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About the Story
Thaum: (noun). A unit of magical energy
Nominee, Best Implementation - 2017 XYZZY Awards
Quarter To Three
Thaumistry: In Charm’s Way put a spell on me
Thaumistry is exactly what you want if you’re an Infocom fanboy like me. It has that thoughtful, funny writing Infocom spoiled us with, dozens of just-hard-enough puzzles, a cast of characters with enough personality to be interesting, an over-the-top set-piece climax, and all the refinements you expect from a modern adventure game.
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Big Boss Battle
REVIEW | THAUMISTRY
Thaumistry is bursting with personality and charm. What it lacks in 4k resolution and orchestral soundtracks it makes up for with humor and excellent characters. The details are so easy to imagine thanks to the excellent writing and I felt as immersed as I would have been playing the newest Playstation or Xbox One RPG offering.
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A Whimsical Text Adventure
What I can say is that this game is funny. It’s full of absurdist humour and crazy characters that had me smiling for the majority of my 8 hours with it. The solutions to the problems have a very Monkey Island meets Monty Python feel to them. They’re not immediately apparent, from deep in left field with that comedy twist.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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Thaumistry, by famed implementer Bob Bates, would slot pretty well into the Legend catalog of the early 1990s. It's fun, it's breezy, and very well-polished. It's also less ambitious than the best-regarded works from Infocom or modern IF. No heavy themes, no unfamiliar gameplay mechanics, no fiendishly intricate puzzles. It'd probably be an excellent first game for newbies.
You're Eric, a struggling inventor who learns that he's also a bodger; which is to say, a wizard who seems to generate an inordinate amount of bad luck. You spend the game discovering your powers and foiling a threat to the hidden bodger community. Spellcasting is Enchanter-style, where accumulating spells with silly names and effects is the primary means of progressing through the story. The tone is "restrained zany" in the Infocom house style. Prominent members of the IF community past and present (Bates's Kickstarters and former colleagues) show up as NPCs. I enjoyed getting to prod baf up onto a stage.
The puzzles are straightforward, and most don't require a lot of lateral thinking. There are very few takeable objects, and a finite number of spells. Solving the puzzles is generally a matter of running through the list of objects and spells until a new result is obtained. With some of the spells (e.g., (Spoiler - click to show)summoning Greek waiters), there's no way to anticipate what the spell will really do, so it's just a matter of trying it everywhere until something happens.
The real strength of the game is in the implementation. It's as thoroughly-tested and bug-free as anything Infocom or Legend ever shipped, and, since we're no longer playing on Commodore 64s, much more richly implemented. It gates you in a tutorial area to begin. It ensures you can never end up in an unwinnable state. It minimizes pointless tasks, and teaches you shortcuts as you go along. There's a very handy THINK/RECAP function, which summarizes what you know and what you need to work on. There are appropriate and funny responses to almost everything, and Easter eggs everywhere. The feelies are fun and don't overstay their welcome. Presumably the hints are helpful and well-designed; I never actually looked at them. All in all, it's an extremely smooth experience. A little more friction might not have been so terrible, though.
This game was funded by kickstarter, like Hadean Lands before it. It casts you as a novice magic user who is trying to save magic folk from discovery.
The magic system is a bit unusual; it seems to rely mostly on moon-logic. In fact, a lot of the game does. There's really no connection between things; it seems like the puzzles are mostly solvable by trying everything everywhere.
Many players enjoy this style of careful play, and the game has very positive steam reviews and ratings on here, and people I've talked to liked it quite a bit.
But I like puzzle games where you can plan ahead more, like Hadean Lands. I felt like Thaumistry kept saying 'I'll notice that you tried a reasonable solution, but it's not the one I want. Just wait and be patient, kid.' I ended up stopping playing halfway and through, and left it that way for months.
So it's not my style. But it is incredibly high-quality in terms of polish. It was beta tested over and over, and looks good.
|Damp Martyrs, by Gavin Inglis and Failbetter Games|
Average member rating: (1 rating)
A wealthy heiress has disappeared! Her family suspect kidnap, and blame the Circumcellion Brotherhood: a nautical band of martyr-marauders. Join a naval task force to uncover the truth, and learn whether salvation can be found on the...
|Salt, by Gareth Damian Martin|
Average member rating: (15 ratings)
The beach is a strip of heat. You stand knee deep in the water, facing out to sea. Familiar voices shimmer behind your head. You take a breath, and then begin. - A game about swimming, thinking and the distant possibility of escape. Salt...
Leap Time, by Sarah Morayati
Average member rating: (12 ratings)
Favorite Fours From Industrious Implementors, 1G by Walter Sandsquish
Some IF writers write more than others. Here are my favorite four games from authors who've released at least half-a-dozen games to date. This list covers 1st-generation text-adventure implementors, who published the bulk of their work...
For your consideration: XYZZY-eligible Writing of 2017 by MathBrush
This is for suggesting games released in 2017 which you think might be worth considering for Best Writing in the XYZZY awards. This is not a zeroth-round nomination. The category will still be text-entry, and games not mentioned here...