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Long, ambitious parser game that needs more polish, January 9, 2019
Anno 1700 is a long parser game written in ADRIFT. Its cover, title, and blurb together combine to make it sound like time travel (backwards, to the past), pirates, and romance will be involved. I was envisioning something like Plundered Hearts meets The Outlander.
This turned out to be only partially correct, though. There's definitely time travel and pirates. However, Anno 1700 features much less romance than the cover art seemed to imply to me.
Anno 1700 is quite ambitious. It's not only long; there are also some complicated puzzle sequences (one in particular in mid-game), as well as an interesting setting and story.
Unfortunately, however, I ran into several implementation issues early in the game. For example,
(Spoiler - click to show)I floundered around for a long time trying to figure out exactly the right phrase to tell Susan that I had arrived for work. TELL SUSAN ABOUT ME, ASK SUSAN ABOUT JOB, ASK SUSAN ABOUT HOTEL, TALK TO SUSAN - none of these worked. Finally I got SAY HELLO to work.
After obtaining my room key from Susan I then went upstairs and had trouble getting the game to let me enter my room. I tried UNLOCK DOOR, UNLOCK DOOR WITH KEY, and UNLOCK ROOM 101 WITH KEY before finally achieving success with UNLOCK DOOR 101 WITH KEY.
Inside my room I successfully managed to take the crack in the closet and carry it around with me.
I wasn't sure what to do next, so I went downstairs to talk to Susan again. SAY HELLO a second time just returned the command prompt.
I went back to my room, and the text said that after entering I dropped my suitcase on the bed and quickly changed into something more comfortable. But I wasn't carrying the suitcase anymore; I had left it in the closet before going downstairs. I had also changed into something more comfortable my first time in my room.
At this point, remembering the blurb's IFComp 2018 estimate of more than two hours, I decided to pull up the walkthrough and just follow it for the rest of the game. Which was kind of a shame, because there are the makings of a really excellent piece of IF here: I enjoyed the story, and the setting is strong. Also, the author has clearly put a lot of work into designing the flow of the plot and constructing some intricate puzzles. But Anno 1700 is unfortunately marred by its implementation, as well as some underclued puzzles. Having another five testers to play all the way through the game, find bugs, and suggest synonyms or better clues would have gone a long way to helping Anno 1700 achieve the potential that I think it has.
Finally, a couple of things I particularly enjoyed about Anno 1700:
(Spoiler - click to show)The graphic of the parchment is really, really well-done. It was quite a pleasant surprise to type EXAMINE PARCHMENT and have that graphic appear. My only suggestion here would be to display it with the READ PARCHMENT command as well; I almost missed it.
Also, I liked being able to find the secret passage behind the closet in the present-day as well as when I've gone back in time. In general, I found the connections between the hotel in the present and the hotel in the past to be thought through well.