Muggle Studies

by M. Flourish Klink profile

Fan fiction

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Number of Ratings: 18
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1-18 of 18

- SongoftheWolfy, October 22, 2021

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Unmagical Wizardry, March 3, 2021
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: Fantasy

After your worldview has been shaken when the Wizard Dumbledore appeared in your flat and offered you a job, you wake up the next day with a hangover and a signed contract to teach "Muggle Studies" at Hogwarts Academy. When you arrive there, the halls and corridors are abandoned because of a spell gone wrong. You must set things straight without resort to magic.

Muggle Studies is set in Hogwarts Academy, that grand fantasy-medieval castle in a hidden part of England. You start off in Dumbledore's office and must make your way down a tower and back up again after gathering what you need.
Although a tower with its limited room for branching hallways and side-rooms makes for a good setting for a straightforward text-adventure, it is also very narrow and linear. The gamespace feels cramped because of this. It is easy to forget that you are supposedly in this great building with all sorts of corridors , halls and other towers, let alone that it stands in a wide landscape with dark forests. A few windows with lush descriptions of the shingled roofs and the towering walls outside the tower would have pulled the space more open. Maybe even a view of Hagrid's cabin or the living tree in the distance to remind players of the universe they're in. The one window I could look through gave a very generic description of green woods and a glimpse of water outside.

The puzzles in Muggle Studies are good, but nothing too imaginative. This is beginner-level IF, where exploring and TAKE x WITH y suffices for the most part. The puzzles are very well hinted, without too much handholding. The game has one room where you have to figure out the answer to four riddles, a puzzle device rarely seen in modern IF, but which fit very well in this setting. A puzzle that does not work so well is a coded magic book (Spoiler - click to show)where the cipher is a simple ROT13. I decided to decode it manually to get some sense of achievement out of it, but I would have preferred if the author had invented a simple code him/herself (? I can't tell from the name.) and put a deciphering book somewhere hidden in the tower.
There are a good number of books and notes around that give clues and entertainment. I especially liked the Book of Herbs, where you can LOOK UP a large number of magical plants from the index, most of which are of no importance to the game.
Another nice touch like this is the file of misbehaviors and punishments in Mr. Filch's room, where you can read about some of the misschievous plans of Hogwarts students.

The game handles conversations through TALK TO menus, which fits perfectly with the difficulty. There are always some fun options to talk about next to the important topics.

In keeping with the beginner difficulty level, there is a tutorial voice that gives advice on proper syntax for commands. Unfortunately, it sounds very pedantic to anyone who has played IF before.

The best part of the game to me is the slowly unfolding backstory involving your grandmother and your ex-girlfriend. It gives an emotional dimension to your character in this otherwise standard gathering-magical-objects quest.

A nice diversion for a few hours.

- Kantokusei, November 25, 2020

- Rainbow Fire , August 27, 2020

- Sammel, April 1, 2020

- Guenni (At home), March 7, 2018

- Wanderlust, December 28, 2017

- stet, November 22, 2017

- Marco Innocenti (Florence, Italy), October 1, 2017

- Juleske, December 31, 2012

- Rotonoto (Albuquerque, New Mexico), October 18, 2012

- Sam Kabo Ashwell (Seattle), June 11, 2012

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), April 15, 2012

- EJ, April 13, 2012

- Dannii (Australia), April 7, 2012

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
A game with a touch of magic, April 1, 2012
by Joey Jones (UK)

Muggle Studies is essentially a treasure hunt game, with a few puzzles and riddles. Fortunately, it is not just a treasure hunt game: the faithful and imaginative rendering of Hogwarts, and the protagonist's personal journey both pull the game up from its less than auspicious structure.

Muggle Studies, like other works of fan fiction, requires some knowledge of the original works to be fully appreciated. Like many people my age, I grew up reading Harry Potter books with each new one being devoured a day or two after release. A lot of my friends were into Harry Potter fan fiction, but it's never been my cup of tea. That said, the exploring of Hogwarts and the discovery of the world of magic is more compelling in interactive fiction. The use of the second person lends immediacy and intimacy with the environs that is lacking in a typical graphical Harry Potter game where you play out someone else's troubles from the distance of a third person perspective.

Though it is written in the second person, you play as a very concrete individual with their own history; and the weaving in of Alice's personal story through reminiscences and flashbacks adds both another layer of mystery to the story and gives greater emotional depth to the exploration and subsequent discoveries of the game.

If you're a fan of the Harry Potter series then playing the game is a must.

- Ruth A, April 1, 2012

- Jonathan Blask (Milwaukee, WI, USA), March 31, 2012

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