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A mid-long beautiful realistic game exploring the wilderness with good NPC, February 3, 2016
by MathBrushIn this game, written for the author's hot-spring loving wife, you explore an expansive wilderness region with a hot spring, wild animals, a friendly old NPC, and beautiful descriptions of nature.
One of my favorite games of all time is Suzanne Britton's novel-length Worlds Apart sci-fi. She specifically cites this game and Sunset over Savannah (a game focusing on a beach and nature) as being an inspiration to her. Having played the two games, I really see how Worlds Apart took inspiration from this game. Worlds Apart is set in a forest near a beach. The forest part of the game is extremely similar to She's Got A Thing for A Spring, with vivid nature descriptions, a guidebook where you can look up plants and animals, and a specific animal (the pika/pakal) that seems almost directly borrowed, with slightly similar puzzles.
This made me appreciate both games more, as it helped me see some of the creative process. She's got a thing for spring is rare as being a realistic game without horror or magical elements. The closest game to it I've seen is A Change in the Weather, which came out a year or two before it.
There are some negatives; the game makes the unfortunate mistake of combining a large, nonlinear map with independent NPCs and tightly timed puzzles. This is a bad combination, as Jim Aikin learned with his game Last Resort, which also featured a huge map and tightly-timed puzzles. He solved the problem by re-tuning the game so that time changes are triggered by events, resulting in the excellent Lydia's Heart game.
Other games, like old Infocom games, have tightly-timed puzzles, but generally they have small maps that make replay easy, or confine the puzzles to a specific time and place.
So I just used a walkthrough to see the fun. The walkthrough was wrong in several places, so I had to improvise, and that was fun.
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You've agreed to meet your husband at a hot spring, but you have to get everything ready before he shows up. The game is set in the Rocky Mountains, with lots of attention to natural detail--and a handy NPC named Bob has a response for just about everything in the game, and many things that have nothing to do with the game as well. The author clearly loves the setting and the various experiences in store for your character, and by the end of the game you may feel the same way. The game itself is simple, and the puzzles uncomplicated, but the setting and general atmosphere are so well done that it's almost more fun just to take the game in than to work toward solving it.
-- Duncan Stevens
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