Basilica de Sangre, by Bitter Karella (review with minor spoilers)
[spoiler]Aha! A good old-fashioned comic puzzler, served in an almost-nearly-traditional old-fashioned puzzle glass, with nice cover art. Possession/bodyswapping is laborious to write, since effectively there are no pure NPCs and every character needs to have at least one continuity-congruent conversational response to absolutely every other character, no matter how unlikely the idea that they would exchange chitchat in reality. To play – nevermind code – a possession game that was fully implemented in terms of what you know, what you must conceal that you know, who you can safely talk to, and where you can safely bodyswap would (to borrow an old quote) make your brains turn to guacamole and drip out of your ears.
Sensibly, BdS keeps things relatively simple (it also boasts a map). As a rookie demon, you can bodyhop in a room full of people and no-one will be any the wiser, neither does anyone suddenly come to several rooms away from where they last were, and wonder what the literal Hell just happened, and why they’re now carrying some random and/or disgusting trinket.
A lot doesn’t make sense, in the traditional way mad puzzle games don’t: Repellent Habits are so rare that everynun can’t have one…but the only known example is worn by a mere librarian? I must collect three random ingredients, just because I must. Someone in this otherwordly convent has a crush, and the way to find out who that crush could be…does not make much narrative sense, but it’s cute.
Yep, it’s all very tongue-in-cheek. Only the romance-based puzzle got me resorting to the walkthrough, but otherwise I didn’t have any particular difficulties, although I did leave one possessee walking around with a certain puzzle-critical jar, then forgot who I’d left it with. Curse my defective memory.
For whatever reason, the interpreter slowed to a dead crawl during the climactic scene and frustratingly crashed just as I was about to possess my final target. I was also expecting to use the fact that one possessed character is effectively blind to do battle with something that sends humans (and even demons) round the bend if they gaze upon it, but on looking at the walkthrough, that doesn’t seem to be relevant.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the game plenty. It was witty, neatly-engineered in puzzle terms, and respectful of the player’s time: in short, it was written with the deliberate intent that it should to be fun to play. That gets a solid score from me.
Prize: A whiskey-fuelled weekend in a ruined eldritch Citadel, with the abominable oblate of your choice.[/spoiler]