Stuff of Legend

by Lance Campbell profile


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Number of Reviews: 9
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
One of the best games of 2020, October 19, 2021

This is definitely in my top 2-3 games of 2020; it's genuinely funny, the PC is well developed and endearing, the puzzles are interesting and it all has a fun, whimsical spirit. Honestly, I'd recommend it to anyone (or at least anyone who doesn't hate parser games).

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Delightful short IF, October 13, 2021

I've greatly enjoyed playing "Stuff of legend"
It's a delightful, short IF with very funny and logical puzzles, a great humor and well-characterized NPCs.
English is not my mother tongue so I can't judge appropriately the prose, that anyway it seems to me great.
Particulary recommend as a starting point for beginners.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Well-implemented and charming, December 12, 2020
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2020

Stuff of Legend is just the kind of palate-cleanser I love to come across deep in the throes of working through my Comp queue. It isn’t trying to do anything revolutionary with a thought-provoking setting or intensive characterization or teeth-grinding puzzling or pomo narrative trickery; it just delivers a charming, funny, well-designed and well-implemented puzzlefest that doesn’t wear out its welcome, and sometimes that’s exactly what you’re looking for.

The setup here doesn’t go much beyond what’s in the blurb: as a village idiot who’s had his fill of idioting after being bullied by a drunken lout (idiots > louts), you limp your way home to the farm where you live. After commiserating with the farm family, you strike upon the idea of become a knight instead of an idiot, and engage in some light puzzling across a medium-sized map, getting outfitted with a knight’s equipment and then embarking on a quest or two (though most of these might be more appropriate to an animal-control officer than a paragon of chivalric valor).

The humor really helps this all land – the writing is full of malapropisms, and there’s lots of scenery and incidental detail that throw off good jokes when examined, though I think my favorite joke was the response to X ME (Spoiler - click to show)(”You have a face like a pile of mashed potatoes and a body like a much taller pile of mashed potatoes”). The player character is a fool, so many of the jokes are formally at your expense, but crucially, neither the narrative voice nor the other characters are ever cruel: they might sigh at your occasional foibles, but it’s all fairly indulgent and supportive, and after getting through the puzzles you’re rewarded with some clear victories. Games with this kind of humor can sometimes come off mean, like they’re not on the player’s side, but SoL never even comes close to hitting this flaw.

The puzzles also strike just the right note. They’re all cleanly set up through conversation with the different members of the family – each has a distinct puzzle chain, and offers some clues as to how to accomplish it. There’s usually a few different tasks to be working on at any given time, though they intersect and progress neatly enough so that things are rarely overwhelming. Most are of fairly gentle difficulty (especially if you take a few notes as you go), and it’s fun to poke and prod your way through some of the more involved ones (Spoiler - click to show)(I’m thinking especially of the pattern-recognition puzzles to get the horse’s blanket, where even once you figure out what’s entailed, there’s still a bit of pleasant business required to accomplish it – the cat-based navigation puzzle is like this too).

I did have to have recourse to the (well-done) hint menu to resolve one guess-the-verb issue (Spoiler - click to show)(breaking the coconut open using the sharp boulder: I tried CUT COCONUT WITH BOULDER, OPEN COCONUT WITH BOULDER, THROW COCONUT AT BOULDER, PUT COCONUT ON BOULDER… only CRACK COCONUT WITH BOULDER worked). But other than that, the parser is forgiving, the world is detailed and well-implemented, the menu-driven conversations are easy to navigate; Stuff of Legend goes down smooth, even as it manages to lightly tickle your gray matter on its way to a heart-warming resolution.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Fun, traditional parser game, December 9, 2020

This was an enjoyable, fairly straightforward, light-hearted parser game. The PC is engaging and the NPCs were fun. I wish there were more of these light games around.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Funny game with clever puzzles and only a few frustrations, December 4, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: 1-2 hours

This is a parser-based game featuring several puzzles, but also some funny scenes and dialogue. You play as Ichabod Stuff, the recently fired village-idiot of Swineford, headed back to the farm where you rent a barn stall, to figure out your next career move. You have to talk to the family you live with, and their animals, get some minor "quests" to start your career as a knight, and then complete them. The game features the typical parser interface, but with a menu-based dialogue system, which I appreciated.

The game is relatively short and features a fairly small map. Early on, before I was sure just how big the map was I did feel the need, for the first time in years, to draw my own map. This was primarily because the game used ordinal directions, which I have trouble keeping straight in my head. There wasn't really a pressing need for it and if the map had been rearranged to only use cardinal directions I think it would have made the game a little better.

I think the game starts really strong, particularly in its non-puzzle parts. The first descriptions you encounter, and especially the first dialogue you have with the NPCs, can be laugh-out-loud funny. I also appreciated that early in the game as you are going through the typical examine everything routine, that the game will just go ahead and make you take the objects that will be useful later, while not letting you get anything that won't be useful. The puzzles in this game were plenty fun and challenging (more on that later) without red herrings, so I appreciate that the author didn't include any.

Before I go into what I didn't like about the puzzles, let me talk about the stuff that I really did like. The animals. Any puzzle involving direct interaction with an animal was delightful. Some of them were (Spoiler - click to show)guess-the-verb puzzles, but in the best way possible, with plenty of clues given to figure them out without too much hand holding. Any time I feel impressed with myself for figuring out a non-standard puzzle without too much frustration I enjoy it very much, and in those situations the credit really goes to the author for excellent puzzle design. I also really liked how those puzzles figured into the story arc and ending of the game, they were integrated into the whole, not just one-off puzzles. Finally, the game has a really good hint system accessible via the help menu, it is split into different sections so you don't get hints you don't want, and doled out Invisiclues-style, so if you just need a nudge you can get just that.

