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Current Version
The post-competition release (recommended). Version 5/​221218.
Requires a Glulx interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
updated for release 5
Original Competition Entry *
Contains A Matter of Heist Urgency/A​_Matter​_of​_Heist​_Urgency.gblorb
ZIP file including: version when the competition first went live, walkthrough file and cover art.
Requires a Glulx interpreter. Visit IFWiki for download links.
Original Soundtrack *
Original music composed for the game (OGG format).
This is a pseudo-format used to represent download adviser records that apply to multiple formats.
* Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.

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A Matter of Heist Urgency

by FLACRabbit

Episode 1 of Anastasia the Power Pony

(based on 16 ratings)
8 reviews

About the Story

"CROWN JEWELS STOLEN!" scream the headlines of the Meighsalot newspapers. Anastasia the Power Pony is no ordinary horse, and she's not going to let the Smashy Llamas get away with their latest villainous plot...

Enjoy a delightfully short action-comedy featuring quirky characters, a robust >HINT system, tropical hideouts, and intense fights with kung-fu llamas.

Game Details


34th Place - 28th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2022)


If you only ever played online, now's your chance to get the rest of the full Anastasia experience. Includes every piece of music in the game plus bonus content and album cover art. Download and enjoy it today!
Reported by OtisTDog | History | Edit | Delete
This post-comp release makes changes in response to the feedback received from reviewers and play transcripts during IF Comp 2022, and makes several significant improvements and substantial additions to the game. The game is still "snack-sized" at under half an hour of play, but two new scenes (only one of which can be reached in a given playthrough) have been added to both improve pacing and provide more details about Anastasia's background. The game is intended to be fun for both children and adults, and for both newcomers to IF and long-time players. While the game can be played on-line, a sound-capable interpreter such as Gargoyle is *highly* recommended for the best playing experience.
Reported by OtisTDog | History | Edit | Delete
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Editorial Reviews

"I must admit I liked this game quite a bit. It’s fun, fast-paced, and well-executed. The writing is very good – snappy and engaging. Communicating with the game is as seamless as it gets." -Phil Riley, author of Crash
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"Haha! That was more violent than I expected." -Brad Buchanan, co-author of Esther's
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"It’s all good fun. We don’t get many action sequences in parser, and it’s nice to see it pulled off so well..." -Victor Gijsbers, author of Kerkerkruip
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"It’s short, sweet, but very, very funny, nicely written, and well implemented. I laughed so much throughout this... There are also a number of combat sequences, which were fun to play, and amusingly written. I just enjoyed that immensely." -Viv Dunstan, author of Napier's Cache
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jay___ram: "It looks like it could be extremely cute or extremely annoying, but we will see..."
ferkung: "OK... I love these characters."
jay___ram: "This one is definitely fun and cute..."
jay___ram: "This is... despite the cutesy skin, a pretty well-written action scene."
ferkung: "Kudos to the author here... that's not the first time that this has been a rather impressive parsing experience."
jay___ram: "OK -- this game rules."
ferkung: "This music... I'm loving it."
jay___ram: "I love this game!"
ferkung: "That was exceedingly cute and short."
jay___ram: "I really liked that. That's the kind of short but wide depth of play that I really love in IFComp."
ferkung: "The writing was fun... and dumb, which I very much support."
jay___ram: "Absolute huge points for polish on this one."
ferkung: "That ruled."
See the full review


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Number of Reviews: 8
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A brief action-packed pony parser game, February 7, 2023
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 1 hour

This is a parser game where the characters are all four-legged hooved creatures. It of course reminded me of My Little Pony, similar to the Daring Do episodes.

This game is unusual in that instead of focusing on traditional puzzles, it consists of primarily action sequences, outside of an initial investigation sequence.

The author says in the notes that the only way they could think of to make the fights interesting was to have multiple opponents. I have to say, I think it does help. I've played a lot of parser games with combat in them, and some of them are pretty great (like Gun Mute) but others suffer. I think the multiple opponents here help since it allows for strategy, like taking out the strongest one first or the one attacking your ally.

The implementation was actually pretty good. Something about the game as whole, though, felt just a tad thin, and I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it feels like there just could have been more, like using your powers more, more detail about you and your backstory, etc.

Edit: Since I wrote this, the game was updated with a cool little backstory if you are doing well after the first fight. It uses a technique that's very rare in parser games, and which would be annoying if overused, but is actually really cool here and helps fill in some of the gaps.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Pony superhero jewel theft brawl-em-up, just go with it, November 28, 2022
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2022

(This is a lightly-edited version of a review I posted to the IntFiction forums during 2022's IFComp).

Friends, I have by now been around the block a little bit. I’ve been playing Comps since aught-two, on and off, and in that time I’ve lost count of the cryopods I’ve woken up in, the dragons I’ve run away from, the obfuscated allegories I’ve squinted at (the prepositions I’ve left dangling)…. But this is a new one on me: sure, you could say A Matter of Heist Urgency is a straightforward enough creature, a comedy parser game, on rails, where you foil the theft of the kingdom’s crown jewels from some evildoers.

