Save the Cheshire Cat!

by Marco Vallarino


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Short and simple, but not very interesting, July 30, 2018
by Karl Ove Hufthammer (Bergen, Norway)

This is a short (playtime: approx. 30 minutes), puzzle-based game. There’s a book fair in town, but the Cheshire Cat, the mascot of the local board and card game club, has gone missing. And apparently, the club can’t organise any future events without its mascot, so you need to find it (I’m not sure why this is supposed to make sense, but according to the game, it’s ‘a matter of life and death’).

To find the mascot, you have to complete a series of simple puzzles. They are typically of the form ‘an NPC has object Y, which you need, but they want an X for it, so you must first find an X’, and would be much more interesting if the objects (X and Y) were better integrated in the story; in this game, it often feels like they could be exchanged for any two random objects.

The game is somewhat beginner-friendly. The game starts with listing some information on how to play IF, including a complete list of verbs needed to play the game. But note that there aren’t any hints or a walkthrough built into the game. Most of the puzzles are logical, but one of them is made (unnecessarily) difficult when an object you need to examine is hidden from the room description after completing a certain (needed) action.

Scoring systems aren’t as popular in IF these days, but can be fun, especially for beginners. In this game, each important action gives you a point or two, for a total of 20 points. There’s also a nice ‘fullscore’ command, giving you a description of all point-scoring actions that you have performed.

‘Save the Cheshire Cat!’ is the author’s first attempt at translating an Italian game (‘Salvate lo Stregatto’) into English. The translation is frequently a bit ‘off’, but is easy to understand, and written in a simple language, suitable for kids. But note that the actions you need to perform include both (poorly motivated) stealing and violence.

According to the blurb, the game is a ‘comedy text adventure’. And while it is a simple, light-hearted game, it is, in my opinion, not a funny one: there’s almost no actual humour (perhaps some was lost in translation?). And while the game is quite well implemented, and can be fun to play, especially for beginners (due to the simple puzzles), neither the story nor the puzzles are very interesting in themselves.

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