The Wizard Sniffer

by Buster Hudson profile

Fantasy
2017

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Number of Reviews: 13
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Humor nose no bounds , December 23, 2021

The Wizard Sniffer is a light-hearted, hilarious romp that subverts just about every fairy tale trope. The puzzles are engaging without being too difficult, and the hint mechanism is quite clever. The ending is very satisfying, and makes me wish for a sequel!


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Unique, intriguing, and hilarious, October 20, 2021
by mg51
Related reviews: five stars, limited verbs

This is one of the most entertaining IF games I've played, period. The story isn't overly complicated but it's never boring, and while the "twist" (Spoiler - click to show)that the pig is the princess didn't take me long to figure out, that didn't detract from the experience at all, as enough hints are dropped later in the game that it shouldn't be a surprise by the time it's revealed.

The gist of the game is that you're playing as a pig, and because of that, you are very limited in what you can personally do and need to manipulate the NPCs around you in order to navigate the world. It makes for a completely different kind of gameplay experience and puzzles that are entirely unlike those you find in standard IF games. I enjoyed it immensely.

The characters were a charming mix of standard archetypes and subversions of those same archetypes (Spoiler - click to show)(the brave but dimwitted knight, the cowardly but reliable squire, the evil sorcerer, and the vain prince) and I found myself somewhat invested in their stories. (Spoiler - click to show)I especially enjoyed Tuck and Tristain's awkward friendship, as it defied both hetero and homosexual romantic cliches.

As far as difficulty, this game was on the easier side, but it wasn't so simple that it detracted from my experience personally. I think it is a good game for beginners or players who might often rely on guides and hints to finish games.

TL;DR: Wizard Sniffer is charming, engaging, funny, and doesn't require a huge time commitment. I loved it.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
One of the best, June 15, 2021

I've not played many games that had me laughing out loud, but this was one of them. I do wonder if Buster Hudson is a Terry Pratchett fan as many of the jokes reminded me of the Discworld books.
My favourite character by far was Sir Leonhart because of all the ridiculous stuff he does.
I'm not the best at puzzle solving, but I managed to complete it without needing many hints. I checked the Club Floyd transcript a couple of times during play. Once to see if I had encountered a bug, but turns out I was just sniffing slightly the wrong thing. The other time I felt I was wandering round in circles not sure where to go next.
I only realised the game even has built-in hints when I read what lies behind the spoiler tags in reviews on here after finishing it. I might replay it just to see what they're like.
The limited set of commands is a brilliant idea, and made perfect sense since you're a pig. I would argue that it made puzzles a bit more easier to solve as well because there could be no cases of guess the verb.
Speaking of puzzles, my favourite is the (Spoiler - click to show)vending machine. I thought I was going to be there for days trying to work out how to get leonhart to press the right switches, least of all figuring out myself what it all meant. I'm not a fan of complex contraption puzzles in IF. But no, all I needed to do was get the gallant knight to do what he does best. Smash! Fantastic.
I loved the twist, and the message. I don't want to say much about it, other than that it could have been poorly handled, but it wasn't.
It's been a couple of weeks since I played it, so I've probably forgotten what else I wanted to say. So all I will say is stop reading my waffle and go and play it. :)


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Not-princesses all around!, June 4, 2021
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: Fantasy, Puzzler

It all begins with a rather awkward protagonist to control: a pig (which can alledgedly sniff out wizards...) Since pigs walk on four feet and have no opposable thumbs, a lot of commands are thrown out the window by nature of the PC. And although pigs are known to be very clever animals by those who study them (pigycists?), this particular pig does seem to rise even above normal intelligence levels of other members of the species Sus scrofa. For one thing, it can read...

Seeing that this smart pig is somewhat limited in the handiness department, it must find other ways to further its goals. Cue NPCs. By virtue of an excellent grasp of human psychology, our protagonist-pig can manipulate the other characters into following it around and it nudges them to interact with objects or other characters through very deliberately SNIFFing of pieces of the surroundings. Different characters will act upon this sniffing in different ways, according to their nature.

One of the pig's major ways to solve puzzles is therefore to choose the right NPC to come along and do the hands-on work. Instead of switching between PCs with their special abilities, here our pig-protagonist has to switch between NPC accomplices. The way this is handled in-game is both elegant and hilarious.

The puzzles flow seamlessly from the story and the setting. Some of them are pig-adjusted variations on standard adventure-fare, while others are truly surprising and original.

The writing is fresh and crisp, with a truly great comedic touch. There is lots of physical slapstick comedy, but at least as much of the humour comes from the pig's observations of the humans. Our pig always keeps a certain distance and so can easily see through the notions about identity the NPCs have about themselves.

Through these observations and the development of the story, what started as a laugh-out-loud comedy evolves into a character-driven drama by the finale. The Aesop that becomes clear near the end could have been cliché and heavy-handed, but the lightness and subtlety of the writing lifts it far above a finger-waving moral-of-the-story.

