IFComp 2010: R

Carte au Trésor

“R: (Pron: Arr)” by therealeasterbunny

Ye be the Dread (but handsome n’ quite nice on occasion) Pirate Goattybeard. Ye quest? Why, it be t’get the treasure and rescue ye wench o’course!

I thought to find time for one more today. I’m always up for a good swashbucklin’ adveture, and if the game’s writing is like the blurb then this might be this comp’s “Yon Astounding Castle.” That wouldn’t be a bad thing. Spoilers ho!

This is a “Windows” game, and I’m thoroughly intrigued by what that means… until I fire up the interpreter. Oh man. Tiny pink/orange/yellow interface that I can’t resize. No scrollback (or even transcript, really) and *gasp* an honest two-word verb-noun parser. The author has noted that this is his first game, after he was inspired by Get Lamp. I admire that, and I suppose that this game is supposed to be somewhat nostalgic, but I am really used to the conventions and niceties of modern IF. This is going to be a struggle.

The first thing I notice is that I can’t type “X” to examine things. The second thing I notice is that half of the objects I try to examine give a response of “OK.” This on the pirate ship in the tiny beginning of the game. The whole game seems very sparse, but somehow it works and makes everything more cartoony. For its limitations, the tone of the game is great.

That said, I didn’t get through it. On my first try, I wandered a confusing map for a long time, thought I’d exhausted my options and tried to swim back to the ship, and died. (Well, I think I died. More like I got stuck in a location called “Davy Jones’ Locker.”) In good faith I tried again and did find some new locations and make some progress (even picking up an objective when I found my wench in a cage!) but the limited interface caused me to play really slow, and I pretty much ran out of patience. Unfortunately, no walkthrough was provided to help me see all the author’s work.

It seems like a pretty good oldschool adventure, and I would encourage the author to learn some Inform or TADS for their next work. Also, flesh out descriptions to provide more character to the place.

Verdict: B-

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