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Nominee, Best Individual Puzzle - 2006 XYZZY Awards
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Number of Reviews: 2
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The puzzles are easy and interesting and there's a sense of exploration, even though the area to explore is quite small. It won't take long to get through to the ending. The puzzles are well clued and I didn't have to look at the walkthrough or use hints even once when I played. That does not happen very often. For hardcore puzzle fans this might be a disappointment but for me it's important that the puzzles don't interrupt a good story. The implementation is thorough and I didn't run into any bugs.
The ending is somewhat unfortunate because (Spoiler - click to show)a) it's been done many times before (and it's been done better) - the player's reaction is not "oh, clever!" but "oh, this again." and b) the connection with the preceding game is not that obvious. If you're going to make a dream world (a dream within the fictional world, that is) you should take extra care to make sure that the allusions to the real world are there, otherwise the dream world, and the entire work, loses its meaning for the reader completely. (To be fair I might have just missed the point entirely.)
On the plus side the ending you see is based upon your actions during the game, not just the final move; on the minus side without looking at the walkthrough it's not immediately obvious which actions affect the ending or even that there are multiple endings.
If you only look at the basic setting, the gameplay and the length, this would be a perfect game for children. Unfortunately (Spoiler - click to show)gruesome imagery in the end and some scary characters make this unsuitable for that purpose. It would be nice to see a version made especially for children where selected parts of the game would be changed or left out.
This game is short to mid length, with a variety of puzzles. The game feels almost like a Grimm's fairy tale at first, until you start piecing everything together. I think this game was nominated for Best Puzzle not only because of the puzzles solution but because of its deeper meaning.
This is not a long game, and has some very interesting material, so I would recommend that everyone play through it. Good bang for your buck (or for your time, I suppose).
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