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The Bones of Rosalinda

by Agnieszka Trzaska profile

fantasy
2022

Web Site

(based on 13 ratings)
7 reviews

About the Story

”Hey, you! Skeleton lady! Can you hear me? You’ve got to pull yourself together and run before the Necromancer turns you into one of his minions!”

Rosalinda realised she wasn’t dreaming. She was in a dark cave, most of her body was missing and there was an agitated brown mouse yelling at her.

”O-okay,” she said. “How do I get out of this place? And... where are my legs?”

Her first day of un-life wasn’t going to be easy.


Game Details


Awards

Winner, Best Puzzles; Nominee (for making the goulash), Best Individual Puzzle; Nominee (for Piecrust the mouse), Best Individual NPC; Nominee (for Rosalinda), Best Individual PC; Nominee, Best Implementation; Winner, Best Use of Innovation - 2022 XYZZY Awards

Best in Show, Main Festival - Spring Thing 2022

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Number of Reviews: 7
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
A clever and charming puzzler in Twine, April 14, 2022
by bkirwi
Related reviews: Spring Thing 2022

Narratively, this is a lighthearted and comic fantasy story; mechanically, it's an interesting mix choice-based game with RPG-style elements and a world that wouldn't feel out of place in old-school Infocom.

The main characters are quite likeable, and the imagery is often strong. (Having one character riding around in another's empty eye socket is an unusual and visceral mental picture.) It's written in the third-person past tense, which I found a little hard to get used to, though in the end I do think it works for a game with this sort of storybook feel to it.

The world model is unusually well developed for a Twine game, as richly modeled as many parser fictions. The puzzles are also pretty old school - finding, using, and combining objects, exploring underground passages - and well put together. The implementation is (characteristically for the author) very solid and thorough.

One of the more unusual features of the game allows switching between multiple characters or detaching body parts and letting them move around independently. This is narratively interesting - you get multiple perspectives on parts of your environment, for example - and it sets up some unusual puzzles.

The interface is also well implemented, but sometimes a bit tedious. For example, what might in a parser game be `put arm on table` would involve several clicks: list parts, detach arm, pick up arm, open inventory, select arm, use arm, select table. Streamlining these sorts of manipulations might have kept the momentum up at that critical moment when the player's figured out a puzzle and is putting the solution into action. The game also preserves some rather unloved aspects of classic parser games, like an inventory limit and a maze, though I found to be only minor trouble.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
She's a skeleton. He's a mouse. They fight necromancers., June 15, 2022
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: Spring Thing 2022

Oh, what a lovely way to wrap up the main festival (I beta tested the remaining quartet of games)! After a rewarding but, I have to admit, somewhat grueling month of playing and reviewing, getting sucked into the Bones of Rosalinda is like sinking into a warm bath. This is another in a line of games from the author that import parser-y touches like an inventory, compass navigation, and a world model into a choice-based framework, and the resulting gameplay is something like the early-90s graphic adventures of my youth, with lots of scope to explore and experiment but no guess-the-verb flailing required. The game’s comedic chops make the comparison even more apt, with a high joke density that anticipates that you’ll try to hide a needle in a haystack for no reason and character names that left me smiling (the fact that the necromancer’s assistant is named Albert makes me laugh for reasons that I don’t feel capable of explaining) – but where some of the LucasArts classics could be too cool for school, TBR has an appealing cast of characters, from resolute hero skeleton Rosalinda to your brave-despite-himself mouse sidekick Piecrust, to the ogre chef who always thinks the best of people. Add in a clever set of puzzle mechanics hinging on Rosalinda’s ability to detach her limbs, and you’ve got something here for just about any lover of IF.

