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About the Story
In this text adventure, you face big challenges and follow the tracks of a great pirate to discover his cache. Made with PunyInform, the Inform 6 compiler, and Ozmoo for the PunyJam#1 competition.
8th Place - PunyJam #1
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Number of Reviews: 2
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I tend to be very positive in reviewing but almost every interaction I had with this game was troubling.
Leaving the first room puts you immediately in a losing position, where you have to answer a question or die. I only figured out what to do by googling, hoping that it was an obscure reference, and I found out that it was (I read the books years ago and loved them, but I didn't form a strong memory of this particular creature).
After the first room, most reasonable directional commands don't work, requiring the use of 'ENTER ---' instead. An object that is essential to the game is undescribed and can't be interacted with most verbs (that describes several objects). The main way of gaining points is a verb that is nowhere indicated in the game. And the final puzzle of ending the game requires an exact, non-idiomatic three-word phrase ((Spoiler - click to show)BOARD SHIP REALLY).
Fortunately for the author, all of this is avoidable in the future by having more testers. If this had been tested by a few people who could give good feedback, it would be just fine, and so it casts no aspersions on the author's skill.
Edit: Also, UNDO is disabled, despite having insta-deaths without warning.
It was interesting to track which games in PunyJam gave credit to which old-school games and tropes, and this game along with Arthur's Day Out paid homage to Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. And I always like to see that.
I think the other reviews touched on the main bottlenecks for this game, namely some guess-the-verb and noun issues that made what the author intended to be simple fun into something trickier. The game even gets in a potentially unwinnable state if you do not (Spoiler - click to show)get the knife from the closet before leaving the first time. I got a bit stuck thinking I had to (Spoiler - click to show)guess the right name to tell the beast, but there is none. And one piece of scenery you need to leave a seeming one-way dead-end is very obscured.
But for all this concern, there are good moments. There are alternate endings based on how many geocaches you find, and the game allows you to recoup and revisit if you miss (Spoiler - click to show)the first geocaching in the succession of one-way passages. This sort of thing shows obvious care and willingness to forgive the player for not seeing the right way through, and I suspect the author will know better where to direct care for their second effort.