Nightmare Adventure

by Laurence Emms and Vibha Laljani


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Number of Ratings: 10
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- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), March 29, 2021

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Home-brew parser, March 28, 2021
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)

Nightmare Adventure comes an an executable file that has to be opened, at least under Linux, in the terminal. A bit weird, but it works. Unfortunately, the home-brew parser seems to have been built in complete ignorance of conveniences that have been standard for, I don’t know, three or four decades? You cannot abbreviate “examine” to “x”, “inventory” to “i” or “go east” to “e” or even “go e”. You cannot refer to the ruby amulet as “amulet”, but have to type out the entire name. I tried to wear or drop the amulet, but was unable to do so. What doesn’t help is that “verbs” gives you a gigantic list of all the synonyms of every verb. (Friendly advice to the developers: players don’t need to know synonyms! They only need to know which base verbs are supported.) Also, there’s no save/restore/undo. So why exactly are we using this system instead of Inform or TADS or Quest or Adrift?

The game itself is rather sparsely implemented, but clued well enough that I proceeded through it without much trouble. I (Spoiler - click to show)walked through the village, collected amulets, entered the towers, visited all the rooms, and ended up in a dream world among the stars. And then: instant death. In a game which does not support save/restore or undo. I’m afraid that equaled instantly losing this player.

In a sense it’s impressive that a home-brew system works this well, but the designers/authors really need to play some modern parser games in order to get a good sense of what are and what are not acceptable standards today.

- Austin Auclair, March 1, 2021

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Short, old-school text adventure with just a few puzzles, February 1, 2019

Nightmare Adventure is a short, old-school style text adventure written with a homebrew parser. The plot is that everyone else in your village has fallen into a magical sleep, and it's up to you to save them.

I found Nightmare Adventure to be weaker than the two other old-school text adventures (Flowers of Mysteria and Escape from Dinosaur Island) I played in IFComp 2018. It's much shorter, for one, with only three or so puzzles (depending on how you count them). The puzzles are also quite easy - with the exception of the last one, which is a bit more clever.

One player-friendly feature of Nightmare Adventure is that it tells you exactly which objects you can interact with. I appreciated not having to type a bunch of EXAMINE [scenery object] commands, wondering whether I'd missed something important.

I do wish Nightmare Adventure had been more fleshed-out. For instance, the last stage of the game was (for me) the most interesting part, with a setting just brimming with potential for creative story choices or puzzle design. But there's not actually much to do there. Also, the game felt to me like it ended a bit abruptly, even when I managed to win it.

I also think Nightmare Adventure could could have done more, puzzle-wise, to increase player engagement. Not that parser-based puzzle games can't be short and engaging at the same time; The Origin of Madame Time pulls this off, for instance. But a short parser game is under that much more impetus to make the puzzles clever in order to keep the player's attention and give them a sense of satisfaction once the game is over. (A long parser game can more easily pull this off with the sheer quantity of puzzles.)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A small game with a custom parser about magical dreams, January 6, 2019
by MathBrush
Related reviews: 15-30 minutes

Despite my low star rating,this game succeeds in (what I believe is) it’s authors’ goal. It seems like their intent was to write a complete parser game from scratch that had an interesting storyline, and they’ve done so.

This game is pure fantasy, with mysterious ailments and amulets. It’s very short. The parser lacks almost all conveniences of modern parsers, such as standard actions and abbreviations and robust keyword detection.

The game is short, but has some puzzles I personally found enjoyable, as well as some nice dream/star imagery.

For the IF player used to playing Inform games, I would not recommend this. But as someone who has tinkered around with parser programming, I know how hard this was to make, so the authors did a good job.

- necromancer, December 5, 2018

- dgtziea, November 26, 2018

- Denk, November 19, 2018

- The Xenographer, November 19, 2018

- Karl Ove Hufthammer (Bergen, Norway), November 16, 2018

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