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The Dreamhold

by Andrew Plotkin profile

Fantasy
2004

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Number of Reviews: 13
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
too hard for your first game. , October 27, 2010
by samuraipoet (Fayetteville Arkansas)
For an IF specifically designed for first-time players, the world was surprisingly large, and un-necessarily complex. There were more than a handful of puzzles and rooms that didn't have a thing to do with the main quest, and some of them were just plain dead-ends that didn't lead anywhere, and were never explained.

As for the difficulty, an IF veteran would probably be able to get through this piece without using the built-in hint system, but for an absolute beginner, the hints are the only thing that keeps the puzzles from becoming all but impossible toward the end.

Here's the thing about the writing - it's good, but really confusing. Plotkin obviously knows his way around the english language. There's some significant talent here, but ultimately, the little snippets of narrative that you're constantly uncovering don't join up to make any kind of coherent big-picture. it's really hard to resist the urge to give up trying to make sense of the story alltogether.

Comments on this review

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Christina Nordlander, May 28, 2017 (updated June 8, 2017) - Reply
I respectfully disagree: I enjoyed the lushness of the setting and didn't feel that it was lacking in direction. Taking out the rooms that weren't directly related to the main plot would have reduced the fun of exploring. It's a game for beginners, not pre-schoolers.

I also didn't find the writing confusing. Also, since the protagonist is amnesiac, it would probably be inappropriate if the game didn't feel at least a bit disorienting.
Keiya, July 31, 2013 - Reply
I disagree about the overly-confusing writing. For me it was actually the thing that caused me to persist in understanding the medium, so I could learn more about this world I'd found myself in.

As for the difficulty, I didn't need any hints, but I've played point-and-click adventure games since before I could read competently and the 'flavor' of the logic isn't that different.
tggdan3, October 27, 2010 - Reply
This is interesting. I haven't played the game, but it seems like your complaints (large map, difficulties, dead ends) are all things that were common in early IF, which may have been many veterens' first games. Ironically the things that make it most unsuitable for first time players are the things that were staples in the first games.
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