The Skull Embroidery
Warning: Do not play the version of this game that is available in the “download all the games” 221.9 MB file IFComp2016.zip. If you do, you may find yourself unable to save and load games in The Skull Embroidery. When I tried the same thing using the download just for the individual game, I got the updated version of the game and found that saving works for me with that version. This could be a Windows-specific problem, as I used skull_embroidery-1.0.0-win32.zip.
[spoiler]The interface of this game consists of typing mostly one-letter commands, such as (i)nspect, (g)rab, and (w)ait. And definitely also (a)ttack, since this is a game with much stat-based combat. In fact, no sooner do you begin the game than you are forced to fight a giant beetle, which annoyed me for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t find the fight particularly easy or fun (combat in parser-based games is not usually fun in my opinion). Second, I wasn’t given the option to (t)ravel away, despite the clear existence of a path leading north, even though that is exactly what I would have preferred to do rather than face a giant beetle unarmed.
After the fight, you learn a bit more of your story. You were flying through the air on your steed – a giant bat – when some sorcery caused the bat to fall to its death. You were also injured in the fall, and your injury seems to have given you amnesia. An old man appears and offers you help you. Apparently your goal is to discover who you are and who tried to kill you.
In my original version of this review, I said I couldn’t recommend this game. But that was before I found out I was playing a bugged version of the game that doesn’t let you save or restore (see above on how to avoid this bug). Now my thought is, if this description sounds interesting, feel free to play. It might be worth a whirl. On the other hand, I’m not sure how many people in 2016 find it fun to play games with parser-based combat gameplay. Not me, really. As a result, during my original playthough, I went just far enough to get to the old man’s house and decided to stop there.
(P.S. Note to author: I think I found a bug that lets you get unlimited food. Just talk to the old man and ask him to roast your insect meat. I was able to do this seven times and counting without using up my non-roasted insect meat. But, since I wasn’t playing the latest version of the game, I don’t know if this feedback is going to help.)