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About the Story
Built beneath a lake dark and deep, The Hidden King’s Tomb was once well protected against would-be thieves. Between its only marked entrance was built a labyrinth of locked doors and false vaults. All ways were sealed, save one which remained for the king’s foretold return.
But in the centuries since, a sinkhole has revealed a new route to his treasure.
You and your adventuring partner have come to The Hidden King’s tomb like many before you, in search of fame and fortune. You stand over the sinkhole, planning your descent.
But you’ve been tricked! Your former friend has pushed you from the precipice into The Hidden King’s Tomb, plotting to take the treasure for himself. Now you must escape the catacombs, or this tomb may become your own
60th Place - 28th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2022)
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Number of Reviews: 3
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Adapted from an IFCOMP22 Review
Extremely short and small parser-based exploration game. Escape the Tomb you’ve been pushed into! The opening is very efficient, immediately setting stakes and goals, then turning you loose. You are piloting a blank slate protagonist, which is fine as this is definitely not a character driven game.
This one feels like a learning exercise more than anything. It is a very small 6 room tomb (not counting connecting hallways). It does have more than its share of objects to collect and to lesser extent manipulate, but almost none of those objects do anything useful even for scoring purposes. You can move them around, admire them in your inventory, and mostly be told “you don’t need to” when trying to apply them to the environment.
The text is serviceable enough, mostly descriptive, although insufficient for mapping. For example you are told there is a crack in the wall through which you can see something interesting, but nowhere are you told WHICH wall, should you want to explore that direction. In the end the map is small enough not to matter, but it does interfere with your ability to hold it in your head. More distressingly, where the room descriptions are more fleshed out, the nouns are not implemented. So you can be told “there is a river here” but when you try to examine it “there is no such thing here.” That feels like a pretty quick and easy rule of thumb: if you mention a noun, have a response when the player examines the noun. It doesn’t impact the gameplay, but definitely adds polish to the product.
There’s really only one puzzle to solve, and it's reasonably straightforward, befitting the scope of the piece. The geometry of the tomb doesn’t immediately suggest the answer, but is imprecise enough that it doesn’t contradict it either. As you progress in solving the puzzle, the descriptive text could be more state aware. (Spoiler - click to show)When water runs through the tomb, only some of the rooms acknowledge the presence, and depending on the room, the volume of water is inconsistent.
As a coding exercise, I would call it functionally complete. No major bugs, no unwinnable states I could observe, consistent object behavior. Would definitely recommend fleshing out the noun space. The most bang to buck would come from polishing the descriptive text to make the thing internally consistent and clear. As is, a Mechanical excercise.
Playtime: 20min, finished
Artistic/Technical rankings: Mechanical/Mostly Seamless
Would Play Again? No, experience seems complete
Artistic scale: Bouncy, Mechanical, Sparks of Joy, Engaging, Transcendent
Technical scale: Unplayable, Intrusive, Notable (Bugginess), Mostly Seamless, Seamless
(this review is for the IFComp 2022 version)
Your backstabbing fellow archaeologist/explorer/graverobber pushed you down a catacomb. Find the exit and grab all the loot.
This game brings back the classic text-adventure tropes: explore and steal. Apart from the framing story I summarized above, there is no plot or character development. This means you are only limited by your own conscience (and let’s face it, adventure players haven’t got one) while you unleash your kleptomaniac and grave violating tendencies in the poor old King’s tomb.
The descriptions are rich, they capture the gloomy-tomb atmosphere very well. There were several rooms with vivid and memorable images, emanating an old and foreboding feeling.
Until the very end, puzzles are nowhere to be seen, except maybe looking in a few less obvious places. The final puzzle is simple but nifty, providing a nice little >click< in the player’s head.
Unfortunately, The Hidden King’s Tomb is woefully underimplemented. In a creepy crypt like this, it misses so many opportunities to reward the explorer with detailed descriptions of the ominous scenery to establish a bit of backstory (the murals and reliefs are a first obvious example). Customizing the responses to unnecessary actions would also help in bringing more life to the game world.
Indeed, I would love to see this game expanded into a near-puzzleless exploration of the history of this long-buried mysterious King. The focus could be not on the gathering of loot (which will always be cool, come on, it’s a text adventure, right…), but on the slow and gradual unraveling of the tale of how the King came to be buried here, and of his great or horrible deeds during life.
The medium of IF is extremely well suited to such piece-by-piece discovery of a backstory.
A nice exploration/looting excercise. I really liked the final puzzle. The first atmospheric layer of the tomb is nicely painted. The author just needs to go down a few layers beneath that and implement all the juicy details.
This is a short parser game with a premise similar to Infidel. In it, you explore an underground tomb and have to discover a way out, since your friend shoved you into the tomb so that he could take the treasure for himself.
The map is pretty simple, laid out mostly east to west with a couple of branching rooms. There are a lot of unimplemented objects and identical objects (like a large proliferation of candles).
There's only one real puzzle; the rest of the game is essentially a red herring. The descriptions do sound cool; seeing it depicted visually would be fun I imagine it would look a bit like the tombs in Moon Knight.
I struggled with the main puzzle because I didn't pay close attention to the room descriptions. Overall I think does the story pretty well and some technical details pretty well, but overall could use some work. I think the author has good potential if they get more practice and maybe more beta testers.