IFReviewed by James Mitchelhi
on 2006-10-16 05:35
Before I actually review this game, I want to pause for a moment to talk about something I've always hated in text adventures: The idea that humour is a good replacement for good writing. This isn't to say that humour and good writing don't mix, some of the best games have been comedies. Indeed, the IF medium is particularly suited to comedy, where bizarre chains of logic can end up having spectacular results. Assuming a guise of humour in order to distract attention away from poor writing and puzzles is not a winning strategy.
Besides, humour is difficult to do well and this game doesn't do it well. Calling a swamp the "Mucky Muck Swamp" is not inherently funny.
Calling a type of berry a "bazzleberry" doesn't have me laughing. Clowns. Oh my. How amusing.
I haven't played an Alan game before. The system seems fine. The game seems well implemented. There are a few problems with puzzles, but nothing major. I had to push the stone twice before the parchment actually showed up in my inventory. And I don't really understand the logic of the yo-yo being used as a key. Maybe it was supposed to be funny and I just don't have that sense of humour. And the puzzle of waking Boffo, which is solved using a loud horn. This is in keeping with the setting, I suppose, and the game isn't striving for realism, but when in real life would anyone ever need a loud horn to be woken?
The writing is servicable, but rather plain. One line stood out as objectionable on a number of different levels:
> look at rolling pin
It's a common, wood rolling pin. The housewife's favorite weapon.
I'm not going to bother mentioning the inherently misogynistic overtones here. I don't really care if a game is misogynistic. Hell, I entered a deeply misogynistic game into the competition a few years ago (although, I claim irony as a defense). The idea of a rolling pin being "the housewife's favorite weapon" is deeply cliched and unoriginal. Maybe I'm missing the humour again.