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About the Story
It had been your first trip to Grandads for a long time. Unfortunately, this time was to work. Grandad was moving house, and needed your help to move all his stuff. You were busy clearing out the loft when you came across a large book. Reading the book, it told you about a secret cave full of jewels. There was a map at the back of the book, but it was so old that you could hardly read it. Sneaking the book out under your jacket, you helped Grandad move the rest of his stuff and hurried home.
Language: English (en)
Current Version: Unknown
Development System: ADRIFT
Baf's Guide ID: 762
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Number of Reviews: 2
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This game is an old school treasure hunt written by Campbell Wild, the creator of Adrift. If you expect a lot of verbose, beautiful prose you will be disappointed, as this is primarily a game, not a story. But it is a game with a lot of good puzzles which are (usually) well implemented. I think the main problem of this game is, that it is extremely easy to put the game in an "unwinnable" state and you won't know it until much later. I started over and over again, because I just wanted to beat it, but in the end I had enough of restarting when I reached 620 points out of 1000. Even for 1999 (the publication year), this game is more cruel than most games (for comparison Winter Wonderland (IFComp 1999 winner) could not be put in an "unwinnable" state). With a bit more thought this could have been a really good game. No testers are mentioned, which kind of explains it. Even the technically best authors need testers to find the bugs and design flaws in their games.
Parser/Vocabulary (Rating: 7/10)
ADRIFT 3.8 parser is nothing special but in most cases it wasn't a problem. A few times, I thought I was encountering a guess-the-verb situation but I simply tried an alternative solution which was not accounted for. So this isn't really a parser issue but a design issue.
Atmosphere (Rating: 6/10)
The descriptions are sufficiently detailed for a puzzler like this, but could be improved.
Cruelty (Rating: Cruel)
As mentioned above, it is far too easy to end up in an "unwinnable" situation without knowing it. Many contemporary games did not have this problem in 1999.
Puzzles (Rating: 8/10)
The puzzles are pretty good, with a bit of humour thrown in.
Overall (Rating: 6/10)
I enjoyed it quite a lot for a while, but in the end the constant need to restart or load a very old save became too frustrating.
This is the second of Campbell Wild's games I've played, the first being The Haunted House.
My general impression is that Cave of Wonders is an improvement and a much better game. Once again it is still in the classic style of briefer location descriptions and simpler game play. But, unlike Haunted House more of the scenery items can be examined. It is basically a treasure hunt with most of the objects that are needed scattered around or fairly easy to find.
The characters you come across during the game are little more than scenery with limited conversation and only one purpose.
I didn't run into any real GTV during play. The only real problem I have is with the plot and some of the solutions to the puzzles. (Spoiler - click to show)For example, to get into the graveyard you need to be wearing a flower. Why is never explained, or at least not to me. On the other hand to get into a garden you have to crash through the wall with a vehicle. Now that puzzle I liked. So, a bit hit and miss with many of the puzzles poorly clued or not clued at all.
If you like the more traditional adventure game then Cave of Wonders is worth playing. It entertained me for a couple of plays.
ADRIFT Authors' Iconic Works by DB
I have attempted to assemble a list of some major (and some minor) authors for the ADRIFT platform along with a game iconic of their style. The games are listed by seniority of the authors, where seniority is determined by the year of an...