-dimensional way of solving some of them. (Spoiler - click to show)(e.g. the one with the girl.) Even after trying quite a few things I couldn't get the optional sixth point.
I like happy little games like this one, motivating the player by being humourous and giving him a concrete goal and solveable, logical puzzles.
In the case of You've got a Stew going, the game is very playable though on the short side and amongst aforementioned details lacking some more items to use, so I give it a pretty good
Even accounting for the elusive last point, this is still an extremely short, simple game. I kept encountering situations where I expected the game to be more complex and was surprised when it wasn't: the locked gate, for instance.
This is doubly odd because the details of this world are so intriguing. In contrast to the standard animal's-view focus on describing normal human things from an animal's perspective, Veeder has developed a creative rat world that hints at underlying complexity--and yet, these details are never really needed within the game. I'd like to see more rat world and get a chance to put some of this information to work.
I'd also like to see some technical improvement: the clever responses in this game are still outweighed by stock answers, more items could be implemented, and there are a few spelling and grammar errors. Overall though, particularly given its length, it's a fun game.
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This is version 8 of this page, edited by Ryan Veeder on 10 November 2020 at 5:21pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item