IF Competition: Berrost’s Challenge

Another IF Comp review, following my format for this comp. There is a cut, then any spoiler-free comments I have, and then spoiler space, and then more detailed feedback that assumes the reader has tried the game.

But first, we have some obligatory filler to try to make sure that the RSS summary does not accidentally contain any review. Filler, filler, la la la…

Okay. Here we go.

Its/it’s errors and small grammar errors put me off early; so did the concept. A game about a generic apprentice wizard running generic quests in a generic lazy-medieval setting needs staggeringly good gameplay to keep me onboard. I played for fifteen minutes or so, realized that I wasn’t having fun and wasn’t likely to enjoy the rest of the game, and quit.

There might be something here for someone with different tastes (or someone who just hasn’t played so many of this sort of game already).

3 thoughts on “IF Competition: Berrost’s Challenge”

  1. I enjoyed this game. I agree that it’s not the most original setting or concept, and the typos were off-putting, but it’s put together pretty well, and the puzzles are interesting, especially the Dogg’s Hamlet-style interaction with the teamster. I also liked the fact that there were multiple ways of solving problems; you can use magic to cut various Gordian knots, but you earn more points for finding the right strand and pulling it in a non-magical way. There were a few frustrations—the conversation kept tripping me up, because I would say something that sounded like a natural conclusion to the exchange, but the game would stay in conversation mode until I explicitly said “goodbye.” And I don’t understand why I can’t dip my hands in the barrel of salt water at the smithy. But I think that if these glitches, and the small infelicities in the writing, were cleaned up, this game could be one of the better examples of its admittedly overworked genre. (It might also be a good game to recommend to beginners, partly because it offers both easy and not-so-easy solutions to problems, and partly because beginners might have more appetite for a scenario that IF aficionados’ palates have tired of.)

  2. Yeah, it’s a matter of tastes. I really enjoyed it, even though all the complaints made of the game are perfectly legitimate ones. It ends up having some pretty interesting puzzles that are actually *fun* to solve, and for me, that trumped my annoyances with the way it was designed.

    Guess-the-verb is a killer, though. The author should work on that.

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