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October 31st

by Finn Rosenløv profile

Horror
2022

Web Site

(based on 6 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

Accepting a bet that you can stay a whole night inside a haunted house (on Halloween) is very easy when it's daylight and the sun is shining from a clear blue sky.
The doubts about whether this was such a great idea in the first place, begins to sneak up on you as the daylight slowly fades on October 31st.

But here you are. On the street outside the iron gate looking at the graveled path that leads up to the haunted mansion, wondering if it was such a good idea to accept the bet that you could stay in the house till dawn.


Game Details


Awards

10th Place - ParserComp 2022

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Perhaps Finn Rosenløv's most polished game, January 27, 2023
by Denk
Related reviews: ADRIFT 5

DISCLAIMER: I beta-tested this game months before release but not the final version. After ParserComp ended, a post-comp release became available from the ADRIFT site (www.adrift.co).

I always rate the last version I've played. So this review is based on the third release (2nd bugfix) during ParserComp 2022.

In this game you have to spend the night in a haunted house due to a bet. Roughly, this game is about hunting and killing five monsters without getting yourself killed.

Parser:
The parser is decent most of the time though I noticed a few problems such as different responses when the player uses the word "it" instead of the noun. However, "it" seems to be working in most cases. Other easy improvements would be to make the books in the library be referred to by their titles in addition to "leather book" and their full 'names' such as "witch hunt book" as well as "witch hunt", "witch" or "witch book" which should have worked too.

Atmosphere:
The descriptions are thorough but not too long and gives a good atmosphere, especially when the player is hunted by a monster. As my mother tongue is not English it may be that I overlook some grammatical errors etc.

Cruelty rating: Tough
You can get in unwinnable situations if you release a monster and meet it in the wrong place without the items needed to kill it so save often. However, it will normally be obvious when this happens.

Puzzles:
The puzzles were overall fine and fits with the setting. A few of them stand out by being better whereas some of the others are "well known classics" and hence not so original.

Overall:
The gameplay is fun and the monsters can almost be killed in any order. A few niggles: I think there are too many doors to open (most are not important to the gameplay) and the implementation could be better. In this 3rd release (i.e. 2nd bugfix) I saw no serious problems though.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Old-school monster mash, August 8, 2022
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: ParserComp 2022

Welp, that’s done it. Having likened ADRIFT afficionados to sex deviants in my Euripides Enigma review, sniggering through my sleeve all the while, I’m eminently deserving of karmic retribution, and the gods of the ParserComp queue (it’s an important job, there have to be several of them) have seen fit to reward me with another ADRIFT game as a chaser. This time, instead of generic sci-fi plot #4, it’s generic horror plot #7 – spend a night in a spooky mansion – and there are once again definite warning signs in the introductory text (the distinction between EXAMINE and SEARCH is emphasized). But while the setting is just as generic as the premise, and there are some wonky puzzles, including some guess-the-verb fiddliness and read-the-author’s-mind shenanigans, I actually got along fairly well with October 31st. Partially this is down to personally finding Halloween monster-mashes more appealing than po-faced sci-fi bug hunts, but the game also paces out its challenges well, and provides both a hint menu and a walkthrough to help players get over some of the rougher patches.

The game starts out with some appropriately spooky build-up, as you slowly and trepidatiously make your way to the grim manse where the adventure is set. The prose nails a campy but still slightly spooky tone, which helps build anticipation for what’s to come – like, when you open the gate to the mansion’s grounds, you’re told that “almost reluctantly it swings open with the sound of a thousand tormented souls.” Fortunately, X ME discloses that we’re quite the matinee hero, and definitely up to the challenge: “your piercing eyes are set in a face with a straight nose and lips quite a few girls find very kissable.” Indeed – it’s not our fault that all said girls live in Canada!