Truly one of the greatest games I have ever played.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A fresh take on fantasy, March 25, 2021

This witty puzzle game has such a unique charm! As others have pointed out, the humor is reminiscent of monty python or Blackadder, but the jokes don't come at the expense of the emotional heart of the story. There were many moments that made me gasp or laugh out loud while playing. The dialogue is well-written, the puzzles are clever, and the entire premise feels like a fresh take on the genre.


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Hysterical telling of a sweet story, with fun puzzles to boot, October 16, 2020

I introduced my partner to IF with this game, not quite knowing what to expect. I haven't played much since the 90s, and I wasn't sure what they would make of it. It was an excellent choice.

The writing is clear and dryly funny. Room descriptions are shown once in full, and then it cuts to the chase. The limited verb set avoided any scramble to satisfy the parser. What's more, the constrained parser serves the story in both shallow and deep ways.

The puzzles were just difficult enough to be fun without ever shutting us down---we resorted to hints just a few times, and the hint system is as well integrated into the story as everything else. Relatedly, there are no "dead-ends": you can't make a choice so wrong that you'll be stuck, and you can always UNDO to get back to where you were. What could be bad?


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A true joy to play!, October 1, 2020
by RadioactiveCrow (Irving, TX)
Related reviews: 1-2 hours

One of the best games I've ever played. It was fun, a good length without overstaying its welcome, light-hearted and humorous while still being challenging. Loved how it seemed like a goofy game at first, but then you discovered there was more to the story than it first appeared. The interaction between the characters, and how you could switch which one you were "controlling" was clever and I loved how the limited verb set didn't feel too easy.

One of the few IF games that I know I'll play-through again for the shear enjoyment of it.

ADDENDUM: As of the 10/01/20 this is still my favorite IF piece of all time.


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Discworld lite, November 28, 2017

A light-hearted, funny adventure, reminding me sometimes of Discworld, and sometimes of classic cartoons in its use of traditional humor tropes (hammy hero (and I don't mean the pig), wacky chases, crossdressing, etc.) The game world may seem a little intimidating at first with its many rooms, but the puzzles are simple and satisfying enough (the way you deal with the (Spoiler - click to show)vending machine is good for a laugh).

Most controversially, near the end the game takes a detour from pure comedy into social commentary on things such as gender roles and LGBT issues, and these parts feel a little grating; you might enjoy the ending less or more, depending on how you feel about that kind of lecturing. The finale feels a bit underwhelming, but one tiny detail I loved was (Spoiler - click to show)tasting the label-switched potions alluded to throughout the game, their effects hinting towards how each and every transformation in the castle had happened.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Utterly delightful- initially. not for beginners, November 18, 2017
by Angharade
Related reviews: IF COMP 2017

The writing was phenomenal. Hilarious, cadenced, and consistently clever. I felt sympathetic for the other characters, and was easily put into character. The limited parser was actually helpful in reminding one of one's own situation: namely, being a pig.

The first half of the game was enchanting, but after a while, it became exhausting trying to guess what the author was thinking. The fleas (hints) were certainly helpful, but it was really kind of just--limited. There are certainly games which are very linear in fashion, and that works for some people. For me, I do prefer that the puzzles aren't quite as repetitive or stacked.

I believe that more proficient game players than I will perhaps have a higher patience level with the game, and will enjoy the difficulty, and not mind being so patient. I suppose for me it began to feel tedious, even as I thoroughly was enjoying the character, the plot, and the unique writing and play on tropes. Perhaps a better review of this is--it may seem like a beginner game, but it's not. The hints are fun, but do not entirely remedy the tiring aspects (e.g. running in circles).

I did not finish the game. I came close to the end, but ended up looking at the walkthrough and feeling daunted and frustrated by the series of steps necessary. Again, I'm a novice player--a more experienced player might not feel this way. I hope to play more games by the author, and amongst the games I'm playing for the IF 2017 competition, it stands head and shoulders above the rest, simply in terms of writing quality.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
A limited parser castle comedy involving mistaken identities, November 16, 2017
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

This is a very funny, long limited parser game about being a pig. A hero follows you, and believes you to be able to smell a polymorphing wizard. Anything you sniff, he smashes.

The first part of the game plays out in the tradition established by Arthur DiBianca, where a few key verbs are used in unusual ways to accomplish your goals. Later on, the game branches out, allowing you to switch between certain 'tools' to accomplish various goals.

This game is unusual among limited parser games in that it has quite a few large text dumps, often spanning more than a screen on a laptop computer with maximized window. The writing is good, the story is strong, but it can be a bit much, especially on a second playthrough.

This game also touches on several social issues (not least the annoying habit of young men singing Wonderwall).



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