Review – Limerick Quest

I really admire the effort it must have taken to write an entire game in limerick meter and even more for finding a way to incorporate puzzles — also in limerick meter. Additionally, I was impressed that the game managed spatial orientation and inventory-based puzzles without the affordances of the world model built into parser game systems.

I have a feeling that it helps with the rhyming constraints to have two main characters because their banter is a convenient way to broaden the vocabulary at the author’s disposal, but I have to give credit that this dialogue not only has the right form, but is entertaining and gives these characters personalities.

My own risk aversion was an impediment in playing this game. I believe it was early in the game that I tried solving a puzzle by brute forcing it with a shovel — which I knew was the wrong way to go, but I wanted to see what would happen — and the shovel disappeared from my inventory. Later in the game, I got to think, but what if I need the shovel? What if some other clue ends in “hovel” and I’d be SOL.

I’m sure that the author thought long and hard about whether to implement UNDO in this game. Not having given it as much thought, I don’t know what I would have decided in their shoes, but as a player I would have been a bit bolder and probably would have progressed faster and exposed more of the game content had UNDO been an option. I did eventually get a little more trusting as the game progressed and realized how extensively the game addressed incorrect attempts by the player, most often with a customized response (of course, in meter).

I was a little lost at the first real puzzle, but the walkthrough pointed me in the correct direction. I was proud that I was then able to solve the next few puzzles. However, I hit a hard stop at the Aztec Enigma.

That puzzles requires a bunch of different elements to all be adjusted to the proper state and I knew full well what was expected — I just could not find the right solution. I am sure that the problem was me and not the game, but I just could not get past this puzzle even with the walkthrough open.

I think that the mechanics of the puzzle made this harder than it needed to be. Each element in the puzzle had two possible states, but to switch between them required a full page reload. To see the two possible states for each item took quite a while. Had they been implemented as, say, a drop down box showing the two options, the puzzle might have gone a lot faster, although I appreciate that this would have changed the nature of the puzzle.

Due to this puzzle, I could not evaluate the last stage of the game, but I did enjoy the portion that I played.

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