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Run around in circles... literally., November 22, 2023
by manonamora
Related reviews: ifcomp

Hawkstone is a retro-type parser adventure, using old-school RPG elements to drive the puzzles, and a Scott Adam-style of gameplay (not all locations are listed in the directions and puzzles can be obtuse). The game includes a walkthrough listing the required commands and order of actions*, and a built-in help system (pay in-game currency to get it).
*I messed up wanting to go my own way and skipped some steps

To say this was not the kind of game I am good at is an understatement. It combines a confusing worldmap (with weird locations) and difficult to almost impossible puzzles (hit the wrong butterfly and meet an early end). I did try to give it my best shot, but after finding myself stuck, I exclusively followed the walkthrough - save for not wanting to drop loot (but that's me playing RPG).

So Hawkstone is essentially an RPG exploration game. You get items, break some stuff, give stuff to people, maybe sell some items maybe buy some, attack harmless butterfly, and go round and round you go around the map. Do some actions and maybe level up and your skills, or get a random dice roll for extra stats. If you finish enough puzzles, you get to the end (I didn't).

There's not much direction given to you (aside from the start text telling you in case of stuck, look at stuff) and you have to rely on guess work (or just be like me and follow the walkthrough) and thinking of silly ways to solve things. The combat system is pretty fun (though it would be nice if there had been more opportunities to use it), and the game as a swanky stat/inventory system. There is quite a bit of humour in the text, especially in the reaction of actions, and if you manage to run the game without any glitches, it's pretty cool looking too!

But darn, you need to be a level 9999 experienced parser to do this adventure on your own... even a sword is not enough.

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