This is now a three-puzzle game since you and I tested it. One to get into the underwater complex, then you change character. One to get the Ice-X and one in the dunny. The first puzzle was new in the release version and I hadn’t completed either of the other two during my rudimentary testing.
Like you said, each of these has multiple elements and, apart from some guess-the-verb and needing to get killed to learn, I thought they were all very clever. It’s just a pity that there wasn’t more to do in the other areas.
In Submarine Sabotage:
That’s the same criticism as in Strike Force. I agree with you, but I ran out of time and ideas. I’m not sure if you noticed, but I did add one of your suggestions in the galley related to the ice pack, but it’s not essential to use this to solve the game.
This game is based on an idea of mine that had been lingering in the back of my mind for a long time. SeedComp seemed like a perfect opportunity to put it out there and see what might come of it.
B.J. Best took the intro/starting room I wrote and ran with it, expanding my vague outline to a full-fledged puzzle game that far exceeded my expectations.
I tested it intensively, and @bjbest60 and I had an interesting exchange of PMs about it, sometimes making fun of some features, sometimes brainstorming more seriously. Playtesting while in close conversation with the author can be a blast, and add a lot of fun and depth to the playing experience of an almost (but not quite) finished game.
All this to say that I’m hardly an objective judge of The Magic Word's merit.
I loved it. I was teetering on that fine edge between challenge and frustration the whole time, without (and this is the brilliant bit) ever slipping into desperation. A feeling similar to playing MarioTM and falling from an unstable platform into a spiked hole for the sixteenth time, but still being convinced you’ll get it next time.
The puzzles require very careful observation and very thorough experimentation, but they follow a reliable cause-effect chain and are perfectly fair.
There are a bunch of independent timers and turn-based puzzles to tackle, lots of buttons and a myriad of levers and wheels. The more I discovered during playtesting, the more I stood in awe of the complex technical mechanisms under the hood.
I felt like I could completely put my trust in the game, and that any blockades I encountered were logically solvable. The pleasant frustration I had during play came from the feeling that I could almost touch the solution with my fingertips, almost grasp the mechanics underneath, but not quite yet.
----One more test, one more variable to check...
What happens if I pull this lever first?----