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About the Story
A murder most foul has been committed and Sherlock Holmes is on the case. You are his dog.
Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle; Nominee, Best Individual PC - 2015 XYZZY Awards
Winner, Main Festival - Spring Thing 2015
Apart from a few typo corrections and bug fixes, the most major feature in this second release is the addition of three difficulty settings. The game begins with all the text presented normally, but you can SHARPEN YOUR SCENT to italicize most nouns, which will make identifying them for the mystery easier. If you SHARPEN YOUR SCENT again, then all the most important clues will also be set into bold. Typing SNIFFLE will remove these formatting hints and return the game to normal.
Along with the inventory clue-management system, and the in-game help menu, these new settings should hopefully allow players to adjust the game to their preferred level.
Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling
I welcomed the freedom to jump from one part of the game world to another in order to pursue a suspected lead — for instance, reviewing one character’s possessions after finding what seemed to be a link in another character’s story: if this had been a more conventionally structured game, I would have had to traverse a lot of in-game space in order to check up on those suspicions.
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Old Games Italia
Toby's Nose è un gioco ben scritto e ben ideato. Però quella stessa meccanica che lo rende così originale e coinvolgente, ne limita anche l'appetibilità per una parte di pubblico in cerca di un'esperienza più semplice e lineare. Resta però una bella investigazione, che vi costringerà a riflettere veramente sul gran numero di indizi che accumulerete fiutando di qua e di là!
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Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but this is more the sort of thing I expect when I think of IF. It’s about the puzzle to be unravelled, and the exploration of the story. In “Toby’s Nose”, the puzzle IS the exploration. --Christopher Huang
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Solving the mystery is in some ways not the point; rather, it’s to take a leisurely olfactory tour of the world of Holmes and other mysteries (referenced in the footnotes). Whether this works for a given player is a matter of taste. --Sean M. Shore
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Number of Reviews: 5
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
So much is accomplished here with about four verbs: smell, examine, bark, inventory. The PC is Sherlock's Holmes's faithful bloodhound Toby. And you're assisting Holmes to solve a murder by smelling various objects. On the face of it, this is a one-room game, but smelling something can evoke memories or scents relating to other locations in Toby's experience and you can thus traverse a wide array of very Victorian-British locales and social situations. The London that results is more Dickens-meets-Downton than Doyle, but it is rich and very detailed, providing commentary on nearly everything you can see, smell, and imagine. Groover has provided copious optional footnotes describing the various literary, IF, and pop-culture references in the game.
There's a sense in which the very limited verb-set in this game makes it seem somewhat choice-based. One could imagine re-creating it fairly completely in Twine. But Toby's Nose does a great job showing what the parser potentially does better. It demands an attention to detail (wholly appropriate in a Holmes mystery) that the clearly signaled hyperlinks in a Twine or other HIF story don't, and it permits actions that are off-script, which -- even though they're not necessary to complete the story -- add detail and background and humor that enriches the experience.
The story does tend to anthropomorphise Toby a bit, but it also doesn't forget that he's a dog. There's a wealth of (often funny) extra interactions and descriptive data built into the game to reinforce the canine perspective. Toby's smelling prowess also may seem a bit too impressive at times, but this can be forgiven as in service to a fantastic story. Toby's Nose is a truly impressive and accomplished piece of interactive fiction. Highly recommended.
Quick non-spoilery tip: it's possible to fairly easily brute force the solution to the mystery. (I did not solve it correctly on the first try or -- I'm ashamed to admit -- on the second try.) It may be helpful to know that the solution is obvious, not ambiguous, once you have all the requisite data. Don't cheat yourself by jumping the gun:)
Dogs have superior olfactory abilities, and this game simulates that. Scents have memories attached, and you can explore scent-memories and the entire world of a case and solve it from one room as Sherlock Holmes's dog. This is a great use of a "Castle of the Red Prince" style approach, which the author notes is intentional.
There's no time limit or pressure as Toby reviews scents and memories. The case can be solved by guessing right on the first turn, but definitely don't try that. I accused everyone *but* the right person. Well, I didn't accuse Holmes or Watson. Needless to say, great mystery, great game. Only a few tiny minor disambiguations to be expected (Spoiler - click to show)such as opium pipes and church organ pipes but nothing I found that ruined the game.
A man has been murdered, and Sherlock Holmes is on the case. The police have been summoned, the suspects have been assembled, and Watson is taking notes. All that's left is for the dog to bark at the culprit. Wait, what?
As a die-hard Sherlock Holmes fan, I was immediately drawn to the premise, and once I got my hands on it I was not disappointed. Toby's Nose is an absolutely gorgeous game, and the writing is as authentic and enthralling as possible.
You are Toby, the dog with the famous nose, and it's your job to smell out the killer - there's a treat in it for you. Indeed, that's quite literally how you do it - but as a dog, your sense of smell transcends time and space, one smell opening up avenues and possibilities and other smells. The descriptions are marvelously deep and often entertaining - I was blown away by how immersive it all was, and how the breadcrumbs were laid to draw you into a final conclusion about what happened.
I read Toby's Nose directly after Lime Ergot, and as the author mentions in his note, the non-traditional method of exploration and the concept of layered descriptions is very similar, but cleverly implemented and explained so as to be unique enough. I love the concept of a dog's smelling ability - or maybe just Toby's - being so acute that it can detect smells within smells and therefore describe times and places and events without having to actually go there.
Toby's Nose is a true gem, and as a fan of Holmes and murder mysteries it really impressed me. Five cheese crumpets.
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