Admittedly, the quest you’re given from the off is relatively conventional – in a fuzzily-defined medieval fantasy world, you’ve got to stop a necromancer bent on no good by navigating his dungeon and bearding him in his lair – but the twist that he’s a newbie who hasn’t quite got the hang of the gig, and you play the first skeleton he’s managed to animate without managing to bend to his will, lends more than enough freshness to proceedings. The relatively straightforward opening also helps ease the player into the game, alongside the tutorial-like was the first set of challenges teach you about the game’s basic mechanics – by solving a gradually-escalating sequence of puzzles you get walked through how the inventory works, the different things you can accomplish by sending your limbs or skull off separately from your body (I feel like I’ve played other games where the player character has similar abilities, but I can’t think of any that have implemented it as smoothly and systematically as TBR), and how to switch perspectives to Piecrust. The game then opens up a bit, presenting some more complex puzzles and a larger set of rooms to explore, though not in an overwhelming way – a trick the game pulls repeatedly to keep the pacing tight and limit the number of objects and objectives at play at any point in time.

Since so much of the gameplay is puzzle-driven, it’s good that the quality here is very high. There’s a strong variety, since between Rosalinda’s multi-competent anatomy and Piecrust’s mousely attributes, you have a lot of potential tools to bring to bear, and the game doesn’t hit any one specific approach too heavily. There’s also a mix of funny object-based puzzles, as well as a couple that require thinking through your conversational approaches with some of the other denizens of the dungeon. One puzzle did strike me as a bit hard (Spoiler - click to show)(making one of your arms into an impromptu candlestick holder) though this might be down to the solution requiring you to use the inventory interface in a way I hadn’t previously tried, even though it’s clearly signposted. And I wished there was an automatic way to tell one of the main characters to follow the other, especially in the maze (don’t worry, it’s not that bad!) But overall the puzzles hit a satisfying level of difficulty, and nothing requires too much clicking around.

And as mentioned, the world and characters are just delightful. I laughed at the puffed-up demon who’s nonplussed when his decapitation of you doesn’t lead to very satisfying results (seeing you hop after your skull, he remarks “I thought only chickens could do that”). I gave out a little cheer when Piecrust dug deep to stand up for his friend, and another when I read the heartwarming ending. The game is a real treat, and I’m hoping the epilogue’s promise of more adventures to come for the dynamic due of Rosalinda and Piecrust comes true.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
♫---the headbone connected to the ... neck bone---♪, April 15, 2022
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: Horror, Fantasy

The Bones of Rosalinda has a very compelling storyline. The minimally interactive prologue sets the mood, prepares the scene and introduces the characters. The equally minimally interactive epilogue provides very satisfying closure for the story, not only for the protagonist but for the side characters too.
Both are quite long and very well written, giving the player the opportunity to dig in to the story.
In between is, of course, the game. It's up to the player to pick up the introductory setup and carry it through to the finale, jumping through a great deal of hoops large and small while doing so.

The characters in Bones are a joy to get to know. They all have enough detail and glimpses of a backstory so that not one of them feels (or smells) like just having been pressed out of a plastic mold.
I particularly liked Piecrust, a talking mouse with a rather bleak outlook on the world and his future in it, and a distracting enthousiasm for foodstuffs of any kind. The apathetic deadpan delivery of his remarks made me laugh more than once, especially near the beginning of the game.
The elaborate conversations and cutscenes provide the player with background and insights to fully appreciate the characters.

The difficulty of the puzzles was just right for me, once I really got the central gameplay mechanic. It's PC-juggling.The player has to switch player characters with different abilities (and sometimes assemble them...) to solve the problems facing the protagonist.This mechanic is introduced gently and later expanded upon, providing a gentle learning curve.
Besides the PC-juggling there is also inventory-juggling. Lots of it. A shortcut to directly GIVE an object from one PC to the next without first dropping it would be nice. Also, (Spoiler - click to show)the ability to ATTACH limbs straight out of the backpack would come in handy.
Most of the puzzles are variations on the lock-and-key theme. The Bones of Rosalinda shows with gusto that original variations on that theme are still possible. Very satisfying.

I had a blast playing through this game. Highly recommended!

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Outstanding Twine Game of 2022 - Author's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best Twine game of 2022. Voting is anonymous and open only to IFDB members...

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Trailblazer Award of 2022 - Player's Choice by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2022 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for a game of 2022 that you saw as a trailblazer. Voting is open to all IFDB...

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