Review: The Song of the Mockingbird

(Seriously fun western entered in the 2021 IFComp. The Song of the Mockingbird - Details (

If only I had my six-shooter…

Well, then this game would not have a reason to exist, which would be a shame.

You’ve fallen head over heels in love with the sensuous dancer Rosa. A gang of hoodlums stole her away from your embrace.

They took your pistol for good measure. This leaves you no choice but to rescue your damsel in distress with nothing but your brain and whatever you find lying around.

This setup clears the way for a collection of great puzzles. All of them require a good deal of common sense, and when you notice that your sense might be too common, the ability to think around the corner. Many times the use of the objects is not straightforward, leading to some very nice “Aha!”-moments.

This uncommon-sense feeling is reinforced by the map. It’s quite small and contained. There are a bunch of locations to explore and a few cleverly placed bottlenecks. At almost every point in the game, you can be sure that you have seen every accessible inch of your surroundings and found every object there is to find. The challenge then becomes straightforward and deceptively simple: “Here is your inventory. What to do with it?”

I liked the writing a lot. The style of puzzles requires a clear visualization of the locations, but the author manages to throw in enough small surprises and unexpected details to keep the descriptions from becoming a list of notable features.

The overall tone of the piece caught me off-guard. From the intro and the characterization of the protagonist as a singing cowboy, I expected a lighthearted parody of western-tropes. In many places, this is true. Until you get to the more serious and sometimes downright brutal bits. It’s not easy to blend these together, but The Song of the Mockingbird doesn’t feel disjointed because of it. It serves rather well to highlight different aspects of the protagonist’s character.

The deep implementation of a variety of commands, both plausible and silly, the song-lyrics throughout the story and the historical notes at the end tie this game together and show just how much this game was lovingly polished.

Very good game.


My favorite bit was that if you sing outside the corral, the bad guy who’s trying to kill you joins in. [Edited to spoiler-ify that… it’s not a big point, just one funny bit, but I realized I didn’t want to take the pleasure of finding it in play away from anyone.]


Another made me laugh out loud:

From the hayloft, you hear Whitey hawk and spit. “You pick the strangest times for a song, Boots!” he calls.

There’s a real attention to detail in the game that’s hard to relate in a short review.

– Jim


Feeling around in a gloop-filled watertrough answered by a dry “Ah, it’s come to this…” sure made me chuckle.