Frustration

by Jim MacBrayne

1990

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Very big, expansive game designed to be played a long time, January 24, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 2-10 hours

This game is a classic in the style of the period between Infocom and Inform. Those few years in the 90s saw the rise of several gigantic indie games, often with obtuse puzzles and nonsensical, Zork-like landscapes. The Unnkulia games were the most popular I know from then, with lots of silly Acme products.

This game seems influenced by the same era, with a lot of ACME products.

You are getting a shopping list for your aunt when you fall down a big hole. There you find a complex web of locations and buildings and teleporters that take you all around a house, a village, and the world.

This is the kind of game that's designed to be played on and off for months, possibly working together with others online and not necessarily designed to actually be solved. Often times the solution to a puzzle is something found far away in a different room.

There are many teleportation devices in the game, including one powered by geometric objects, another with different button presses, and another in the form of a wand. A lot of puzzles are coded messages, as well.

I played this game to clear it off my wishlist as one of the longest-running games on that list, but was surprised to see that this author is the same Jim MacBrayne that has recently released games in IFComp and Parsercomp. Those games are written with a Basic engine (and I think there is a version of this game that does that too), and they have very similar features to this game, including giant maps with many rooms called 'corridor' or 'path', and puzzles involving color-coded combinations and obtuse messages that must be interpreted correctly to pass.

I know several people have greatly enjoyed these recent games from Jim MacBrayne; if you're one of them, this older game has a lot of the same flavor, just longer and more difficult.