A fun homage to author Andy Phillips. I’ve posted a review of it on my blog.
Does Andy Phillips have a blog or a website or anything that people know of? I’ve been playing games of his for years and I don’t know a single thing about the person.
As the author of Frenemies, I have been in touch with Andy, he is a very private person. I don’t think he has a website or a blog, I think he teaches electronic game design or works for a company that’s associated with that. He is in his mid-40s and resides in England. Pretty much all I know.
A well-implemented and well-written parser-based one-room puzzle game which I unfortunately did not enjoy as much as I might have. You should give it a try nonetheless.
Frenemies’ premise is that the protagonist is a geek or nerd who spends most of the time playing IF games, especially those by Andy Phillips, and has been locked into his room by housemates who like practical jokes.
The game dwells on how nerdy the player character is, this varies between gentle mocking and a bit more deprecatory characterisation. But it’s all meant in good fun, because Frenemies actually is an homage to Andy Phillips’ games, so B F Lindsay intentionally includes himself in the mockery.
The idea of doing an homage to one’s favourite games is very charming, and the author found a neat way of incorporating different items from the source material.
However, personally, I can’t help but feel that his obvious skills in implementation and writing might have been put to an even better or more exciting use if he had set the story in one of Andy Phillips’ universes (with permission). Why not create an escape game set in the Arcology from “Inside Woman”, for example, and let Alice Ling make a cameo appearance? Although, in that case, I admit that it would be more difficult to bring material from the other games into play.
After having made decent progress in the beginning, I found the main puzzle to be a bit fiddly and unintuitive, which is a problem in a one-room game, because there aren’t any other avenues of attack, or anything else to do, really.
Some of the approaches that would occur to me were: climbing the crossbeams again, or tying the katana to the rappelling rope and dangling it through the gap above the door, swinging from side to side to cut or dislodge the jumprope, or attaching the rappelling rope to the doorknob and to the fan, and letting the fan wind up the rope, helping to pull the door open.
Or simply, when the damage is already done, open the hole wide enough to climb through.
Instead, the game had another solution in mind, aiming rather for the hilarious “Incredible Machine” / Rube Goldberg approach. I can absolutely appreciate that for its entertainment value, and it was indeed a funny and cool moment when it finally worked. In a way, this is standard adventure physics, so I can’t really fault the game for this, but it just didn’t click for me this time.
And the interaction with the bed was rather fiddly in the process, especially if one didn’t do the right thing the first time and instead moved it around several times. (Push the bed -> it’s too heavy with the mattress on -> take mattress -> can’t hold the mattress while holding other stuff -> drop all -> take mattress -> push bed -> put mattress on bed -> stand on bed -> forgot stuff -> get stuff again -> try something -> think about pushing bed somewhere else -> …repeat…)
Thankfully, the game has an extensive hint system, which helped me get through. And it was definitely entertaining to imagine the antics of the protagonist.
So, I’m sorry to say that for me personally, it didn’t work as well as it might have, which is a shame because it’s well implemented. Give it a try!