IF Competition Discussion: The Packrat

Blah blah you know the deal by now.

A puzzly recasting of Sleeping Beauty, except that I couldn’t get much of anywhere on the puzzles until I read the walkthrough: many of the required actions are actively counter-intuitive, I’d say. If you feel like playing through with heavy dependence on the walkthrough, that’s fine (though also a little aggravating, because the walkthrough contains many commands that don’t do anything and thus bulk the game out unnecessarily — I think the author must also have been using it as a testing command set).

Once you strip away the gameplay aspect, what’s left in terms of story is nothing to write home about. It’s not bad, but… enh.









There were several ideas in here that could have been cool but were designed in such a way as to reduce their entertainment value. The whole thing of setting the player into different moods at different times (acquisitive vs. content) was interesting, but if we were going to do that, why not carry that further and make it a more important part of the puzzles?

Similarly, the floating chest. Using it required a lot of tedious waiting. I liked the concept, and I can see how in a slow-moving moat we might expect it to take a while to float around, but it would have been more fun game-wise not to have to wait so many turns doing nothing.

There were also some missing implementation features. The Throne is described as something you can’t sit on; a lot of scenery objects are missing; stuff like that. I also had a hard time envisioning the laundry chute and what I was supposed to do with it without heavy walkthrough-reliance.

So: not awful, but could have been significantly better than it was.

One thought on “IF Competition Discussion: The Packrat”

  1. You hit the nail on the head with this game’s flaws. Too bad, too; the writing is some of the best in the competition, so the rest of the game was very disappointing in contrast. I thought, after reading the opening, that this would be the winner.

    The worst was in the Great Hall. Although not mentioned in the room description, you can stumble upon the fact that you’re surrounded by locked doors with varying descriptions. It’s nearly impossible to refer to the door you want, as a close relative of this infamous parser problem ensues:

    “Which key do you mean, the key or the silver key?”


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