OK, more detailed thoughts.
I dug through the code and found (some of) the speed controls and managed to muddle through. It was still pretty painful. I don’t like the way (in the web view) the dialogue is separate from the actions and that they both disappear and you can only see the previous thing and there’s no transcript. That’s just bad. Having the scrollback so I can see what has happened previously is very important to me in a parser-based game. Also, even if it’s going to separate them, it should show me the results of my command first and not make me wait until after I hear the dialogue. Especially if the dialogue hasn’t advanced. Really it shouldn’t do anything if my command fails. If it keeps showing me the same dialogue over and over and over again because it took me five tries to find a command that works, I don’t know what’s going on. Are these characters supposed to be saying the exact same thing over and over again? Or does that mean I haven’t progressed and nothing happened, and it’s just remining me of the most recent thing that was said? If you have a standard parser setup with a transcript, you don’t have that problem. It doesn’t have to repeat anything: it can just tell you your command failed, so there isn’t that ambiguity.
So yeah. As a player I definitely don’t want the author to control when I see story dialogue and when I get parser interaction. I want to be in control. There might be some interesting applications of that but mostly it’ll just suck.
And yeah, the writing was unclear. Am I supposed to be Louise? Probably? But it just says “you put the water in the kettle” so am I a third person who’s just being helpful but not saying anything? I don’t really know.
The help seems to just give you examples of possible commands. Which aren’t necessarily (in fact, often aren’t) useful. I only figured out the command to turn the stove on after maybe 15 or 20 tries. It did eventually suggest “heat kettle” but definitely not right away. I’m not sure what controls that.
The look and examine commands seem extraordinarily useless. It seems like “heat kettle” is the only way to tell if the water is hot? Why doesn’t “examine hob” or “examine kettle” tell me that? And the whole “oh, here’s a tree view: the hob contains the kettle contains water” feels like a programmer-ish thing and not at all what I’d expect from a description of what I’m looking at in a piece of interactive fiction. And there doesn’t seem to be a nothing’s there response? I tried “examine counter” at one point and it said something like “on the counter is:” and then there was no text after that.
It wasn’t at all clear to me why I could sometimes do actions like putting sugar in a mug, or getting a mug or spoon, and sometimes that option wasn’t allowed right now. At one point I seemed to have two mugs. At least it sometimes talked about a yellow mug and sometimes a white one, but there didn’t seem to be any way to refer to one or the other, or control which one I put a thing in. Sometimes if I “put tea in mug” repeatedly it would switch from one to the other?