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About the Story
3rd place in the first PunyInform Game Jam.
3rd Place - PunyJam #1
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Number of Reviews: 2
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With a title like Pub Hubbub, you'd expect a few cheap jokes, and they're the good sort of cheap, the ones that give good return for relatively little investment. The game may not be super-ambitious, but it's a well-organized first effort with enough humor to keep you going through any frustrations you might have with the parser or with the time limitation. An ominous note saying your boss, John, owes $2500 "or else" adds to the plot.
You start in a broom closet, as with every PunyJam entry, and have four pub-cleaning tasks to complete in two hours of game time, or 120 moves. And while standard parser peeves (some rejected commands cost you a move), I was actually able to figure what to do even without logging on to my boss John's computer. The execution required some parser-wrangling, and in fact my first time through I just missed completing everything. Fortunately, nothing drastic happened, and the drudge work makes enough sense it was easy to replicate. Basic stuff you need to do so the pub isn't too nasty.
The game does a good job of brushing off parser mistakes with a joke. Nothing demeaning, but advice from older wiser relatives pops up if you forget something. The rejects for cleaning you don't need to do also amused me, and when I browsed the source code, I found other things I'd missed.
Nothing's too gross or out there, and in fact, there is one way to die that's lampshaded nicely. And there's a cigarette machine which contains more humor than cigarette machines generally do, and even a puzzle.
Given the game's general tone, I was able to figure roughly what the note was about before my boss John came back, and you may, too. But the details still made me laugh.
This is a good, promising first game. It has a few small bugs (or I think they're bugs and not my own incompetence) I'm glad to overlook, because the main stuff seems to work.
Having now played several punyinform games in a row, I now realize that many design features I thought were poor choices are actually 'baked in' to punyinform: specifically no UNDO and pedantic phrasing for disambiguation.
It also seems that most games in this PunyInform jam were written by newish players who aren't part of a culture of intense beta testing or familiarity with recent parser games.
So that puts a lot of things in perspective. Given this background, this game isn't that bad. I had to look at the itch page for some hints on how to proceed from time to time, but besides that it's fairly straightforward. You have a few chores to complete before your boss arrives, and much of the difficulty is figuring out the right commands to fulfill the actions required.
The one thing that elevated this game for me was an excellent puzzle involving cigarettes. I've never seen a puzzle quite like this and I think I might nominate it for an award next year, if I remember.
This is version 6 of this page, edited by ChristopherDrum on 23 May 2021 at 1:39am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item