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Reviews by Philip Armstrong


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Yon Astounding Castle! of some sort, by Tiberius Thingamus

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
Yon Castle is the secret best game of the '09 comp, February 14, 2010
(This review is a slightly revised version of the one that appeared on my blog during the IF Comp 2009.)

Yon Astounding Castle! of some sort is yet another treasure hunt in a castle. However, it proves that with a little stylistic flair the genre isn’t imaginatively bankrupt. The game is about a generic adventure fellow who is searching an abandoned castle for ten magical treasures. What sets the game apart from other treasure hunts is its wonderful, clever writing. The game opens as such:

Outside Yon Castle

Ye standeth at ye edge of ye forest outside yon castle, which is surrounded by yon moat. Yon drawbridge in ye east is up, preventing ye entry into yon castle. Nearby there groweth yon nut tree.

Yes, the entire game is written in this faux medieval style. Some people may be turned off by this or find it annoying but it never bothered me. Mostly because “yon” is a intrinsically funny word. The writing was quite clever. For example, yon nut tree is described as “tall and nutful,” and when trying to examine the tree’s nut you are asked “Please be more clear, what do ye want to examine? Ye nut or yon nuts?” I love that ye and yon are item adjectives.

I also liked that Thingamus drops out of the fake style from time to time. It gives the game an irreverent feel that is quite enjoyable.

> w

That would taketh ye away from yon castle. Besides, yon forest hath poison ivy & poison ivy-like plants, and ye wanteth not to risketh getting that. Also, wolves. And, like, monsters.

This irreverential tone extends to the gameplay. The game can be beaten at any point by simply typing “win.” There are ten different endings available depending on how many treasure you have when you “win.” For example, winning with no treasures get’s you the following:

(Spoiler - click to show)Ye returneth from yon castle empty-handed and quite disappointed with yeself.

Ye spendeth ye rest of ye life complaining and picking at ye scabs for leisure. When ye hath time away from that, ye filleth in for ye lad who licketh yon stamps for ye living when he falleth ill from yon stamp poisoning. Ye doth not lasteth very long, and soon perisheth from ye lack of sustenance & sustenance-type things.


What’s more, each ending plays on the previous one. The continuity in the endings adds a nice little narrative to what is largely, though not entirely, a plotless game. The game has some nice puzzles, though they are of the sort where your traversing back and forth across the map to get items to solve other puzzles to get items. Though there are a few riddles thrown in for good measure.

Yon Astounding Castle! is a wonderful burrito of a game. It’s well made with good, if old-fashioned, puzzles wrapped in a fun old english tortilla and smothered with a heaping of irreverence. Recommended.

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