Excelsior is a parser-based puzzle game with minimal story. I did not complete it.
The blurb for Excelsior hints that it’s going to be “stripped down” and primarily puzzly. I don’t have a problem with stripped down parsers, and indeed the main parser thing I released this year collapsed a lot of its verb space to USE, so I don’t really have room to complain about that at all. Simplifying your verb set can make things easier for novice players, and also help the player in negotiating situations when the obvious usage of something involves a non-obvious verb. Fair enough.
However, the rest of the stripped-down-ness here I was not so crazy about. Room descriptions are extremely brief, and sometimes left me a bit confused about compass directions, since the connections weren’t always what I expected. Feedback for failed actions is minimal. There is no plot, and there are relatively few objects. The setting consists essentially (at least as far as I got) of a series of empty rooms with geometrical objects in them.
So, hm. To my tastes, as a puzzle set, this is not giving me enough information about how things work for me to feel inspired to keep going. What has succeeded so far has felt pretty arbitrary. It is also not giving me enough narrative content to feel very invested. So I am stopping here.