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Hallowmoor

by Mike Snyder profile

Fantasy
2013

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Number of Reviews: 3
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Impressive puzzly Twine game, October 24, 2015
Hallowmoor stretches the capabilities of Twine to their limits, containing a complex world model, an inventory, a compass rose showing possible exits (though these can also be accessed by clicking keywords), an automap, and puzzles that are not necessarily easier just because you don't have to type in the solution.

The puzzles are the high point of the game: there were several times when I let out an impressed "really?" upon trying some combination and finding that it was indeed implemented. The central conceit for many of the puzzles may not be completely unique, but is rare in IF, and particularly unexpected in a choice-based game. (Spoiler - click to show)You need to switch between two host bodies with different abilities and weaknesses. However, their paths may not cross, or the unpossessed one will kill the possessed one on sight. There are of course also other puzzles, involving the use of inventory items. In some ways, it reminded me of the old graphical adventure Shadowgate.

So in terms of implementation and puzzle inventiveness: full marks. Unfortunately, the story and writing don't quite live up to the technical fireworks on display. While the plot is reasonably original (you are a ghost searching for the potion that will restore you to bodily life), the setting is extremely generic fantasy standard: armies of skeletons, witches with gnarled hands, dungeon cells. I admit to a soft spot for old-school fantasy settings in games, but I never warmed to this setting: some rooms did give a satisfyingly edgy feeling of infiltrating a dark castle full of enemies, but for the most part, the world felt gross and filthy rather than frightening.

As for the writing, it's perfectly fine and does a good job laying out the rooms without making them too overwhelming for puzzle-solving; however, no passages really stand out. It's serviceable, rather than exquisite. (Also, I caught an annoying misspelling: "ode de" should be "eau de".)

The Twine format is good, and the colour scheme fits well with the theme.

Deserves to become a classic.