Review – Land of the Mountain King

This combat-based game is written in Adrift, so I know of two ways to play the game. It is distributed as a self-contained but relatively hefty (10+ MB) windows executable file, or you can load the blorb file into an Adrift version 5 interpreter, available from the Adrift website. Of the two, I would recommend grabbing the interpreter because you can later use it to play other Adrift games.

The story is minimal: you have been summoned by a witch to rid the land of the evil X, where X equals mountain king. I’m pretty sure that there is another game in this year’s competition where X equals wizard. This has been a boom year for witch subcontractors.

The ABOUT makes no bones regarding the nature of the game, the most important verb will be kill, followed by kill some more. The ABOUT is also helpful in highlighting use of a less common pair of verbs: equip and unequip to wield weapons.

[Some spoilers follow beyond this point]

Strategy for this game consists of finding something that you can kill, and which will not kill you first. I will say at least that the game is not cruel — you always know your status and can decide whether to press an attack or not. Also, if you get in over your head, you can always flee an encounter, and the opposing monster does not get an attack of opportunity as it might in some table top RPGs.

A screen capture, with text on left, game map on right. Click for larger version.

The game map is sparse, except for a cottage. In the somewhat furnished cottage, you can ask the little (actually, surprisingly heavy) old lady about the backstory and each monster, but her responses have little bearing on the game.

The monsters need to be encountered in a specific order: you start with bare fists and will need to obtain objects from each fight to take on succesive monsters. There is some randomness to attacks, so even properly outfitted, you run some risk of dying due to bad luck. I visited Valhalla a lot, but the game is lightweight and restarting is not a burden. The ABOUT itself suggests saving often, and that is good advice.

Using a general parser engine with all of Adrift’s bells and whistles seems like overkill for this game. The lighthouse location is a puzzle feature, but otherwise the game could consist entirely of movement and whacking creatures.

Story: 3

Voice: 4

Play: 6

Polish: 7

Technical: 6

JNSQ: 0

Preliminary Score: 5.2

Transcript: adriftScript

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