Grandma Bethlinda's Remarkable Egg

by Arthur DiBianca


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Number of Ratings: 21
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- Stian, October 12, 2022

- elco2, September 2, 2022

- Kinetic Mouse Car, August 2, 2022

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
I liked the egg., April 15, 2022

It does a lot of whirring and gurgling and other amusing things. The egg is the best and only part of this game. (Spoiler - click to show)It seems like you just have to wait for the egg to repair itself to win. There are a lot of optional tasks which I mostly failed at, but you might like them if you like challenging puzzles.

- Say (Paris, France), January 10, 2022

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Achievement-hunting fun, January 6, 2022
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2021

(This is a lightly-edited version of a review posted to the IntFict forums during the 2021 IFComp. My son Henry was born right before the Comp, meaning I was fairly sleep-deprived and loopy while I played and reviewed many of the games, so in addition to a highlight and lowlight, the review includes an explanation of how new fatherhood has led me to betray the hard work the author put into their piece)

I’ve played a number of Arthur DiBianca’s signature limited-parser games – including just getting to the first Grandma Bethlinda instalment a couple months ago – and have generally really enjoyed them, with last year’s Sage Sanctum Scramble being my favorite. GBRE has a different vibe than that unabashed word-based puzzlefest, and I took a little while longer to get into it, but by the time I was digging into the as-always generous post-game content I was definitely having fun.

As always there’s not much plot – you’ve managed to handcuff yourself, and you need to give one-word commands to the Rube-Goldberg-meets-Alexa egg to get yourself free – so it’s all about the gameplay as you explore the egg's functionality and unlock new commands by running through its autorepair sequence. Despite this setup, GBRE is actually much thinner on puzzles than I was expecting at first – there are maybe three or four that gate progress on the repairs, and they’re good ones, but mostly the gameplay is focused on exploration, as you try out the commands you unlock at each stage, figure out the potential interactions between them, and guess at other commands the egg might accept.

Until I got to the ending, I found this pleasant enough but not that engaging – it felt more like a toy than a game, and while it’s delightful to see what the egg will do next, by the end of a half-hour the novelty had started to wear off. Getting to the end unlocks a full Extra Credit list, though, which basically serves as an achievement system, with 21 different entries clued only by their titles.

This endgame content starts to require more focused problem-solving, while retaining the whimsy and discovery of the main section of the game. Some are really easy (Spoiler - click to show)(”Greetings” just requires saying HELLO to the egg), some yield after a modicum of thought (Spoiler - click to show)(”Grrrr” clearly has to do with the dog and the bone…), and some require a good dose of lateral thinking (Spoiler - click to show)(racecar ones, I’m looking at you). A lot of this is trial-and-error, but it’s the fun kind of trial and error where you smash toys together to see what will happen – it reminded me of the old Doodle God Flash games.

Amid a Comp that has lots of games dealing with really serious themes and ideas, it’s nice to get a playful palette-cleaner like GBRE – definitely treat it like a Marvel movie and stick around after the ending to get the most out of it, though!

Highlight: Figuring out Exterminator made me feel very clever.

Lowlight: I ran through every permutation of answer to the SURVEY command and was disappointed not to get any validation for my completionist instincts (I have a problem).

How I failed the author: After getting about a third of the Extra Credit points, I was figuring this was going to be it for me given that I have less time for IF Comp this year, but after putting GBRE aside I thought to start a hint thread, and using that was able to get all the points. So I lost out on some of the joy of discovery, but gained the hollow validation of checking every item off a long list – yay me?

- TheBoxThinker, December 20, 2021

- Robin Johnson (Edinburgh, Scotland), December 8, 2021

- mg51, December 2, 2021

- E.K., November 22, 2021

- Spike, November 17, 2021

- Karl Ove Hufthammer (Bergen, Norway), November 15, 2021

- Sobol (Russia), November 15, 2021

- Zape, November 10, 2021

- Jade68, November 1, 2021

- larryj (Portugal), October 27, 2021

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Random experimentation with one-word commands, October 24, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

For the better part of a decade, Arthur DiBianca has been putting out limited parser games, where most commands are shut off and only a few work.

This game is kind of an opposite version of that. Instead of few commands, there are tons of commands, some of which you have to guess (for full completion) and most of which you don't know what they do.

This is a game that invites experimentation and discovery. Part of the fun is trying out a command and having it do something surprising but, in hindsight, reasonable.

There's not much storywise, but a lot of depth. Reaching the first winning situation isn't too hard, but getting all the points is very difficult (I admit I looked at the intfiction thread for most of the extra credit points).

Overall, I found the game enjoyable.

- Edo, October 8, 2021

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Good idea, bad execution?, October 4, 2021
by Carlos Pamies (Murica, Spain)

The game caught my attention at first but lost interest as I played. While the basis of the story is original and creative, the game itself suffers from simplicity.

The basis of this type of story is the interaction between the game and the player, and here it is almost non-existent. The game tells you on most occasions what to write making you feel even silly as you play.

I think the basis is very good and something fantastic could come out of it if the interaction is exploited on another level, which will help create a much more immersive story.

Congratulations on the effort Arthur DiBianca and keep up the good work!

- Kara Goldfinch (UK), October 3, 2021

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Are you playing a parser game, or are you the parser?, October 3, 2021
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

So what can you say about this game? I'm not sure. It is the second year in a row that the author has entered IFComp with a weird game that has almost no story, but rather is filled with a handful of little word or logic puzzles. I didn't really care for last year's game either, but I thought at least there was a really clever mechanic in the "boss fight" scene. With this game though I couldn't find much to appreciate.

The scene is straight-forward, you are have handcuffed your own hands behind your back in a flubbed attempt at practicing a magic trick and now you have no way to get free. However, you borrowed a gadget from a friend recently that might help: the eponymous egg. You can give it one word voice commands and it can perform a wide variety of tasks. Imagine Alexa, but with mechanical arms, drones and robots to carry out your wishes. The catch is that it was jostled in transit recently and so not all functions are available to it.

So is this a game where instead of commanding the egg to pick the lock of your handcuffs? Sadly, no. Instead it is a game of waiting for the egg to repair itself until the LOCKPICK function becomes available. In the meantime the egg throws verbs at you (functions that have been restored) which you can then parrot back to see egg perform a number or random, sometimes goofy, tasks. So like I said in the title, this isn't a parser game in the sense that you tell the game verb and noun combinations (all your commands are a single word), rather the egg gives you suggestions and then you are the one stepping to. It is either that or typing "z" repeatedly while waiting for the endgame. Along the way there are a few very simple puzzles to complete, but nothing challenging or enjoyable.

So I just don't get this game. I'd love to hear from someone else who has a better experience as to what you liked about it.

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