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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.)