The Temple of Shorgil

by Arthur DiBianca profile

2018

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Another solid DiBianca puzzlefest, November 17, 2018

I might as well state my bias up front: I love puzzle-focused games, and I think Arthur DiBianca is among the most innovative puzzle designers in IF these days. He tends to write parser games where only a few commands are allowed. Some folks in the IF community dislike that approach, but I am not one of them. In fact, I think restricting the verb set for a game heavy on puzzles and intentionally light on story is an excellent design move: It keeps the game focused on the puzzle-solving.

The Temple of Shorgil is another such puzzle-focused, limited-parser game from Arthur. The setting is that you are a scholar studying the ancient Pirothian culture. You've discovered their fabled Temple of Shorgil, and the game consists of you exploring it to uncover its secrets. But the experience of playing the game is mostly of figuring out how to place a set of figurines on pedestals in different ways. This may sound like there's not much to do, but once again (see, for example, The Wand and Inside the Facility) Arthur has taken a simple mechanic and transformed it into a large number of puzzles ranging from easy to much more difficult. The result is a unified game experience that nevertheless provides a varied, complex set of challenges. It's great design.

With the placement of objects being the mechanic, The Temple of Shorgil has some shades of his game Excelsior. It also reminds me of Inside the Facility, in that gaining more figurines unlocks new areas (in Inside the Facility, you collect higher-level keycards).

The Temple of Shorgil also features a collection of illustrations by Corinna Browning, which aren't necessary for solving the puzzles but add some nice atmosphere. The various map settings range from helpful to extremely helpful with respect to orienting yourself and solving some of the challenges.

Highly recommended for puzzle enthusiasts.