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Number of Reviews: 7
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
Gabriel Knight's Nightmare, September 3, 2020
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)

An absolute delightful treasure romp in the vein of Hollywood Hijinx (only with loads more charm), Sugarlawn had me simultaneously hooked yet a tad frustrated.

I do love a logical treasure hunt and a game show might be the most realistic modern raison d'etre for taking everything not nailed down. And because it's a game show it's clear from the beginning that replays will yield better results; thus, I was prepared for obsessive map-making and note-taking which I thoroughly enjoyed. What frustrated me is the nature of optimization puzzles. For a while I enjoyed finding shortcuts to improve my score, but after a while the diminishing returns were more exhausting than invigorating. For example, one way to improve optimization throughout your treasure hunt is to pick up or drop multiple items at the same time, which to me is more of a trick of the parser than a realistic strategy. So after four or five meticulous runs through the game I felt sated, despite several puzzles not yet being solved, because I knew even if I solved them I would never have the patience for peak optimization.

Despite this I wholeheartedly recommend playing it at least once, if for nothing but the fourth-wall breaking whimsy. It's always clear while playing that you're on camera (this fact is used for puzzle-design as well), and it's frequently played for laughs. If you regret a decision and type undo, a voice calls, "All right, we’ll just record over the last thing you did.” And I've always had a soft spot for New Orleans culture and history, and so I got to bathe in that to my heart's content.

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