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About the StoryMuddy's plan done landed you and your partner in the hoosegow. Now you're fixing to rectificate the matter before the marshal introduces you to the business end of a hangin' rope at dawn.
Created for the JayIsGames Casual Game Play Competition #7.
Nominee, Best Writing; Nominee, Best NPCs; Nominee, Best Individual NPC; Nominee, Best Implementation - 2010 XYZZY Awards
1st Place - Casual Gameplay Design Competition #7
The plot is rather simple, but entertaining, especially because of the “local flavour”. There’s a lot of Southern slang in the game – from “that ain’t no verb I got knowledge of” to “is you talking plain English?” – which strengthens the immersion and boosts up the fun factor.
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Jay Is Games
Tag team champions Ben Collins-Sussman and Jack Welch have created a wonderful thing in Hoosegow. It's fun, funny, and guaranteed to bring out the cowpoke in you. (A dusty, bumbling, thieving cowpoke, but a cowpoke nonetheless.) A workout for your imagination as well as your problem-solving skills, Hoosegow is a challenging escape for those of you who have always wanted to ride off into the sunset. Sort of.
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It's these elements that make up for a backstory that doesn't necessarily have as much traction as it could and a series of puzzles that have often-hilarious but just-as-often-repetitive solutions. This is a game that's easy to picture but occasionally surprises you, almost always in ways that make you smile, and which is relatively easy to get immersed in. It also provides a surprising amount of gameplay and a reasonable amount of depth for a single-room escape game that requires no notes or mapping, especially when compared to the other games in the competition. I think that it's mostly the charm and lighthearted fun of the game that has earned it all the kudos it's received.
-- Irfon-Kim Ahmad
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Number of Reviews: 6
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
It puts you in the shoes, or rather the smelly boots, of a Civil War deserter turned train robber, whose partner Muddy has once again gotten them both into big trouble. You will have to escape from the local sheriff's cell before they hang you in the morning -- a time limit that is implemented, but that is so relaxed that I doubt anyone trying to solve the game will come up against it. Complementing the cast of characters are a drunken preacher who randomly bursts out in apocalyptic oratory, a sheriff with the ambition to become an inventor, a deputy sheriff with the ambition to imbibe a lot of alcohol, a nasty dog, and a well-meaning but strict marshal.
Hoosegow is not a very innovative game: you will spend your time solving puzzles that fit perfectly in the tradition of interactive fiction. (If your previous game was Rover's Day Out, you can afford to be a little traditional.) These puzzles are well-clued and not overly difficult, and some problems can be solved in more than one way. For those of us (including me) who nevertheless become slightly stuck and are not eager to spend a lot of time on these somewhat old-fashioned puzzles, there are very good in-game hints and a very helpful PDF-file with the basic structure of the puzzles. (Resize the window of your PDF-reader so that you only see the top of the page, then scroll down until you find something you have not solved yet.)
This game doesn't offer anything that will blow you away, but it does offer a lot that will give you pleasure. Recommended.
This game, like a few others, has a real spin on the classic speech. In everything the characters did, "scruffy, unshaven, slippery, uneducated cowboys In tattered vests" were written all over them. The author used southern slang for just about everything from "that ain't no verb I got knowledge of" to " is you talking plain English?" which significantly added to the style and story of the game.
The story is not, however, a simple 'escape the room' sort of game in which the puzzles are simple, but these puzzles involve a lot of logic, thinking and a little bit of guess the verb. I would say the puzzles were mainly fair, but there were a few spots I got hung up on because the solution was slightly obscure. However, if you really think of the puzzles in a really 'cowboy' way, they should not be too hard. What was hard though, was the numerous places where you had to play guess the verb, or even worse, guess the noun. Some spots could really use some more real editing. It really took away from the gameplay, I think, because I would get stuck in places where advance was impossible without the magic verb.
The writers of this game did a very good job of implementing the setting of the game, A western comedy, and giving the game a "living" feel. The writing for the descriptions, and the PC are all very good. A simple but effective example comes the great replacement of IF default responses. "You reckon violence usually is the answer, but maybe not just now.", or "That ain’t no verb I got knowledge of.".One place the game did come short is the NPC side-kick, Muddy, which seemed kind of lifeless and lacked some responses.
The puzzles were easy-medium and well designed ((Spoiler - click to show)I thought the last puzzle with the marshal was redundant ). The problem with the game is that I encountered a few annoying bugs and a few nouns/actions were not well implemented, leaving some the puzzles a bitter taste of 'guess the verb'. (Spoiler - click to show)For a bug example: in some parts of the game, for some reason the 'it' verb does not work well (after hitting the wall, touch it gives the response for the gate.) An example of poor implementation: When you need to take the feather from the vulture pulling the tale does not do the trick, instead you have to "take feather" which doesn't seem to make too much sense. Another example, is when you try to climb the window after muddy gets tired, the response makes no sense.
In conclusion, hoosegow is a good game, that just isn't polished enough.
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