Winter Wonderland

by Laura Knauth

Children's, Fantasy, Seasonal

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Number of Ratings: 41
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- k42write, October 28, 2023

- Canalboy (London, UK.), May 26, 2023

>INVENTORY - Paul O'Brian writes about interactive fiction

What Winter Wonderland does so well is to combine the nifty puzzles from Trapped in a One-Room Dilly with the sense of magical landscape from Travels in the Land of Erden, and adds to the combination a thematic specificity that is all its own and that works beautifully. The links between the puzzles feel very plausible because the entire setting is very consistent, and solving the puzzles rewards the player not only by allowing advancement through the plot, but often as well by presenting another appealing image to add to the already dense atmosphere. Romping around the snowy landscape encountering sprites, fairies and dryads was a great deal of fun for me, and the intricate and ingenious ways in which they presented interlocking puzzles was a real source of pleasure as well.

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- OtisTDog, March 31, 2022

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Wonderful atmosphere, October 29, 2021

This game is worth playing for its a magical winter atmosphere, preferably on a cold and dreary winter evening. As for the puzzles and the rest, I only remember needing to use hints and getting lost a lot.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A joyous Winter Solstice!, August 20, 2021
by Rovarsson (Belgium)
Related reviews: Fantasy, Puzzler

While walking home after doing an errand in town, little Gretchen is blown off the path by a sudden snowstorm. She finds herself in a wondrous snowy land under a pale wintery moon.

Winter Wonderland is a heartwarming text-adventure. The wonder and amazement at the beautiful fairytale land is played completely straight, without ironic winks or nudges. It's clear that the author has gone to great lengths to envelop the player in a sincere and heartfelt warm and joyful experience.

The immersion in the story and the game-world is achieved in a few ways.
The implementation goes deep enough that you can examine and interact with most pieces of the surroundings, many giving an extra immersive dimension to the already evocative descriptions.
You will meet many fantastic creatures, all enjoying the winter solstice in their own festive manner. All of them will smile and acknowledge you when you greet them. You can strike up a conversation with a good deal of them.
The map is easily visualized, with the dense forest where little Gretchen appeared to the south and the snow-capped mountains so far to the north that they appear as unreachable bluish shapes far to the north. Still, there are enough little sidepaths and bottlenecks to keep it interesting.

Allthough the puzzles are mostly friendly and easy, fetching an object for an NPC to exchange it for the next item. Most of these puzzles do have an intermediary step that is not so obvious, making solving them satisfying. Two puzzles jumped out as being especially nifty, requiring a bit of thinking around the corner. These raised my appreciation for the puzzles and the game as a whole.

A very smooth, warm and friendly playing-experience. Perhaps best enjoyed with a steaming mug of cocoa and a snuggle-blanket.

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
great game!, January 27, 2021
by jlvp1234 ( United States )

this is a great game, I started playing it in 2010, I usually try to follow david Wilburn's walkthroughs, however, he has not made one for this particular game, it took me 10 years to complete this game. overall, it's still a pretty great game.

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- Wynter (London, UK), December 5, 2020

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Wonderful Diversion, September 17, 2020

We were taken in by the humanity of the story. Got frustrated a bit from time to time, because things that we tried didn't work but the magical world can bring a smile to one's face nevertheless.

It seemed like a good pleasant wholesome counterbalance in the midst of all the bad news during the COVID-19 crisis -- to get away from a troubled and tense world into a light-hearted playful one.

Although we had to resort to the hints at times we felt victorious when we finished the story. It's nice to work through a puzzle and then be rewarded with a lively and magical setting.

It's interesting that although Gretchen needs to take things and sneak a bit she also needs to give things to others without them asking in order to make progress. This goes along with the holiday theme.

Note: At the end of the game there is some text included about contacting the author; however, the email address is no longer valid, and although we sent a message via her blog and also on Flickr we didn't get any response. The last posts on the blog along with the photos on Flickr are from April of 2014, so it's possible that she decided to disengage from social media at that time. The game was written about twenty years ago, and so at this point in time perhaps she isn't receiving feedback on it any more. We were just trying to contact her to let her know how we liked her game.

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- Zoe Victoria (Under your bed), April 24, 2020

- Lillianatha, November 15, 2019

- Zape, March 22, 2019

- Superfreq (Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada), January 2, 2019

- Pegbiter (Malmö, Sweden), February 20, 2017

- Sobol (Russia), February 10, 2017

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Very clever puzzles in a heartwarming Christmas story., February 3, 2016
by MathBrush
Related reviews: about 2 hours

Many people seem put off by the homey charm of this Christmas game, perhaps more interested in gore or adult content. But this ASCII-art using winter game is deep and well-polished, and on the longer end for an IFComp game. It won the comp for a good reason.

First, it is beautiful. Visually, the ASCII art and color scheme help the immersion (I loved the snowflakes in the status bar). And the descriptions and responses of the text are all well-crafted and contribute to the atmosphere significantly.

Second, the puzzles are ingenious, though some reasonable alternatives are not implemented. The majority of the game centers on magical creatures, and working with them. NPC interaction is present, though limited, as is usual in games of this time period.

The story starts out extraordinarily over sweetly, but I enjoyed it, and it soon became a magic-themed puzzle fest. This game drew me in, and I would love to see more games with a fun family atmosphere instead of gritty dystopias or gruesome underground labs.

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- Veraloo, January 20, 2016

- Aryore, December 12, 2015

- electromancer, July 19, 2015

- Thrax, March 12, 2015

- DJ (Olalla, Washington), May 9, 2013

- iranon727, December 5, 2012

- Felix Pleșoianu (Bucharest, Romania), March 16, 2012

- sunny and mild (South Africa), October 4, 2011

- Sam Kabo Ashwell (Seattle), August 25, 2011

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