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About the StoryA murder most foul has been committed and Sherlock Holmes is on the case. You are his dog.
Nominee, Best Puzzles; Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle; Nominee, Best Individual PC - 2015 XYZZY Awards
Winner, Main Festival - Spring Thing 2015
Apart from a few typo corrections and bug fixes, the most major feature in this second release is the addition of three difficulty settings. The game begins with all the text presented normally, but you can SHARPEN YOUR SCENT to italicize most nouns, which will make identifying them for the mystery easier. If you SHARPEN YOUR SCENT again, then all the most important clues will also be set into bold. Typing SNIFFLE will remove these formatting hints and return the game to normal.
Along with the inventory clue-management system, and the in-game help menu, these new settings should hopefully allow players to adjust the game to their preferred level.
Emily Short's Interactive Storytelling
I welcomed the freedom to jump from one part of the game world to another in order to pursue a suspected lead — for instance, reviewing one character’s possessions after finding what seemed to be a link in another character’s story: if this had been a more conventionally structured game, I would have had to traverse a lot of in-game space in order to check up on those suspicions.
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Old Games Italia
Toby's Nose è un gioco ben scritto e ben ideato. Però quella stessa meccanica che lo rende così originale e coinvolgente, ne limita anche l'appetibilità per una parte di pubblico in cerca di un'esperienza più semplice e lineare. Resta però una bella investigazione, che vi costringerà a riflettere veramente sul gran numero di indizi che accumulerete fiutando di qua e di là!
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Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but this is more the sort of thing I expect when I think of IF. It’s about the puzzle to be unravelled, and the exploration of the story. In “Toby’s Nose”, the puzzle IS the exploration. --Christopher Huang
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Solving the mystery is in some ways not the point; rather, it’s to take a leisurely olfactory tour of the world of Holmes and other mysteries (referenced in the footnotes). Whether this works for a given player is a matter of taste. --Sean M. Shore
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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
There's a sense in which the very limited verb-set in this game makes it seem somewhat choice-based. One could imagine re-creating it fairly completely in Twine. But Toby's Nose does a great job showing what the parser potentially does better. It demands an attention to detail (wholly appropriate in a Holmes mystery) that the clearly signaled hyperlinks in a Twine or other HIF story don't, and it permits actions that are off-script, which -- even though they're not necessary to complete the story -- add detail and background and humor that enriches the experience.
The story does tend to anthropomorphise Toby a bit, but it also doesn't forget that he's a dog. There's a wealth of (often funny) extra interactions and descriptive data built into the game to reinforce the canine perspective. Toby's smelling prowess also may seem a bit too impressive at times, but this can be forgiven as in service to a fantastic story. Toby's Nose is a truly impressive and accomplished piece of interactive fiction. Highly recommended.
Quick non-spoilery tip: it's possible to fairly easily brute force the solution to the mystery. (I did not solve it correctly on the first try or -- I'm ashamed to admit -- on the second try.) It may be helpful to know that the solution is obvious, not ambiguous, once you have all the requisite data. Don't cheat yourself by jumping the gun:)
There's no time limit or pressure as Toby reviews scents and memories. The case can be solved by guessing right on the first turn, but definitely don't try that. I accused everyone *but* the right person. Well, I didn't accuse Holmes or Watson. Needless to say, great mystery, great game. Only a few tiny minor disambiguations to be expected (Spoiler - click to show)such as opium pipes and church organ pipes but nothing I found that ruined the game.
Groover presents a game in the best tradition of the locked-room murder mystery, featuring a canine protagonist. As with other games featuring canine protagonists, the sense of smell is tremendously important. In fact, in Toby's Nose, >SMELL acts like how >EXAMINE does in Lime Ergot. In fact, the author's note acknowledges the contribution of Lime Ergot and Pacian's Castle of the Red Prince in his coming up with the game's core mechanic.
Toby's Nose is generously and lavishly written; almost everything is implemented and written in vivid, eye-catching detail. As with other games using 'telescopic' observations, the parser remains a uniquely flexible tool to shift the PC's focus from objects distant both geographically and conceptually.
There are generous hints provided, but the writing gave clear enough hints to allow the reader to figure out what's going on. That brings us to another thing unique about this game: the reader has the responsibility to make the observations and deductions. Unlike many other mystery games, the game reveals nothing of the correct answer (i.e. whodunit), not in the form of a notebook, not in the form of a list of clues, leaving any explanation of the crime to the end. Shifting the responsibility to the reader to figure out what's going on invests the reader much more in the game.
As with other dog-PC games, this game remains lighthearted, even when the PC is recalling other characters' sordid details, and maintains a gentle sense of humour throughout. A comment about the ending is below, but overall, I found Toby's Nose a very charming and highly polished game, featuring excellent writing and a good use of the core mechanic.
(Spoiler - click to show)One might complain that the ending of Toby's Nose is a bit of a wall of text. One would not be wrong! However, this echoes the structure of the original Holmes stories - Doyle's idea of a resolution was quite often to have Holmes explain what he had been doing right under the reader's nose - so Groover is perhaps justified in this aspect.
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""But my madness speaks: It will but skin and film the ulcerous place, Whilst rank corruption, mining all within, Infects unseen." Welcome to the Citadel of Justice. The Inquisitor is waiting." [--blurb from Competition Aught-Zero]
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