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About the Story
In a Manor of Speaking is a punny adventure set in the surreal world of Calembour.
10th Place - 18th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2012)
Nominee, Best Puzzles - 2012 XYZZY Awards
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Number of Reviews: 4
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(I originally published this review on 21 October 2012 as part of my blog of IFComp 2012. This was the 23rd of 26 games I reviewed.)
I don't claim to have played many wordplay focused IF games before, but I loved this one. In a Manor of Speaking is an adventure beyond the Bermuda Triangle through a world ruled by puns. Lord Dashney is the evil figurehead who needs to be overthrown and you are the person who needs to do it, using only colloquial expressions and a bit of lateral thinking as your weapons.
The game's implementation in Release 3, the one I played, is very strong. Its puzzles are numerous, amusing and served by an excellent contextual hints system. The game's humourous tone and aesthetic are entirely coherent and the prose is hiccup free. In short, this level of quality is what I ideally want from every adventure in the comp. The immersion which results when every part of a game is working smoothly and the flow of words and actions is unbroken is hard to beat, and with only a few games left for me to review now, I can say that In a Manor of Speaking is the only game to have achieved such frictionless immersion for me in this competition. Therefore unless you hate wordplay (and this is a pretty user friendly version of it) I advise you, and all and sundry, to try In a Manor of Speaking.
Paradoxically, I find that this game's accessible comedy style makes it hard to discuss at length. Its meanings are consistently transparent, whether they are silly sight gags (metalheads whose heads are made out of metal), riffs on timeworn sayings (Spoiler - click to show)(the pudding which contains the proof) or misdirections (the game is full of bars, but only the first one is a metal rod). To write about the game's jokes like this makes them sound only groany, but puns are fascinating because while they do often prompt groaning or cries of "I hate puns," almost nobody genuinely hates a pun, except for people whose souls are broken and ugly as pitch. You know, people who are to be pitied. In fact most people enjoy being the opportunistic revealers of puns in conversation once in awhile. In a Manor of Speaking takes you into a world and mode of writing where the puns are so numerous that they are the source of all the meaning. This pushes them beyond the context of goofy pleasure and shame which often accompanies isolated real-life punning into a place where anyone is likely to enjoy them more freely.
I only encountered a couple of tiny bugs in the game and both were related to the object "a piece of your mind" and the kangarude. The solidity of implementation also extends to the majority of the parser's blocking messages, with idiosyncratic jokes on hand for most kinds of command rejection. The numerous instant deaths (which you can instantly back out of, as well) become something that you can easily anticipate, as a good number are attached to invitingly stupid actions, but you're likely to find that you still enjoy trying each one.
In a Manor of Speaking is a funny and engaging adventure with a lot of personality and a near seamless delivery. That last point is a clincher for me, whether a game is light, profound, transparent or opaque.
A clever opening to a game premise that's been done before. Quite a few times.
For originality points, I will say that this is the only game or story I've played that uses the premise that I've crash landed in the Bermuda Triangle, and that's why things are so wonky. That's where the originality ends, though.
This is Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It / Ad Verbum territory, which is territory I love, but this one doesn't rise and shine as its predecessors did. That said, I laughed a few times, and I won't say that I didn't enjoy it. I just didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed those other games, and it's pretty much impossible to not make the comparison.
This game made me smile. You crashland on the island of Calembour and have to explore it to find Handsome and give him a bag.
The whole place is full of puns and silly jokes. For instance, you can walk into a bar (ouch!) or talk to a brick wall. The solution to many puzzles made me laugh or groan. When I finally found out what to do with magic marker, I shook my head and giggled.
There is a lot of dumb juvenile humor, with perhaps too many double entendres, especially about breasts. It reminds me of my friends when I was a fourteen year old boy, so that could be a turn off.
Only recommended for fans of puns.
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Recommended ListsIn a Manor of Speaking appears in the following Recommended Lists:
Games that made me smile by MathBrush
I wanted to do a list of comedy games, but I think people rarely think "I want to play a comedy game"; to me, the phrase brings up some kind of jokey, goofy game, like many of the poorly made Twine games that people make now. Instead,...
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Games whose main 'genre' is wordplay. This list does not include games like the Edifice or Suveh Nux which have significant wordplay elements, but which are not the focus of the story.
PollsThe following polls include votes for In a Manor of Speaking:
Lost Pig type puzzle complexity by Mostly Useless
I haven't played a lot of IF, as I'm often put off by what are (for me) difficult puzzles. Without doubt the most satisfaction I've had from finishing a game has been Admiral Jota's Lost Pig, and I would love to hear about other games...
Best games you've played in 2012 by Molly
The year of our lord Two Thousand Twelve is almost over, so let's reflect back on the games we've played this year and see which ones we liked the most. Note that the games don't have to have come out in 2012 to be eligible for this...
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