Er, regardless, it quickly becomes clear that rather than simply snoozing your way through the night, you’ll need to take on and defeat a series of classic monsters – a witch, a skeleton, a mummy, etc. – before going up against their boss (Count Dracula, obviously). Oh, and there’s a ghost too, but he’s cool (he’s a well-implemented NPC, in fact, and I enjoyed my chats with him). Each baddie inhabits a different precinct of the mansion, and defeating each requires running through a short self-contained puzzle chain. This structure gives the player agency in deciding who to go after first, and also keeps the game’s pace up, since every time you get to a new part of the mansion you’ll do some initial exploration, then encounter the foe, then get the climax of beating them, before moving on. While the lack of interdependence does sometimes lead to moments of illogic in the puzzles – in particular, there’s a bit where you’re doing the classic newspaper-under-the-door trick, but you can’t use a short piece of wire to poke out the key because you got that in a different branch, so you need to find a comparable item in the nearby environment instead – it does work to cabin things, meaning I usually had a reasonable sense of which locations and which items I needed to poke at in order to make progress.

The puzzles are simple fare, but often with a small twist that makes them more fun – like, no points for guessing what you’ll need to do with the bit of cheese you find, but there’s an extra step you need to perform that means the puzzle doesn’t feel utterly generic. Per my complaints earlier in this review, there are definitely moments that had me running for the hints, though: there’s one place where EXAMINing a bit of writing tells you what’s written there, so I didn’t realize I had to separately READ it as well, and there’s a spot of gravedigging that’s rendered more challenging than it needs to be by the parser being overly persnickety about your word choice. This is an issue in several places, in fact – I guessed that there was something weird about the clock in the library, but could never figure out what precise syntax was needed to interact with it, and I wasn’t able to put a key object in a receptacle clearly designed for it until, running out of more plausible approaches, I tried PUSH KEY OBJECT WITH RECEPTACLE, which doesn’t make much sense. And I wasn’t able to actually win the game, despite getting to the final confrontation being pretty sure of what I’m meant to do, with the hints and walkthrough not providing the help I needed (and contradicting each other to boot). Still, for every iffy puzzle, there was another that worked well.

I can’t help listing the annoyances, but still, I enjoyed my time with October 31st regardless of some of these spikier bits, with the evocative writing, campy monsters, and fun-but-shonky puzzling carrying me through. I’m guessing the real classic text-adventure mavens will find it more lightweight than something like the Euripides Enigma, but for the rest of us this is a nice, less-painful way to experiment with the style.

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Monster hunter extraordinaire in haunted house, August 19, 2022
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This is a detailed Adrift game set in a haunted house.

You encounter many classic monsters (werewolf, ghost, vampire, mummy, etc.) and have to find ways to defeat them all.

The game is really quite detailed, with changing room descriptions and independent NPCS.

Playing it made me think a lot about Graham Nelson's Bill of Player Rights and how most of the games I play follow it while this one does not. And it provides a different feel that's fun but also one I struggle with. This one includes a lot of randomness (I never actually finished because one of the wandering monsters I just couldn't run into), some required guesswork, some learning by death. But that also provides a different kind of challenge.

So, overall, it was fun, not what I'm used to but overall enjoyable. I did have trouble with one puzzle since it requires you to (Spoiler - click to show)look at a door's hinge, but the door is visible from two rooms and the hinge is only implemented in one and I looked from the wrong side initially.

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October 31st on IFDB

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October 31st appears in the following Recommended Lists:

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Polls

The following polls include votes for October 31st:

Games with a Halloween theme by Cuxxu
Some of us over on boardgamegeek/videogamegeek/rpggeek are starting a interactive fiction-of-the-month club. It was discussed having a game with a Halloween Theme for October. Most of the people will be fairly new to IF. Any suggestions?

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Outstanding Horror Game of 2022 - Author's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best overall game of 2022. Voting is anonymous and open only to IFDB...

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This is version 3 of this page, edited by Denk on 31 January 2023 at 11:27pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page