Gent Stickman vs Evil Meat Hand

by AZ / ParserCommander profile

Episode 1 of Gent Stickman

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Number of Ratings: 10
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- Denk, March 19, 2023

- Wanderlust, February 22, 2023

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Text input, graphics output: a short stickman adventure, August 29, 2022

One thing I've learned from writing IF is that it's impossible to please everyone; you can make something that some people love and some people hate, or you can make something that most people feel moderately positive about, but that's about it.

I think this game is well-done, and the author is a nice person I've seen on the forums. For me, though, I had a primarily negative response to this game for reasons not at all related to the quality.

This is a graphics-based game, where you enter text and get stick figure responses. It defaults to full-screen and has background noise and some slight pause between player input and response. You are a knight/stick figure man trying to rescue a stick figure woman rescued by a dragon.

My reasons for playing IF aren't due to nostalgia (I didn't even get into it until I had a toddler, in 2015); I love IF primarily because of its quick response times, its flexible and un-intrusive nature (as text in a resizable window that can be multi-tasked with), and, as text, its ability to be skimmed quickly and typed in quickly.

So this game has almost none of the features that I enjoy about IF, and I found myself honestly irritated while playing.

Grading it on my scale:
+Polish: The game is quite smooth and polished.
+Interactivity: On one hand, I was surprised that the game expected and acknowledged compass directions while telling the player not to use them; on the other hand, the parser was fairly robust and allowed for a lot of surprising interactions. I was baffled by the puzzles (I used a lot of hints) but given the minimalism and internal logic I feel they were fair.
+Descriptiveness: The art was pretty informative
-Emotional impact: As described above, my primary emotion was irritation.
-Would I play again? I would not.

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- Jade68, August 21, 2022

- IFforL2 (Chiayi, Taiwan), August 19, 2022

- Jim Nelson (San Francisco), August 10, 2022

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
More than a sight gag, August 8, 2022
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: ParserComp 2022

This is one for the books Ė a parser-based text adventure where, other than a few out-of-world commands, the only text is what the player types (those books must be comic books). This works sort of like those old Sierra graphic adventures that still used a parser, where you could see your character and their surroundings, but would direct them by typing Ė except where those games would similarly drop a text paragraph to tell you the results of your actions, here everything is depicted graphically or iconographically, as your stick-man protagonist ponders the unlikelihood of success when rejecting a proposed course of action, or holds out his hands to reveal the inventory. So this is a gimmick game, but itís a fun gimmick that rests squarely within the four corners of the ParserComp rules, which makes me like the gimmick even more.

The game itself, I liked less well. The order of the day here is juvenile comedy, which I think is the right call given the comedy inherent in the interface Ė youíre a stick-dude, a hand with googly-eyes (played I presume by the author(Ďs hands)) kidnaps your stick-girlfriend, you need to raid his castle to save her. Thatís all well and good, and some of the jokes are solid, including the inevitable twist ending. Unfortunately, the gameplay overcorrects with tough-as-nails puzzles which donít always make sense even given cartoon logic (Spoiler - click to show) (the high salt content means peeing on plants is generally a no-no rather than a valid watering strategy, is my understanding Ė or rather, thatís one of the reasons itís a no-no). This high degree of difficulty helps the game last longer Ė there are only four locations, and only two real puzzles plus a (pretty easy) guess-the-verb challenge Ė but it means that playing Gent Stickman means replaying it.

This wouldnít necessarily be so bad, since the various fail states are generally pretty amusing, but I ran into some technical difficulties that increased the annoyance factor. Most notably, the graphics that show the response response to your input loaded really slowly for me, which was a pain on its own but also meant that sometimes Iíd take an action and see two or three blank windows pop up in sequence before dumping me into a game over, which isnít especially helpful! There are also some places where the design conceit makes progress more difficult than it really should be, like where it took me forever to figure out how to read the text on a plaque mounted on the castle wall Ė READ PLAQUE didnít work, and I couldnít help thinking that in a regular parser game, Iíd be told exactly how the parser wants me to refer to the object, while in a graphic adventure Iíd just be able to click on it, so this was worse than the worst of both worlds (turns out I was a dummy and I just needed to READ SIGN).

All this means the middle part of my playthrough was kind of rough, as the novelty of this clever rethinking of how a parser game works wore off and the hard puzzles kicked my butt. After I got OK with abusing the (also entirely graphical) hint feature and powered through to the end, though, I looped back to being amused again. This is a funny, clever game, and I can forgive its Dark-Souls-ish difficulty level even if I canít endorse it. Iím not sure I need a bunch more games using the same interface, but as a one-off gag, Gent Stickman is hard to beat.

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- Vivienne Dunstan (Dundee, Scotland), July 19, 2022

- Edo, July 7, 2022

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A line cartoon caper, July 4, 2022
by jkj
Related reviews: parsercomp 2022

# Gent Stickman vs Evil Meat Hand: A line cartoon caper

by "A-Z"

> Interactive Fiction Parser Game WITHOUT TEXT, just hand drawing graphics.
> Gent Stickman, the drawing in the door of the gentleman toilets must go to save Lady, the drawing in the door of ladies toilet, kidnapped by the Evil Meat Hand.

This game draws line cartoon pictures instead of output text, but uses text input. Also with sound effects.

This is one of the most unusual games I've seen for a long time. It definitely deserves points for originality and style. And it's funny!

(Spoiler - click to show)
The mission to save the lady is made obvious from the start, but how to do it?

Playing the game involves immediate death whenever something is done wrong. This is made worse by the fact you have to start again from the beginning. This quickly becomes annoying and the system desperately needs an "undo" feature. Thankfully the game is quite short once the solution to a problem is known.

The user interface could use up arrow to re-edit last command.

The iterative help is interesting, it's pictorial and incremental. However, the initial hints tend to tell you what you already know. I had to use the hints in some places as the solutions are indeed obscure.

I wasted a lot of time trying to make use of the "death" character. However, it seems he is mostly there just to limit the geography, except obscurely right at the end.

There are a few problems:

* You can look left or look right (nice one), but from the top of the new tree, look left and you fall into the spike pit.

* Getting to the castle, eventually i found "jump to castle", whereas jump left or vault didn't work, i just died.

Some of the reaction pictures are hilarious, and there are many extras for things that aren't the expected input.

"call death" at the end is somewhat bogus. I tried this already to maybe chop the tree to bridge the pit, but that didn't work. Why now?

I really enjoyed playing this game. The cartoon graphics make it work despite any frustrations. If this presentation format were expanded and polished, it could be really quite good.

Conclusion: awesome but frustrating in places.

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