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Detective work, North Pole style, January 7, 2023
The enjoyment I got from Save Bigfoot's Christmas was well worth the struggles I had with the parser. This seems to be more a case of the author still learning Adventuron. It's a tidy, balanced game, in the big picture. You're an elf assigned with verifying who has been naughty and nice. Bigfoot is your subject. He believes he has been nice, but Santa has received information otherwise. That information is out of context, and your job is to find out why.
The crimes are not especially terrible: Bigfoot's hair is near a littered soda can in a national park, BIGFOOT has been sprayed on the side of a house in Hoboken, New Jersey, and Mrs. Maple's children have fingered Bigfoot as the thief of one of her pies. The graphics? Well, it's probably old hat to compare an Adventuron game to Sierra AGI graphics, but this feels particularly close to the good bits without rehashing any old Sierra puzzles, with graphics changing as you make progress, so that is very neat.
These locations are, unsurprisingly, spread out, and you need to go through a teleporter to get to them. In each one, your main goal is to (Spoiler - click to show)get rid of an NPC so you can rummage around the environs to find the needed evidence. The puzzles have a good balance of absurdism. In one case, there's a garage making a lot of noise, and you find a garage door opener. But of course the battery comes from another of the areas! So the puzzles have balance this way. You have to go in and out of the teleporter a few times.
Accomplishing each main task is pretty varied. Sometimes you must do something off-stage, and one (the campground) is pretty complex. There are a couple spare items I didn't figure the purpose of (the toy robot,) but the descriptions and basic verbs managed to clue me into what to do or try.
Brian Rushton's review mentions some of the exact verbs you need. This game pointed to a high-level weakness of Adventuron and maybe parsers in general: for Mrs. Maple's pie, I had an item to use and saw what to use it on, but the verb was tricky. Perhaps having a hint-cue if I typed both items would help, so the player doesn't flail too much. It was more notable than usual, since for an AAA battery, you couldn't type AAA or battery but had to type both. So hopefully this warning lets you know where not to get stuck.
Having that aha moment to get rid of the campers was the high point for me--after that, I had a bunch of wobbles, but the game clued me nicely to make progress inevitable but still challenging. Combined with a small puzzle-maze the game only made you go through once (I'm glad this user-friendliness seems to be more common!) it was clear the author was committed to the player having fun and was willing to offer ways to streamline the pedantic bits. There are still a few that could be sanded. For instance, you need to enter the transporter out and the portal back a lot, so ENTER TRANSPORTER and ENTER PORTAL could, after a try or two, be replaced by IN. Disambiguation for similar items could be honed. But there's nothing to really make you bash your head. SBC, despite being slightly raw, is genuinely uplifting and clever, so the bumps when the parser fights you a bit are quickly forgotten.