Regarding what I didn't like about the game: (Spoiler - click to show)the nest puzzle. Two aspects of it frustrated me greatly. The first was getting straw. Annabelle makes it very clear that you need straw and you only see it mentioned in one place, in your stall. But when you try to "get straw" or reference it in any way the games tells you that you can't see that here. I banged my head against this one for awhile. The description of your mattress and the "gaping hole" made me think the straw was spilling out, but I had to read the clues to understand that you have to "examine hole" in order to get the straw. So this was an example of an object clearly listed in the text that wasn't implemented in a way I was expecting. On the flip side, another aspect of this puzzle, the mud, was something that was implemented the way I expected, but wasn't clearly described in a way I was expecting. You can't find a mention of it in that room's description, nor when you "examine stream". Of course it is obvious that a stream is the place you would find mud, but in the midst of my frustration regarding the straw, I was wondering if the stall and stream were red herrings and I should be looking elsewhere for my straw and mud. After reading the hints and just typing in blindly "get mud" I was able to complete the puzzle. Later I realized that if you "examine bank" the mud is mentioned. I feel like here the mud should probably be in the room description, but at the very least examining either the stream or the bank should mention mud (or they could just be implemented as the same object). One other small problem with a puzzle I had, but got past quickly, was finding the cat after you get it out of the tree. After you fall from the tree there is no indication which way the cat went, but given the small map only two directions make sense. However, when you head NW to the clearing, the game seems to indicate that you hear the cat from that direction before you reach the location. It took me a second to realize I had to go NW again from the clearing. Unlisted exit puzzles are tricky, I think this could have easily been avoided by 1) put the text indicating that you heard the cat in the room description after you reach the clearing rather than on the way there and 2) making the direction you have to take out of the clearing not the same direction that you took to get to the clearing, as that makes it more confusing. The issues with these puzzles and the frustration they caused is pretty much the only reason I gave this game three stars. If they are fixed in a post-IFComp release I will happily bump my rating up to four stars.

Overall, a fun game with some clever puzzles that is well worth your time.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Funny writing, good puzzles, December 2, 2020
by Denk
Related reviews: Inform

This game starts out right after the player character has been fired as the village idiot. He must now find something else to do...

Lance Campbell certainly has a talent for comedy writing. More over, he has come up with a funny story and some good puzzles which are well implemented. This is quite a good game.

I did loose patience with a few of the puzzles and resorted to the built-in hints, but looking back they were probably fair. However, I would never had completed the game without help from google. I wonder if English had been my first language, would I still have trouble knowing all the different (Spoiler - click to show)horse and cat sounds?

My favourite funny quote is probably this:
(Spoiler - click to show)"Regardless, you are in a conversation with an animal now, and she is clearly waiting for you to speak to her:"
1) "Moo. Moo."
2) "MOO! MOO!"
3) "Moooooo. Moooooo."
4) End the discussion.

Anyway, this is a really funny game with good puzzles, which I certainly recommend.

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Funny and clever, December 1, 2020
by Stian
Related reviews: ifcomp 2020

An especially funny historical comedy, despite the notable absence of pigs. The writing is mostly superb throughout and manages to make the village idiot protagonist genuinely likeable.

The puzzles were suitably clever, with some rather unique ones; it took me quite some time feeling lost in the middle of the game until I figured out that I needed to be creative with the verbs. In the end I finished the game in about 90 minutes and learned several new words on the way.

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A charming and polished about the village idiot doing quests, October 9, 2020
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

I beta tested this game several times.

First Inform games tend to have a lot of issues from authors not realizing Inform's quirks (like forgetting to describe things or making them portable). Lance Campbell manages to avoid those problems here and make a smooth and interesting parser game.

You play as the village idiot who's out of a job. You head back to the farm you live at and try to find useful things to do around the farm, including dealing with the mutated squirrels you accidentally unleashed earlier.

The writing is pleasant and funny, with what I think of as 'dad humor'. The puzzles are well-constructed, with some animal-based conversation puzzles and some construction problems. While testing, I had some difficulty at times knowing what to do, but the game has numerous hints and a walkthrough that makes it pretty accessible. I had fun testing this.

+Polish: The game is pretty smooth.
+Descriptiveness: It has a definite writing voice.
+Interactivity: The animal puzzles are pretty fun.
+Emotional impact: The game is funny.
-Would I play again? After extensive testing, I think I'm done with this. But if I revisit this in future years I'll change this point!

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Light, playful, entertaining, October 5, 2020
by WidowDido (Northern California)
Related reviews: if comp 2020

A nice parser game with no obvious flaws or bugs on my first playthrough. Probably very good for a newcomer to IF: only about a dozen rooms, not too many items, well-defined goals, and an Invisiclues style hint system if necessary.

For anyone looking for a solid, light-hearted game with a handful of pretty simple puzzles and a bit of humor, there are many worse ways to spend an evening. The interactions between the PC and the NPCs--a village idiot and the family he rents a "room" from--are cute and well written. The first couple puzzles involving animals are not all that challenging, but the responses detailing what the PC is thinking as he solves the puzzles is great.

I wouldn't say the game was exceptional, but the end game does provide a "Did You Try?" list with enough things for me to replay.

A solid IF Comp 2020 entry. Given the tone and genre, it's hard to think of any complaints.

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