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About the Story
A small, puzzleless adaptation of the old folktale, created as an English-learning aid.
Language: English (en)
First Publication Date: January 24, 2012
Current Version: 1
Development System: Inform 7
Forgiveness Rating: Merciful
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Number of Reviews: 2
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The Town Musicians casts the player as a hunting dog past its prime and driven off by its master. As in the original folk tale, the player character must find some other animals who are no longer being supported by their human owners, and form a small band, with the intention of finding their fortune in the city.
The game is designed as an aid for English-language learners, and is meant to be as accessible as possible. This is an admirable purpose, supported by the relatively simple and repetitive language of the story.
The interaction, however, is quite a bit rougher than it probably needs to be in a game for beginning players. The description says that the game is puzzle-less, and this is perhaps strictly true: one spends the first part of the story mostly in taking actions we're directly instructed to take (such as sniffing around for a rabbit, or following other characters from place to place). I found that this was not entirely easy even so, however, because there were a lot of missing synonyms and scenery, and even for the game's first action, I went through several attempts (SNIFF CLOVER, SNIFF GROUND, SMELL HEDGES, etc.) before lighting on a command that would do the intended action.
It's thanks to one of these situations that I got permanently stuck before the end of the game: our little party got lost in the woods, and though the other characters claimed to be able to see a cottage nearby, I could neither enter nor interact with a cottage object, but wound up wandering more in the woods. I wasn't able to find any hints or clues to put me back on the right track.
I commend the concept behind the creation of this game, but I believe it would need to be stronger on IF fundamentals in order to fulfill its intended purpose: this is a frustrating play for a native English speaker familiar with IF, so I suspect it would be flatly impenetrable to someone who was just learning.
Otherwise, it might be of some interest to people who especially enjoy IF recastings of classic fairy and folk stories, but even in that category, I found it a difficult play.
I also got lost in the woods. (Spoiler - click to show) Despite the continuous reassurance of the cottages direction provided by talking to the cat - "Look, the light is right there to the west!" - I can't find anything. I suspect we may not be moving at all.