IFComp 2012: Castle Adventure, by Ben Chenoweth

Twenty-one games. Five days. Can’t judge them all, but I’ll get through as much of theEighteenth Annual Interactive Fiction Competition as I can. As always, if you’re a judge, don’t read on unless you have already played and reviewed the game yourself, and if your averse to spoilers, you won’t want to read this even if you aren’t judging.

Blurb: You have to rescue a princess of legendary beauty who is reportedly being held prisoner in a labyrinth beneath the Castle…

Goodness, I hope this game subverts my expectations, because the blurb and title do not inspire confidence in its powers of originality. Nor does the first room, a forest without labeled directions. I blunder around randomly for a while, and eventually make some marginal progress. And then I stumble around in the dark for a while, make some progress, and discover that I took too long stumbling around in the dark, and that the game is now unwinnable. Great. Oh, and “undo” is disabled too, for maximum annoyance value. I tried again, because I’m a glutton for punishment, and I got trapped at a later point. This game is full of timed mazes, rooms that exist for o reason except to pad out the landscape, and hints which include “oh well, restore a save game and try again.” Sorry, it is no longer 1982 and your dungeon crawl with old-school sensibilities no longer impresses.

Rating: 2

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About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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