IFComp 2009 review: The Grand Quest by Owen Parish

I wish, I wish, I wish people would have their games tested. Even a single betatester would have noticed these basic things:

There is a clicking noise from the ceiling, followed by the sound of breathing.

>look up

I only understood you as far as wanting to look.

...

>x stools

They look fairly comfortable. From the way they're positioned, it seems as though this room was used for readings.

>sit on stools

That's not something you can sit down on.

...

There are a couple of reading chairs facing each other in the centre of the room.

>sit on chairs

You can't see any such thing.

...

A brass whistle. Didn't you own one as a child?

>blow whistle

That's not a verb I recognise.

The Grand Quest is identical in structure to last year's The Ngah Angah School of Forbidden Wisdom. You enter one room and get a puzzle in front of you. When you're done with it you go to the next room and solve another puzzle. This continues until you finally reach the end.

The puzzles are a mixture of logic, wordplay and trick questions (like those "How many months in a year have 28 days? All of them have at least 28 days" riddles kids make). There's nothing wrong with this kind of puzzles per se, but I would have preferred to have access to more than one at the same time so when I got stuck I could have worked on some another puzzle and come back later with fresh ideas. Now when I got stuck with a puzzle I had nothing else to do than look at the walkthrough.

The biggest problem is the absence of anything else than the bare minimum needed for a playthrough. Frustration builds up on every "You can't see that here." With some testing and work on the details the game would be a hit with people who like the kind of brainteasers it offers.


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