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A map of the game's "Infurnal Stage"

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Codex Sadistica: A Heavy-Metal Minigame

by grave snail games

2021

(based on 4 ratings)
3 reviews

About the Story

Your band has come to play at the greatest metal venue around: the Blood Furnace’s INFURNAL STAGE. There is only one problem: the act before you is—*shudder*—playing glam metal! And worse yet, they’ve gone way over the alotted time for their set! This is terrible. This is unacceptable! You must do something. Wielding the power of the ancient codex of metal, you must track down your fellow bandmates and reclaim the Infurnal Stage!

Rally your bandmates! Jam with your friends! Vanquish the vile Faramir Spidermoon and his glamrock thralls once and for all!

Content warning: Cartoonish violence, mild gore and horror, plenty of cussing, drugs and alcohol, sacrilege, references to stalking. Not intended for children.

Sacrilicious Storygame With Some "Heavy" Puzzles


Game Details

Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: October 1, 2021
Current Version: Unknown
License: Freeware
Development System: Inform 7
IFID: E97E0FEC-4F16-4060-A8BF-C80A5AE3D369
TUID: ihrvzvqkerv7idkn

Awards

Entrant - 27th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2021)

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4 star:
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3 star:
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Number of Reviews: 3
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Pitch-perfect satire, October 18, 2021
by bkirwi
Related reviews: IF Comp 2021

The main blurb gets the premise across pretty well: you're in a metal band, the (terrible) act ahead of you in the lineup is running over time, and you need to assemble your bandmates and save the show. (Though things do eventually get a little weirder...) The author satirizes the metal scene without ever coming across as mean-spirited; the characters are all a little stereotypical, but written with affection and humour, and the story works even if you're not super familiar with the genre.

Most of the puzzles are based on a novel, central mechanic, introduced around the midgame. While it's not the deepest mechanic, it's a lot of fun to play around with, and the game's short enough that you don't end up exhausting the possibilities until the final moments. None of the puzzles end up being particularly difficult; if you get stuck, experimenting with different combinations and locations is enough to keep things moving without being frustrating.

The game was a little bit under-implemented: verbs that felt natural weren't there, significant objects described by the game weren't there at all or didn't have the right behaviours, and there's a little bit of guess-the-verb. Nothing huge or game-breaking, but enough to add some friction to an otherwise-delightful experience.


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
The power of metal compels you!, October 6, 2021
by AKheon (Finland)
Related reviews: comedy, IF Comp 2021, parser-based, Inform

Codex Sadistica is a parser-based game by grave snail games, published in 2021. You are Scream, a metal vocalist at a tightly packed metal festival that is held up by a pretentious glam metal band. It's up to you and your bandmates to save the day with the power of real metal.

This is a fairly compact, fairly light-hearted puzzling adventure. It has one quite unique puzzle mechanic: you are able to jam with your band members to produce different type of metal genres. The sheer power of music generates different effects, f.e. (Spoiler - click to show)death metal makes people angrier and sludge metal causes literal sludge to spill out and cover the floor. It's a fun system, although the way it's handled in moment-to-moment gameplay does rely rather heavily on trial-and-error. The game is a little bit short for the complexity of the system too - in a way, I felt like the story ended right around the time when I was coming to grips with all the existing genre combinations.

As an avid metal listener, I found the setting and the writing amusing, although there were a few times I couldn't completely follow the game's humor and logic. For example, glam metal is presented as having fantasy themes and a very slow tempo, which doesn't really resemble any glam I've heard in my life. (Spoiler - click to show)As a side note, Mae's tirade about gatekeeping in metal also rings a little hollow since the entire setup of the game is based around heroically ridding the music festival of lesser metal... but maybe that's a part of the joke?

The implementation is somewhat lacking. Many seemingly important things mentioned in the prose haven't been implemented, and the ones that have been implemented typically have generic descriptions. You can't talk to your bandmates outside scripted moments, random NPC dialogue can be intrusive and repetitive, you can't "listen" to get unique responses even though it's a game about music... and so on. The game generally works and can be played to completion, but this type of mild roughness makes figuring out its logic harder, and it also seems like a missed opportunity for additional jokes and lore.

Still, I can say I had a fairly good time with the game. It could be worth a try if you're looking for a short- to medium-length comedic adventure about the power of metal.


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A heavy metal parser puzzler with colors and a couple rough patches, October 5, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This was a genuinely fun game. You are part of a heavy metal band whose set is being taken over by a glamrock band. You have to assemble your band together, but each is distracted and can't come help you.

After some initial exploration, you gain the power to JAM with the other members of your band, which lets you cause interesting effects. Jamming with 2 people at a time provides more effects, leading to about 10 jam powers all together.

The writing is snappy and fun, the colors are cool, and the mechanics are interesting.

The only real downsides are (for me), a lot of profanity (in line with metal fans, though) and a lot of missing synonyms and alternate solutions. I kept trying things like RIP SHIRT or SURF CROWD or UNPLUG SWITCH or TAKE SWITCH and getting error messages, when it seems like these things ought to have been implemented. The game is very smooth in other areas and had testers, so I guess I'd just recommend in the future piling on even more testers and implementing everything they try in a transcript. I think this game is already great, but I think it could be pushed to 'completely awesome' territory by such efforts. I definitely hope to see more games by this author in the future, because they have a real talent for writing and mechanics.


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