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Counterfeit Monkey

by Emily Short profile

Espionage
2012

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Number of Reviews: 12
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Some good, some bad, February 26, 2013
I see from the release date, that this is a pretty new game. So, I'm going to assume that Emily Short might be making some changes to things soon as some new editions are released.

For right now, though, it's a little rough in spots.

The good news: I loved the story. It was one of the most imaginative plots that I can remember. And, the story is very well told. I really like the writing. There is a nice, consistent tone to the writing that solidly conveys a time and place that is only slightly removed from our real universe. Nothing over the top. And, the non-player half of the player is nicely handled. I also sort of liked the inclusion of the map. At first, I was unsure about it, but it grew on me. The text was a little hard to read, and the placement of the streets didn't exactly match up with the expected movements in every location. But, it was clear enough to give you some idea of the spatial relations. Certainly, I wouldn't want to see a map like that in every game (especially ones with more than about 20 locations), but this one worked.

The bad news: I really did not like the "Pick Your Own Adventure" sort of leading that was going on at various places. When you encounter various people, the game will prompt you with suggested topics of conversation. The reponses then prompt even more topics of conversation. At that point, you pretty much just play a scrivener and retype those questions. I didn't think that those exchanges added anything to the game. I would have preferred a page of automatic text instead of that.

I was also underwhelmed at some of the vocabulary. It seemed to me that there were lots of things that I would try to do where the game would not allow obvious actions or would not recognize obvious synonyms. The description of each area is short and doesn't give you much room to play around (even if to no particular purpose).

I'll check back on this game in a few months and try it again if a new release has come out. For now, I would give it a solid 3 stars.

Comments on this review

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Emily Short, February 26, 2013 - Reply
Heya -- if you have specifics about things you tried that you think should have been implemented, I'm happy to work on including them in a future release (which will probably nonetheless be a few months off). Thanks for the feedback.
ProfReader, February 27, 2013 - Reply
Thanks for the quick response! Now that I've played the game, it's hard to recall some of the things that led to a few oddball responses as I was trying some random things. But, I was just going through it again, and I hit on a few snags. I'm going to SPOILER tag this whole thing just to avoid any.

(Spoiler - click to show)It doesn’t recognize BACKSACK for BACKPACK. I know the game uses BACKPACK in its own text, but I think BACKSACK is just as common. I wasn't reading carefully and just thought it said BACKSACK, and I kept getting error messages.

At the Monumental Staircase, the direction to High Street seems to be SE instead of E on the map. It doesn't seem to matter which direction it really is, but it would make the map seem more accurate to have the exit to the SE instead of to the E from that point.

In the Counterfeit Monkey, the suggestion from Alex is “to challenge Parker about the rum” but CHALLENGE is not a verb it recognizes. I ended up fishing around and used "ASK Parker about rum" to draw the right response. It seems that if the suggestion is going to be made using an action verb like CHALLENGE, it would be great if that were recognized as a verb.

In the bar, PLAY DARTS says that the noun doesn’t make sense in that context. Maybe the clientele doesn't want me to enter their game, but PLAY DARTS seems like something I should be able to try.

In the bar, if you ASK MEN ABOUT SLANGO, you get a two-part response: “We give the clientele a look to say his input would be welcome as well” and then also “That noun did not make sense in that context.” I'm not sure what that is describing. The first part doesn't seem to recognize that I used ASK instead of some other action. And then the second part struck me as sort of odd. It's like the game was giving me a response but also simultaneously rejecting my word choice.


I'll get a bit further in the game and post some other things if I can recall them.
Emily Short, February 27, 2013 - Reply
Huh! Okay. I don't think I've ever encountered the word "backsack" (and my browser underlines it if I type it, which suggests it's not in the Mac OS dictionary for American English; I don't think I've ever heard it used while in the UK either, though I might be wrong). Maybe this is a regionalism I'm not familiar with? I'm happy to add it if someone uses it.

Anyway, I have added your suggestions to my list of items to address.

(As for the conversation system, that is unlikely to change in a future release; I'm sorry you didn't care for it, but I think a pure ASK/TELL system would have been frustrating for a majority of players, and there *is* enough play in what you can do in these scenes that I feel a menu system or cut scene would also have been a poor fit.)
ProfReader, February 27, 2013 - Reply
One more quick one: (Spoiler - click to show)Putting gel on the yam prompts the response, that with a SPLORT, "the yam becomes a yam" instead of saying that nothing happens (which I think is what was intended based on other objects' response.
Emily Short, February 27, 2013 - Reply
All welcome feedback, but if you finding the whole comment/spoiler business onerous, email also works -- emshort@mindspring.com . Thanks!
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