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About the StoryIt's an ordinary day in your ordinary little town, and you've been performing your ordinary mail clerk's duties in an altogether ordinary way. But there's something quite extraordinary in today's mail. It's a ransom note for a kidnapped cat, and it will lead you through unbelievably harrowing adventures to Wishbringer, a stone possessing undreamt-of powers. For though the note in question is addressed to someone in your ordinary little town, it's postmarked for Special Delivery to Parts Unknown. And its true destination is somewhere beyond your wildest dreams, c/o the magic of Infocom's interactive fiction.
Adventure Classic Gaming
The strongest points of this game are its rich text, humor, and clever puzzles. It is a well designed game for a novice adventurer and a great introduction to the entire genre. Multiple solutions to puzzles and good dose of nonlinear puzzles stand as testimonials to its design strength. The puzzles are a bit too easy and the game is far too short. Occasionally, the time constraints can be a little frustrating. There are times I recall which I have to restart the game because I have not done or gotten something that I need in a later part of the game. Luckily the game is short enough that this shortcoming does not pose a serious problem.
-- Ernest Petti
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Most interactive fictions are quite difficult, but there are some titles which can serve as a great and painless introduction to the genre. One of them is Wishbringer (1985) written by Brian Moriarty.
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The atmosphere wavers between being comic and sinister, and is difficult to classify. At times it seems almost as though it is trying to be a children's game, what with having the plot revolve around a kidnapped cat, and supplying such fanciful images as talking platypii, and disembodied boots that patrol the town.
-- Graeme Cree
What I like the best about this game is that it works with small means. There are no horrible monsters, no monstrously evil super-villains - but the transformation of idyllic Festeron into a distorted, evil mirror image of itself is far more effective; at least the first time I played it, it managed to fill me with a fundamental, existential dread that is much worse than any fear for monsters or evil wizards.
-- Magnus Olsson
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For those who enjoy magic and fantasy, this is a great game. Not perhaps for the more experienced adventurer who would find the problems too easy, but I found it highly entertaining and full of atmosphere.
-- Joan Dunn
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Number of Reviews: 7
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Most Helpful Member Reviews
It is also the most effective. Unlike the other introductory titles (Moonmist and Seastalker), Wishbringer provides an easy-to-follow orientation to the IF interface in its opening sequence; the first tasks are going someplace, taking something, looking at it -- all of the basic commands experienced players take for granted. As with all introductory titles, the first few moves use an explicit prompt ("OK, what do you want to do now?") to hold the hand of those who are not sure how IF works.
This courtesy extends throughout the rest of the game. Puzzles are solvable in at least two ways: easy (using a wish) and hard (using your brain). Maximum points are awarded for solving puzzles the hard way, but those who just want to see the story advance will not regret wishing their way to the end -- though they may be prompted to go back and improve their score.
Part of the game's allure is its "once upon a time" tone, which is well-suited to freeing the imagination. This is enhanced by -- or perhaps the product of -- the enchanting writing style of Brian Moriarty (author of Trinity, which many people consider to be the best Infocom title ever). Most of the rest of its allure is probably due to the unforgettable platypi.
Those new to the game will likely have to do without its wonderful "feelies". The glow-in-the-dark Wishbringer replica was a little cheesy, but it was one of my favorites (second only to Planetfall's postcards, stationery, and Stellar Patrol ID). Even without these, Wishbringer is probably the ideal IF primer for young people and those young-at-heart.
All the puzzles can be solved with sufficient exploration and minor logic; I missed a few areas and items in my exploring, though, because the world is rich and beautiful.
As far as I can tell, the game is for beginners because there are only the n,e,s,w directions (no ne, se, nw, or sw); most puzzles have multiple solutions; most items are easily visible (except for the most important one); and death won't come unless you have been repeatedly warned.
The game is split into two sections; one where the player explores a quaint village with minor annoyances (such as locked gates and a poodle); and a second section where the village has turned dark and evil (with murderous ghosts and a hellhound).
As many have stated, this is a memorable game, more so than most of the Infocom games I have played, or interactive fiction in general. As usual, I played this game on the Lost Treasures of Infocom app on the iPad.
Like Trinity, Brian Moriarty's masterpiece, the game prefers a loose narrative structure over a strong linear plot. This freedom allows the player to focus on other tasks when facing a particularly hard problem. The story is more suggested than revealed, through subtle, sensible prose. I can't help but to feel the obvious love of the author for metaphors, in a very similar tone than his other game.
Puzzles are clever and logical, offering a reasonable, still rewarding challenge to IF newcomers. I love the fact that there is multiple ways of resolving a particular situation. There is the risk of rendering the game unsolvable, but it is short enough so that starting over won't be a hassle. Here is definitely a game that can be beat without hints.
Wishbringer is without a doubt a terrific introduction to IF. It is relatively short, forgiving but not trivial, and its simple but meaningful story is written with style and economy.
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