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Hoosegow

by Ben Collins-Sussman profile and Jack Welch profile

Western
2010

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5 star:
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4 star:
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3 star:
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Number of Reviews: 7
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1-7 of 7


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Good, but should have been great., August 8, 2010
by lagran-G-an (Tel-Aviv, Israel)
Related reviews: hoosegow
Hoosegow is a well written and fun escape the room game. Unfortunately the flow of the experience is ruined by bugs, parser problems, and some annoying 'guess the verb' situations. All of these give the game an Unpolished feel.

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 ainít 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.







1 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
An Intense One-Room Adventure ..., May 4, 2010
by Tristano (Italy)
It took me over an hour to complete the whole game (and I confess that I had to peek into the PDF walkthrough a couple of times) -- by BTW, the PDF-Walkthrough is great because it gives procedural hints but not the exact steps to solve puzzles, so it's not too much of a spolier to peak in it when stuck.

The game is intriguing and NPCs are lively shaped. Puzzles are well crafted and not too hard to solve, and even though there is a specific order in which puzzles should be solved, the story unfolds in a way which makes clear what has to be acomplished first.
Also, there is no "guess-the-verb" struggling: intuitive alternative comands to complex operations seem to be reckognized straight away -- I didn't experience problems in achieving any particular task.
I liked the humor of the game, which is present all along the story. Surely, fantasy is another main ingredient of the game -- it isn't a stereotyped game, it has a flavour of it's own.
I'd say this is a recomended game for IF-veterans and newcomers alike.
Well done, worth playing.


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