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About the Story
A Fair Game
A berserker's at the circus, and they're ruining everyone's performances! And all you have to stop them is a stack of custard pies, a squeaky red nose and your own wits. But the show must go on!
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Number of Reviews: 3
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I got to be a beta tester for Honk!, and the game blew me away.
The game takes place in and around a circus, where the performances are being sabotaged by a mysterious Phantom. You, Lola the Clown, must use your skills (mostly pie-throwing and nose-honking) to put a stop to it. The main portion of the gameplay is figuring out how to work through your circus mates' performances by using the tools you find around the carnival in creative ways. The performances can be solved in any order you want, and each has an engaging and fast-paced puzzle to go with it. You're also given as many chances as you need to get through one, and the respective performers have plenty of hints to offer, so it never feels like you're out of options.
Each of the characters are full of personality. The game shows this through letting you talk to them before, during, and after the performances, explore the inside of their campers, and giving each one unique speaking styles and idle actions. The first puzzle I chose to solve was with Freda the strongwoman, who happens to be your girlfriend. During her final show, lifting up an audience member, the Phantom shows up and turns out to be too heavy even for her. While the solution is inventive and one of the easier segments here, there's also a lot of ways for this to go wrong -- some of them involve hurting Freda, which made me feel guilty and forced me to go back, a testament to just how well this came sold me on its characters.
Ken Lawn's show was easily one of the funniest parts of the game for me, which is saying a lot. Lawn is a goose tamer who tries to have his goose tell a story for the audience (titled The Goose Who Ran Into Traffic And Got Hit By A Car) through hand motions -- but when the Phantom blindfolds the goose before the show, Lola has to use noises to get it to follow along. Lawn's oddly serious, no-nonsense personality contrasted with him desperately gesturing at a blindfolded goose had me laughing even when I was still figuring out the puzzle.
Adagio the magician also has her magic show sabotaged. The Phantom steals her method of escape when she ties herself up and lowers herself into a tank of water, forcing you to think fast and come up with an alternate solution to cut the rope. I liked the solution here a lot: (Spoiler - click to show)it makes use of a lot of small parts you'll probably have noticed, but not known how to put together yet.
This game's jokes also bring it up a lot: multiple lines had me laughing out loud. One highlight would have to be the dialogue when Adagio is about to tell you how her magic trick works. Rather than keep it a secret, you can ask if you can tell Freda. Then Ken, then your boss, then your brothers, then the guy who runs the Monster Manor, then the goose... she says yes to that last one, at least. There's also plenty of fun to be had in throwing pies at whatever you can imagine. Default responses are practically nowhere, as the game responded accordingly to whatever I tried to do during my playthrough -- everything has a bit of extra flavor to it from Lola's perspective.
I don't want to go into the endgame portion too much, but I found it satisfying and everything comes together in the end. The one flaw I had was a janky mechanic involving the circus ring and how hard it was to get back up once you left -- but I hear that this has been addressed since I played it. With all this said, Honk! is a masterclass in working humor, puzzles, and characters I care about all in one easily-accessible package. There's no objectionable content here and nothing is scary, it's very kid-friendly! I'd recommend it to anyone.
I deeply enjoyed this game. It’s a well-scoped, polished parser game with a lot of humor.
The idea is that you are a circus clown at a circus that is being sabotaged by a villainous Phantom! You have three friends whose acts get sabotaged and you have to find a way to defeat the enemy.
Most of the puzzles revolve around finding creative uses of items, although there are also some other puzzle types like math.
The characters are pretty distinct and memorable, like the grumpy animal trainer or your ‘dense’ muscle bound girlfriend. There are a lot of hidden details in the game, like a character being trans.
Most of the puzzles made perfect sense, and hit the sweet spot between being non-obvious but not being too hard to figure out. I did get stuck on the rabbit puzzle, but once I got hints for it I realized that I just hadn’t experimented enough earlier. I enjoyed the payoff of the game name.
I like a circus setting for a parser game (Ballyhoo is one of my favorite Infocom works) and the pacing worked great here. Excellent work, deeply enjoyed it.
This was fun! I completed it without using the walkthrough or any hints, which always makes me feel accomplished; the puzzles weren’t too easy, either, but were lightly challenging in an enjoyable way (and there was one I found especially clever). The circus setting was well-detailed; I especially liked the variety of useful props I acquired. The writing was funny (“The Ringmaster began his career as a tightrope walker, and to this day he’s still high-strung”), the NPCs were all distinctive, and I’ll always love an anti-greedy-developer plotline. I also really appreciated the casual queerness, e.g.:
You’ve watched her pull off many incredible feats over the years, among them pulling a rabbit out of a hat, sawing herself in half, transitioning her gender, and pulling a rabbit out of a different hat.
I do think it would have been a stronger game with a bit more polish. Some examples:
-Unimplemented nouns providing the classic “You see no [thing mentioned in room description] here.”
-Conversation options for each of the NPCs still showing up long after they don’t make sense anymore.
-While I liked each of the three acts being its own self-contained puzzle, being able to repeat them (endlessly?) after failing felt like it broke the narrative a bit, especially since you couldn’t discuss your failure with the involved performer at all.
-A portion of the end game sequence seemingly not having anything for the player to do besides wait.
I think a post-comp release could easily take care of these things, though, and make for a truly solid game.
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Average member rating: (11 ratings)
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|The Little Match Girl 2: Annus Evertens, by Ryan Veeder|
Average member rating: (11 ratings)
The little match girl is hired to assassinate a disgusting old man.
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Average member rating: (49 ratings)
Starcross, Infocom's science fiction mind-bender, launches you headlong into the year 2186 and the depths of space. And not without good reason, for you are destined to rendezvous with a gargantuan starship from the outer fringes of the...