The game’s “parser/choice hybrid” description in the blurb is not accurate, I’d say. That, combined with new click options subtly appearing based on recent player choices (e.g. Inventory or Open) was enough to cause problems, at least for a total idiot like me. Some reorganization of the interface may be in order. One thing that would immediately improve the game without too much trouble is to be able to “Go To…” any location directly, after you have found it.
Overall the game is cheesy but playable, and I found the plot reasonable with the exception of the motive of the crime. It doesn’t seem to call for an impromptu murder involving multiple people. I am smh a little over the fact that every mystery has to be a murder for some reason. The flow of the game was intact except for the section after showing Benny the cell phone. Among other odds things, you can have “Think” mention Glen Reed before you’ve heard anything about him.
I did think “Think” was handled pretty well, summing up what you’ve seen so far, but I might rather have the PC react more appropriately to things that he sees–sometimes there’s nothing at all. Indeed, the game is bare-bones descriptively, which also dials the tension down to zero. Having all of the suspects still on hand during the investigation is an ideal scenario for danger and plot twists, but that hasn’t been taken advantage of here.
Another very strange oversight is that the game never mentions what time it is when you begin the investigation. Or I missed it. But I’d suggest adding a watch to the PC’s inventory. Not knowing the time confuses things a little when reported times of events start to come into play. Also, time does not really exist except for changes triggered by certain events, which can be weird in this situation.
Thanks for the comments, jepflast. I’ll keep them in mind in the next release. I probably won’t update during the competition unless someone finds a game-breaking bug, but I’d like to do a post-competition update.
Unfortunately, it looks like you’re right that I never provided an explicit time. The introduction mentions “twenty minutes after the phone call,” which implies at least twenty minutes after the body was discovered, but is still unnecessarily vague. For the record, the PC arrives at the casino about a quarter after midnight.
I have a suspicion why you got an errant reference to Glen Reed. I’ll look into it.
You’re not the first to suggest more robust “Go to…” options. I’m looking into that as well.
And I definitely have a tendency toward sparse prose. I aim to be concise, but there’s an important difference between succinctness and lack of detail. Something else I need to work on.
Before I found Look Under Bed, I was stuck trying to corroborate an alibi at the poker table, where the dealer won’t let you talk to anyone. So I played pretty far without doing something that was supposed to be early, apparently. After showing Benny the phone, I was unclear on what action he was going to take, when it would happen, and what I was supposed to do next. I went back to the poker table, and it was empty. That’s when I tried “Think” again, and it mentioned Reed. I think I went back to the Security Office at that point and found the dealer in custody. But I would have at least passed by the security forces either on the way to the poker table or on the way back, so it looked like something was wrong.
That’s close to what I suspected. Thanks for the clarification.
[spoiler]After Benny knows the man in the picture is at the poker table, the pit boss gets notified. There are about 5 turns during which the pit boss is headed to the security office with Glen and the dealer in his custody. It’s definitely possible to see them en route, but you would only get a couple of short messages about them entering or leaving your location. You can talk to the pit boss if you catch him at the right moment, but he’ll just tell you to meet them in the security office.
The Think message about Glen Reed gets triggered by his presence in the security office, regardless of whether you’ve seen him there yet. Instead, it should get triggered by the scene where the pit boss identifies him.[/spoiler]