But ye gods, the details: start with the title, for one thing, which sounds like it’s trying to be a pun but one I can’t for the life of me decode; then the world, which is a completely-unexplained off-brand My Little Pony thing (this isn’t actually My Little Pony, right?); and the protagonist, Anastasia the Power Pony, whose deal is likewise basically assumed and seems to be like a horse-person-superhero, maybe with a secret identity, since before investigating the theft you “disguise as Bess” (albeit when you arrive and X ME, you’re told “You, Anastasia the Power Pony, look just like you always do”). Once you show up at the scene of the crime, it only takes a few moments of looking around to find clues indicating that the culprits must be a band of evil llamas (this is starting to feel suspiciously speciest…) and you zoom off (you can fly) and soon find yourself in the first of three extended fight sequences that wrap up the game.

Per the ABOUT text, the game’s raison d’etre actually is to test out how to do action scenes in IF, so perhaps these oddities are just about the author wanting to get to said test-bed scenes as quickly as possible. But it’s still fairly disorienting stuff, all the more so since I dunno about you, but if I were trying to come up with a premise to justify some design experimentation around fight sequences, “superhero horse jewel theft” isn’t even the 23rd one I’d come up with.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though! The off-kilter plot elements help keep the game from feeling too dry, and it’s game’s designed so you don’t really need to know much about what’s going on to make progress. Indeed, even just speaking mechanically each set piece works pretty well on its own terms. The initial investigation scene just involves typing X [SCENERY ITEM] a couple times before it automatically ends, but the game does a good job keeping track of which clues you’ve found and making the order seem natural regardless of where you start looking.

The first of the fight scenes is a little dull, admittedly – you just type ATTACK [TARGET] until you’ve worn down your three assailants, as best I can tell, with the RNG deciding whether you hit, or are hit in turn. But the remaining two mix things up in fun ways, with the second allowing you to use the environment on a pirate ship to take out mooks with a single action, and the third implementing a choice-based approach to fisticuffs for the “boss fight” that bottom-lines things just as the action is starting to wear thin. Then you get an ending – there are a couple of choices here, plus a ranking based on how efficiently you won the first fight – and that’s your lot, probably having never caught your breath or having twigged to what the heck is meant to be going on.

The game styles itself “An Anastasia the Power Pony Adventure” – though it’s the first of its kind, that subtitle seems to indicate there might be more to come. Hopefully future installments wouldn’t be quite so monomaniacally fighty, but despite my confusion I had fun with this pacy, silly game that doesn’t wear out its welcome – so I’d be down for a second installment, though I’d hope for a flashback to Anastasia’s secret origin or something so someone could explain exactly what is everybody’s deal.

EDIT: Wait, I think I got the title – it’s a pun where you pronounce “heist” like “highest”, so “a matter of highest urgency”. But that’s not at all how I'd pronounce that word! I repeat, this game is kind of zany.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Action-packed superhero silliness, February 12, 2023
by Lance Cirone (Backwater, Vermont)

A Matter of Heist Urgency has an intriguing genre mash-up of being a heist and a brawler, and one where everyone's a horse. Some ponies, some llamas, some work as pirates while others are knights and superheroes. After some brief detective work to figure out who stole your city's crown jewels, you're off to a desert island to fight a scurvy crew of llamas.

The game's got a nice style with separate "parts," each headlined with some sequenced jazz music. You have a few fights to get through before the end, and the first pits you (and your partner) against a team of three. It introduces the battle mechanics well, where you're discouraged from using the same move against an enemy more than once. RNG determines whether your attacks hit and if you dodge the enemy, but it was generally skewed in my favor, so it felt fair.

There's a scene midway through that convinced me to give this game 4 stars instead of 3. It really impressed me, and it seems to be added in response to earlier reviewer feedback, so I want to highlight it here. Please play the game before reading this part! (Spoiler - click to show)It's a flashback to Anastasia's past as a rainbow factory worker, and how it got sabotaged by a llama. We also learn about her friend's death? I assumed that's what it was. The music score here is astounding, being perfectly timed with the text, growing in intensity as it goes on, and even having some beeping in time with the rainbow meter's explosion. It adds more backstory, it's fun to follow along with, and it's a great attention-grabber after the first battle.

For the pirate battle, there's action set pieces you can take advantage of (with a little thinking) to get rid of certain enemies, guaranteed. Running around the ship, solving puzzles before the llamas could catch up to me, was a surprisingly fast-paced and intense experience. Eventually, I just chose to fight them head-on. The third battle is done in choice format, but has some nice descriptions and visuals. Each one feels dynamic and serves a purpose, so it prevents the game from getting repetitive.

I think the short, punchy nature of this game works in its favor. The wild premise and bite-sized battles make it an easy choice to just jump into and enjoy. In that way, it's like the IF equivalent of a Saturday morning cartoon. The IFDB page and in-game header say that Heist Urgency is the first in a series, and I'd easily play a sequel to this.

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A Matter of Heist Urgency on IFDB

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This is version 16 of this page, edited by OtisTDog on 1 June 2023 at 1:26am. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page