Hard Puzzle 4: The Ballad of Bob and Cheryl

by Ade McT profile

Episode 4 of Hard Puzzle Trilogy
Science Fiction
2019

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A polished puzzler where everything including the fourth wall is broken, December 3, 2019
by Linus Ňkesson (Lund, Sweden)

Hard Puzzle 4 is a highly enjoyable text game, if approached with the right mindset. On the surface it may look like a buggy, half-implemented shambles, but donít let that fool you: It really is a buggy, half-implemented shambles.

Itís also a masterfully crafted puzzlebox that keeps opening up in fresh and surprising ways, and requires you to step out of the box on more than one occasion. Donít expect a great story, but prepare for lateral thinking exercises, shocking discoveries, and intricate exploitable flaws.

The game encourages you to cheat. Be sure to check out the so called walkthrough, and follow the instructions in the help command. There are similarities with Serhii Mozhaiskyiís I. A. G. Alpha, but this game takes it up a notch. There came a time when I felt that it was probably expected of me to harvest the Glulx strings for clues. I did so, and found encrypted data and a message from the author, berating me for peeking.

Going for a deliberately crappy aesthetic is obviously a risky move, but for me personally, defeating this puzzlebox was one of the highlights of IFComp 2019.