Poor Zefron's Almanac

by Carl Klutzke

Fantasy, Science Fiction

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>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction

Right about the time that Poor Zefron's Almanac (hereafter called PZA) starts feeling like another humdrum sword-and-sorcery game, it executes a nice surprising twist. To say too much more would be to give the game away, but the fact that the author bills PZA as "an interactive cross-genre romp" is a clue toward its direction. This twist made the game refreshing and fun again, especially after the frustration it caused me when I began playing it...

Because of a fairly flexible (but extremely temporary) magic spell that becomes available at the very beginning of the game, I found myself repeatedly stranded, unable to proceed and forced to RESTART. This happened again later on in the game -- I committed a perfectly logical action and found out hundreds of turns later that this action had closed off the endgame. This is a frustrating experience, and one that could easily have been avoided with a few minor changes to the game's structure, changes which would not have had any discernible effect on puzzles or plot. In addition, there are a few areas in which the player character can be killed without warning, always an unwelcome design choice. PZA is (as far as I know) Carl Klutzke's first game, so chalk these flaws up to education. I look forward to playing another Klutzke game as well-implemented as PZA, but designed more thoughtfully.

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- Pinstripe (Chicago, Illinois), March 13, 2021

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A fantasy/sci-fi blend with polymorphing, February 14, 2016

In this game from an early IFComp, you have to earn the right to become a journeyman wizard when a fearsome dragon appears and attacks the town.

Things aren't how they seem, and soon you are playing ambassador to an alien. In the tradition of Infocom and Douglas Adams, you have to assemble a machine out of bizarre parts.

The game focuses on a polymorph spell that takes you from place to place. People have mentioned how this can lock you out of victory; however, the part where you need it is so small that you can just undo a few turns and try again.

Near the end, though, the game got really hard. I accidentally combined two ingredients too early, which basically meant I had a bomb that would go off all the time and end the game. Then, the final portion of the game can be tricky.

Has an almanac with a ton of information in it that you can carry around.

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- Walter Sandsquish, February 2, 2011

- Audiart (Davis, CA), January 8, 2009

Baf's Guide

A silly genre-bending romp that starts out as fantasy and ends up as science fiction. You're a wizard's apprentice, but the wizard has disappeared, and now it seems that a dragon is attacking the town. Very funny in parts, but the game itself is uneven--a tight inventory limit that complicates things, some random death, some strange NPC behavior. Still, the whimsy factor makes this one worth playing.

-- Duncan Stevens

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