Number of Reviews: 5
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Gorgeous Retro-Romp, January 29, 2020
Adventuron is a relatively new online IF authoring tool, created by Chris Ainsley, designed to develop old-school 8-bit parser games.
Ben Jones (aka Polyducks) is a talented programmer, writer, and digital artist who works primarily in the restricted mediums of textmode and pixelart.
Put them together and you get Mushroom Hunt, a gorgeous retro-romp that was cranked out in less than a month for the 2019 Adventuron CaveJam.
This game clearly demonstrates that constraints on an artform cultivate creativity. Although the scope of the game is limited, all of the elements are well-crafted, and provide a sense of warmth and childlike wonder. The story is simple, yet has a satisfying emotional depth that is gradually revealed as the player explores the world. The graphics, which are all textmode -- making this game, technically, a pure text-based work -- look like they were digitized from a Victorian Fairy Tale. Even in the face of failure, the hint system at the end of the playthrough provides gentle parental nudges in the right direction. I haven't experienced a narrative this nurturing since I played my last Ryan Veeder game.
My only regret is, being a jam game, Mushroom Hunt ended much too quickly for me. Specifically, (Spoiler - click to show)the inability to explore the village beyond the metal gate was a disappointment. Regardless, I imagine we will be seeing more great work from this author and artist soon enough, and I look forward to whatever comes next.