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About the Story
Guttersnipe: Carnival of Regrets is a humorously grotesque (or grotesquely humorous) game about a circa 1929 street urchin and her pet sewer rat trying to survive a trip through a dark carnival full of sin, secrets, and murderous clowns.
Alumni's Choice Ribbon, Main Festival - Spring Thing 2017
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Number of Reviews: 3
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We join our protagonist Lil' Ragamuffin (Rags to her friends) and her pet rat/best friend Percy while they are preparing an evening feast: a leather shoe roasted to crispy goodness above their small campfire. A man approaches and offers Rags a way out from the streeturchin life: join the carnival! He gives her a free ticket to come and see it for herself. Against Percy's advice, Rags, unafraid, visits the carnival and soon finds herself confronted with some very nasty clowneries indeed.
Rags is a great character. She's small with a big mouth, keen on adventure and very curious about anything that crosses her path. I often chuckled when I read what actually came out of her mouth when I entered a simple ASK ABOUT command.
Percy the rat is her counterbalance in some ways. He's more cautious, more prone to using his common sense and more knowledgeable about the "civilized" world. To the player, Percy functions as an in-game cluegiver, comparable to Crystal from Illuminato Iniziato, though not as deeply realized. The player should treat him as an in-game convenience rather than as a last resort hint-system. Small nitpick: Percy's hints appear to be location-specific. If you forgot to ask him about the blue-striped giraffe ropeskipping on the ballroom balcony, you'll have to return to that location. (note: No blue-striped giraffes were found nor hurt during my playthrough.)
The map of Carnival of Regrets is very well done. The carnival grounds are clearly subdivided in areas like the Side Show and the Animal Pens. Parts are blocked off by an adversary, almost like a level-boss, ensuring that the map does not become overwhelming and that the player will have (probably) seen everything before crossing to the next area.
The carnival is filled with a diverse and entertaining cast of colourful characters, some helpful (but mostly powerless themselves), some outright dangerous to stray little streeturchins...
It's a true joy to read the adventures of Lil' Ragamuffin as they unfold. The writing is gleefully creepy, with evocative and adjective-rich descriptions of many things grotesque and scary. The enjoyment of the author shines through in reading these passages. In the bigger picture, the action is well-paced, there is lots of freedom to explore, well-placed bottlenecks and a growing sense of urgency as you learn more about the underlying mystery of the carnival.
Sadly, Carnival of Regrets is bogged down by a lack of smooth and trustworthy gameplay.
The world and its contents are seriously underimplemented, and what level of implementation there is is unevenly spread. Sometimes an unimportant scenery-object is vividly described and attempts to interact with it are accounted for, while there are plot-relevant objects that are hastily and too tersely described. This underimplementation means that the game misses many opportunities for funny or helpful responses to "wrong" commands. More importantly, the lack of synonyms for important verbs (for instance: SCREAM works, SHOUT does not) can lead to frustrating attempts at mindreading.
The puzzles are easy-to-medium difficulty. They are well thought out and well clued, some very clever in concept. The lack of smooth implementation hinders the player's enjoyment however. For most puzzles I had the correct solution figured out, but it was still helpful to use David Welbourn's excellent (as always!) walkthrough to get the exact commands when I got stuck.
All criticism aside, Guttersnipe: The Carnival of Regrets is funny, delightfully scary and very well written. Recommended!
Having played Night House as my first ever digital interactive fiction, and having adored it, I figured I'd stick to the same author and try another of Bitter Karella's games. Glad I did! This is a very humorous game with lots to look at, lots to do, and lots of people to talk to! Incredibly imaginative, wonderfully descriptive, great character- and world-building, fab plot and wonderful puzzles - the type that are intuitive enough to solve, but hard enough that they take a while and you feel pretty pleased with yourself when you figure them out! Can't wait to play the rest of the Lil Ragamuffin series.
I played this Guttersnipe game after I played the IFComp 2017 one.
This is a big Quest game. You play as a ragamuffin urchin who is trying to be the number one urchin of all time. The game uses a variety of humorous dialects to show character, including yours.
You enter a dark circus, and have to discover its secrets. This is a big game with a big map, with 1-2 puzzles per room. Generally, an item found in one room will solve one puzzle somewhere else.
I liked this game, and would have given it 4 stars, but I found it a bit difficult to complete, and I abandoned it partway through. If it had a complete walkthrough, I would probably give it 4 stars.
This author has a number of other games that are big and well-received, including Night House and the other Guttersnipe game.
Edit: I finished playing, and the parts I hadn't been able to reach were actually great! I wish this were ported to Inform or TADS.
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