Happyland

by Rob Fitzel

Mystery
2020

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Enjoyable detective game, December 2, 2020
by Stian
Related reviews: ifcomp 2020

Written entirely in javascript by the author, Happyland is a showcase for a custom parser engine initially inspired by both Infocom games and choose-your-own-adventure books. It has been developed beyond that, however, and sports functionality almost on par with games written in Inform or TADS. Lacking some fairly standard verbs, such as pull and move, your interaction with Happyland is confined to walking, talking, taking and examining, though it also features a neat system for taking and comparing fingerprints.

Considering the importance of asking questions in an investigation like this, character responses are very brief and to the point, which makes for simpler deduction but takes away some of the immersion; you never get much of a deep understanding of the characters. The same goes for descriptions of rooms and objects. As a puzzle, it is quite simple and straightforward; visiting all the locations and talking to all the characters makes it obvious who the murderer is. Nothing is well hidden either, and there are no red herrings to speak of. In the end it took me less than an hour to complete. It was not particularly challenging, but rather enjoyable nonetheless.