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Hoosegow

by Ben Collins-Sussman profile and Jack Welch profile

Western
2010

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Reviews and Ratings

5 star:
(5)
4 star:
(19)
3 star:
(8)
2 star:
(1)
1 star:
(0)
Average Rating:
Number of Ratings: 33
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Dang fine, August 9, 2017
As a casual IF player, I found this to be pitched perfectly - the puzzles are tricky, but not too hard. It's a single room, so no need to remember directions or map it out, which appeals to me. Also, I didn't have any issue playing guess the verb, as other reviewers have stated.

However, the thing that I enjoyed the most about this was the writing - the language and content are both mighty fine, and oftentimes made me guffaw like a hyena at the circus.

- mrfrobozzo, July 25, 2017

- Sobol (Russia), November 21, 2016

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Great, folksy writing with fairly standard puzzles, February 3, 2016
Hoosegow's writing is a delight. In this straightforward but slightly difficult one-room escape game, you play a reluctant outlaw with his silly buddy and a drunken pastor trying to get out of a jail cell.

All of the standard messages have been changed to be folksy and homelike. The writing is just great, if you're into hometown western stuff.

The puzzles did not inspire me. It's one of the large class of puzzle games where one or two of the puzzles are unfair, and you could play forever and then give up. It's rare to find a game where the challenges are difficult but fair.

I recommend this game, and very strongly recommend it for group play, to get through the puzzles and have fun reading the responses.

- namekuseijin (anywhere but home), January 12, 2016

- hoopla, September 19, 2015

- leanbh, August 9, 2015

- BlitzWithGuns, December 21, 2014

- Simon Deimel (Germany), March 25, 2014

- E.K., February 5, 2014

- Shadow Fox (Texas), August 20, 2013

- DAzebras, April 28, 2013

- _eMMe_ (Milan, Italy), April 13, 2013

- Andrew Schultz (Chicago), December 2, 2012

- AADA7A, September 19, 2012

- o0pyromancer0o, April 21, 2012

- bloodzeed, April 20, 2012

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A great bit of hokum, March 7, 2012
As the other reviews make clear, this is a witty and entertaining game. It's certainly not the hardest game you'll play.

There are a number of particularly nice touches, beyond the clever setting and the splendid use of language. One is (Spoiler - click to show)the series of "alternate endings" you can see with the EASTER EGG command - a lot of fun. A more substantial strong point is the originality of the puzzles. I particularly liked the fact that the apparently obvious solutions to the various problems aren't, at all. (Spoiler - click to show)For example, you don't use the coffee to wake the preacher, you don't use the meat to distract the dog, and you don't use the key to open the cell door.

I did, however, encounter some bad guess-the-verbiage. (Spoiler - click to show)I worked out quickly that I should fix the stool with the tube, but finding the right choice of words for this took a long time - especially as I had used "fix" before and the game seemed to understand it. But not for this. I also tried to examine the deputy once I'd knocked him out, eventually having to resort to hints to find that only the verb SEARCH would give the desired results. Worse still are some apparent bugs and inconsistencies. (Spoiler - click to show)Trying to do actions that the game won't allow sometimes results in it telling you that the object is out of reach in the office, even when you're holding it. Trying to touch the deputy when he's lying in front of the bars returns the same message, even though he's certainly not out of reach.

A more minor matter is that despite the great writing, it's not entirely consistent. It struck me that while the "error" messages are written in cowboyese, the rest of the narration is not, which is a little odd.

So the game could certainly use a bit of smoothening up. Despite that, it's a lot of fun, a bit more original than your standard escape puzzle, and consistently witty. Certainly a worthy competition winner.

- Mr. Patient (Saint Paul, Minn.), July 15, 2011

- WaterMonkey314, July 3, 2011

- Ben Cressey (Seattle, WA), February 21, 2011

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Old-fashioned fun with very good writing, February 20, 2011
by Victor Gijsbers (The Netherlands)
The most impressive aspect of Hoosegow is undoubtedly the writing: from the title (an Anglicisation of a Mexican-Spanish word for "jail") to the character's speech and the narration, the language is perfect for the Western atmosphere the authors set out to establish. (Spoiler - click to show)(The fact that the game is set in the period after the Civil War, while "hoosegow" was first found in English in 1908, is something the reader will either not notice or not care about.) Funny asides, believable interactions between the characters, physical situations described clearly, and as icing on the cake a set of hilarious episodes: everything works. Reading this game is a pleasure.

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.

- sushabye, January 29, 2011

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
It ain't bad I recon, December 13, 2010
by Aintelligence (Canada)
I was pleasantly surprised by this adventure. Taking place in a jail called hoosegow, after you were arrested by the sheriff, the story is that you have to get out of the jailhouse before your hanging tomorrow.

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.

- Cup of Joe, December 3, 2010


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